“We all want our children to be happy. Somehow, some way today show them something that makes you happy, something you truly enjoy. Your own happiness is contagious. They learn the art from you.” ~ Chapter 3 of The Parent’s Tao Te Ching
There was a time when I was always on the verge of angry and frustrated. If I called either of my boys’ names, they responded as if I was already “yelling” at them. I didn’t have to raise my voice to nag or show displeasure, to point out what they weren’t doing right.
I found myself unhappy in my own skin and unhappy with everyone around me. I needed an overhaul of my own heart, a reminder of my own joy. I looked and found that nothing had really changed but my outlook. I was focusing on the ugly parts when there are so many good parts about these kids and this family.
I also started being deliberate in focusing and commenting on things that are beautiful, mesmerizing, or that bring me great joy. Bright colors bring me joy. Sunsets and interesting cloud formations bring me joy. Great music brings me joy. Dancing around in the kitchen to a raucous beat brings me joy. When I started pointing them out, my boys did too. They will draw my attention to a lovely sunset or a cloud that looks like a frog now. They will call me to listen to music they know I’ll love. They became my partners in joy.
They no longer feel I am about to snap at them when I call their names. There is now an anticipation of some sort of fun to be had together.
I love being a mom, but I didn’t always. I felt burdened and overwhelmed and frustrated all the time. Like there was all this responsibility and it was so hard.
It took work on my part to shed some layers of negativity and remember my somewhat bohemian wildness and happiness, my inner childishness, to allow myself to look silly in front of my kids. I’d become so stern, they needed this so they could be goofball kids again. At this point in their life, that’s their job! To be goofy and have fun. And because I changed my outlook, I get to have fun with them and enjoy them. That alone was worth the work!