Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution of blogging regularly! I do hope to get back in the swing of things, but when life demands me to be present, I don’t feel too bad about taking a blogging break. And life has been rather demanding lately. Something about three kids four and under and a newborn. I’m sure you all understand! I have made some goals for the New Year, though, and I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck to them. (My hilarious friend Alyssa says she likes to start new things in February to avoid the pressure of Resolutions. Then it’s just a new thing you tried in February rather than a resolution that you might fail at.) My main goal for this year is sort of intangible, but it can make a world of difference in my home. My main goal is to be a happy mom.
I’m not a naturally happy person (I wrote about that here), and I’ve found myself struggling more than ever in the past two years of motherhood. Being a stay at home mom can be a lonely, challenging, and frustrating experience. I’ve never been an angry person and yet I’ve scared myself at how angry I can be towards these little people who I supposedly love so much. I’ve dreaded the days and weeks that roll out before me, wishing them away and counting the days until the kids are old enough to be in school. I’ve wanted to have my own life back, but mostly I just wanted my kids to fit into my life the way I wanted them to. I didn’t want them to be themselves, but rather my idealized version of what kids should be. My unhappiness at home has affected everyone around me. My sweet husband has had to come home to a grumpy wife and hear her complain about her day. My eldest son has felt the brunt of my attitude. He’s the one who gets snapped at and shushed away. I’ve seen his eyes get sad and sometimes even scared when he knows I’m not in a good mood. Nolan is still young enough to have escaped most of my bad attitudes, but I can already see my shortness transferring to him now that he’s a whiny toddler most of the time. It’s even affected some friendships and other family relationships from a distance. Let’s just say it hasn’t been that much fun to be around me for a long time.
So this year? I’m going to be a happy mom. I don’t care if I’m naturally happy or particularly cut out to be a stay at home mom. It’s the life I’m in and I’m determined to enjoy it. I’m determined to sing away bad attitudes, take time outs for myself when I need them, bite my critical tongue, and remember that they are just kids. They aren’t trying to ruin my life or stress me out. They are just kids. They aren’t deliberately trying to frustrate me or get in the way. They are just kids. Kids who desperately need a mommy who is in control of her emotions. A mommy who can help them learn new things without sighing every time they make a mess. A mommy who patiently disciplines and lovingly corrects them. A mommy who lets them be who they are and doesn’t force them into a mold she has created. That’s the mommy I’m trying to be this year. It’s a hard task, but so incredibly worth it.
When I’m choosing to be happy, the days move more quickly, I laugh more easily, and the trials don’t seem so tough. I remember that this is a temporary stage of life and that I will most likely miss it later. I focus on the sweetness in each day rather than the hard parts. And amazingly, I find my attitude reflected in my kids. When I can laugh off spilt milk, they know that everything is ok and we can still have a good day together. They stop shrinking in fear and start blossoming, wanting to share each accomplishment with me and relishing in my smile. There are still plenty of hard days. I get to the end of the day and sigh a heavy sigh, worn out from the effort of the day. But it’s also a happy sigh. A content sigh. A sigh that shows that I’ve worked hard but with purpose and joy. And I start the next day, preparing for battle with myself and my attitudes, choosing to be a happy mom.