By: Martianne Stanger
One day, a few weeks back, as I got frustrated with the inordinate amount of time it took to pack a dinner picnic and get my young ones buckled safely into the car for a family night, my husband asked me, “Are you happy?”
What a ridiculous question.
No, I wasn’t happy with “the fight” to get the kids in the car. No, I wasn’t happy that I had spent my day packing and unpacking meals-on-the-go for a morning appointment, an afternoon play date and an evening family night that silly me had scheduled all for the same day. No, I wasn’t happy that despite the fact that I had walked in the door from one thing and gotten immediately to diapering the baby, changing the kids out of wet clothes, doing some dishes, repacking bags and attending to the rest of the sundry tasks might help us transition from our daytime activities to our evening plans, I failed to have everyone and everything ready to go when Daddy walked in the door. And, I most certainly was not happy that one child began melting down, another band-wagoned and by the time all was sorted and we were buckled in, the event we were going to was already underway.
“I mean, are you really happy?” My husband was asking about the big picture.
Again, silly question.
Of course, I am happy. I am blessed to be a mom and wife. I am content with life overall. I just get frustrated by the details. Like many, I just need to reframe my brain sometimes.
So, I have decided to return to a simple exercise I used to do years ago, during my single days: Tracking Excitement and Gratitude.
Wake Up Every Day Excited; Go to Bed Every Day Fulfilled
Basically, when I wake up, after saying a quick prayer, and before letting the usual task-lists crowd my brain and roust me into action, I think: What am I excited about doing today? Is there something I am particularly enthused about? I don’t let myself get up until I name one thing – however small.
For instance, the other day, it was that my baby no longer had a fever and the kids and I would be able to enjoy an outing after an appointment.
Then, at bedtime, as I try to quiet my mind to go to sleep, even if there are tasks that remain undone, I think: What was I fulfilled by today? Was there a moment I felt 100% present? A period of smiling from the inside out?
For example, how awesome was it to picnic with my kiddoes and to hug my healthy baby boy!
By looking forward to the day with a positive attitude and counting blessings before I go to bed, I better combat the usual frustrations and stumbling blocks that come in between. I recognize how happiness happens.
Happiness Happens Worldwide
In fact, Happiness Happens everywhere, every day. And this month is a special month to share about what makes us happy.
It is Happiness Happens Month, sponsored by the Secret Society of Happy People.
Now, I haven’t officially joined the thousands of not-so-secret members from more than 34 countries on Facebook that are a part of the Society. But, I sure love their Purpose, Mission, and Motto and would like to share it as it is described on the SOHP website:
Purpose: The Secret Society of Happy People encourages the expression of happiness and discourages parade-raining. Parade-rainers are those people who don’t want to hear your happy news.
Mission: To help people recognize more happiness and encourage them to talk about it.
Side-effect: Since happiness is contagious if more people are recognizing and talking about it then more people be happy. And ultimately, our world needs more happy people.
Motto: If you’re happy and you know it … tell somebody! If someone else is happy and they know it … listen!
Bearing all this in mind, perhaps the next time my husband comes home to find me unprepared for family night, he won’t have to ask me if I am happy. I won’t be counting the frustrations or spreading negativity. I will be counting blessings and sharing smiles.
Happiness does happen. How has it affected you today?