I started thinking about happiness about two years ago when I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. At that time, I had two young boys and was surviving. I was happy and enjoying life, but it was hard. The self-care advice I got was sleep when the baby sleeps (which is very true and helpful), but there were all these other areas of my life I wanted to work on. I had my career, a family and a home that all needed my attention. I certainly wasn’t happy in all areas of my life. The Happiness Project really got me thinking, how could I make changes? I thought a lot about it, for about two years. It wasn’t until last month, that I realized I had made changes that really did make me happy. I started those changes about a year ago. Most these changes began because I wanted to do things for my kids. For example, I started drinking green smoothies to get my kids to eat their vegetables. I took a sewing class because I wanted to make my them super hero capes. Little did I think at the time those little things would make me happy.
I do not think self-care is selfish. There is more to it besides committing to just one thing such a date night once a week or a girls night once a month. It is about finding out what makes you happy and doing something each day. For me, I have found that eating healthier and exercising made me a calmer parent, which makes me happy! I do not get as frustrated when we were running late and an unexpected diaper change needs to happen or the kids found the ice cream in the freezer. It also allowed me to be more consistent. I am only responsible for my behavior, and when I reflect on my day at night, I do not want to feel guilty about how I reacted to my family. Self-care also has brought me forgiveness for those days that I do snap or get frustrated. There are many list available for self-care. It can be hard to make that first step to put yourself first at any point in the day when taking care of young children, but I am hoping to get some moms together to share their experiences for how it has made life better. Happiness does come from the way you think, but the first step is believing that you are worth it.