Sunday, February 10, 2013

Choosing Happiness

I have been a Stay at Home Mom for 10+ years now, but I haven't always been content in that role, but I am now, in fact I never imagined such happiness existed, but it does.  The only thing that has changed is my perspective. I choose to be happy, and I am.  These are a few points that have helped me achieve a happy perspective in life.

Tips to a Happy Marriage

1. COMMUNICATION: when we were dating my husband enrolled in an Interpersonal Communications class. He encouraged me to do the same the next semester. If you have access to a community college see if they offer a class similar to this. It teaches a healthier way to communicate. If it is not available always remember that talking is ALWAYS a good idea. Talk about your day, your likes, dislikes, sex, goals, desires, dreams, work, children, nightmares, etc.
When you talk remember KNT
Is it Kind?
Is it True?
Is it Necessary?
If it is true and necessary make sure you find a kind way of saying it, and own what you say.

2. Always assume the Best: If your hubby is M.I.A when you are in a rush to get out the door, assume he is doing something to help not hinder. I learned this one day when the older kids were all very little. I was brushing teeth and tying shoes and late! and he was noticeably absent. After getting annoyed with him I realized that it had snowed and he was defrosting the car. If all else fails give him an excuse. Mine is, "He does that wrong because he is left handed." and often times it is true (loading dishwasher, chopping vegetables, etc)

3. Always give credit where credit is due: Kids can have Spaghetti, with homemade french bread, fresh snapped green beans, and a fruit salad for dinner or they can eat a bowl of cheerios. Either meal fills their little tummies and accomplishes the task. Two means, same bedtime. So if your hubby serves cheerios while you are out getting a poster board for a school project then when you get home that night change your Facebook status to "My amazing husband made dinner tonight!"

4. Men will live up to the Praise: At least most of them will. So give it freely and they will rarely let you down.
5. Give options for solutions, not just complaints: Lets face it, melding lives can get messy. If something needs to change present possible solutions, don't just be a nag. For example, My husband has a huge gear bag. It has important stuff in it that can not be lost. He had been storing it in the hall closet, which worked until Mister became mobile, and every day while DH was sleeping off a night shift, DS5 would leave the door ajar while fetching his shoes and DS1 would subsequently tear it apart. I was annoyed by having to pick it up. Instead of nagging I cleared off a shelf in my closet and offered it to him as a spot to store his bag. Now that he has a viable option when he is half asleep, he uses it.

6. Enjoyable Sex and Love Making: (this one is very blunt) I specifically separated these. Love Making can exclude sex, sometimes sex is not a comfortable option and love can still be conveyed in tender intimate ways. Also note that Sex should be enjoyable for both husband and wife. I have heard from many wives who have never had an orgasm, in decades of marriage! This is not the way it should be. This is when communication becomes critical. It needs to be addressed in an honest and mild way. No offense should be taken on either side. Talk and find what works best for both of you.

7. The mother /child relationship should not replace the husband/wife relationship: Many times the physical demands of motherhood cause a wife to become lost from her husband. Make sure that your husband knows that your marriage is the priority. Your relationship came first, it created the children, and we would all hope that it outlast the parenting stage. Also, a healthy secure marriage builds a solid foundation of confidence for the children. Make time for one another.  DH and I like to turn on the electronic babysitter and go hide in our room for a while. We tell the kids we are planning the day...
Furthermore, spouses should turn to each other for emotional support and not to their children. I know a family where the father worked long hours, often out of town on business. The mother turned to her oldest son for emotional support. This son grew into a man who wanted nothing to do with women or family, he leads a lonely life but readily admits that he is emotionally drained from his relationship with his mother.

Tips for Choosing Happiness in Motherhood

1. Chores can wait: When DS5 wants to snuggle to sleep and tell you all about his day, take the 10 minutes and listen. The dinner dishes can wait and you may be rewarded with sweet kisses and praises of your goodness and beauty.
2. Share your passions with them: I love to bake! I have been baking with my kids since they were tiny. It started with them dumping a cup of flour that I had measured all over the counter. More mess, more time, more work. Now DD9 can make cookies all by herself. She picks the recipe, makes the dough, shapes it, bakes it, serves it. Nothing says happiness like being served melting chocolate and a glass of milk. Now to get them to love cleaning up!
3. Lead by example not by fighting: My girls are much more likely to practice their piano lessons if I sit down and play for a while, than if I nag at them... and yes it is painful for me to do and for all who listen.
4. Just listen: When they complain about the injustices of their day just let them complain. Pointing out the inconsistencies of their complaints accomplishes nothing. They will get it out and let it go. Taking walks, hand in hand is a great way to get them to open up and talk about their fears, hopes, and crushes☺!
5. Take the time: We were late to pick up DS5 from school but there were doves in the yard.  DS1 wanted to watch them until he chased them away. We were a few minutes late for pickup, but the smile on DS1 face was pure bliss.

6. When a child says "look at me Mom!" Actually turn your head: On this same note, when talking to them, get down on their level, look at them as an equal eye to eye. Let them know that they are important to you.

7. Perception IS their Reality: Telling them that their feelings are wrong or not valid is belittling and scars confidence. Their feelings are very real to them even if it is not an accurate perception of life. Wisdom comes with age and experience.

Your Personal Happiness

1. Alone Time: While marriage and motherhood negate the urgency of ones personal pursuits, they do not negate the need for personal time. If the dishes can wait for snuggle time, they can also wait for you to recharge your mind. Relax with a good book, a mindless show, or a hot bath.
2. Continue to Learn: Take time to challenge yourself and learn new skills. This may be setting the goal to run a marathon as I have recently done or it may be as simple as learning new skills while preparing a fancy dinner for your family.
3. Take care of your body: Exercise! Eat Right, get some sleep. If you are healthy you are better able to care for your family.

Choose to be steel, Choose to be Happy.

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