Put On Your Oxygen Mask | Day Twelve

Happy parents equal happy kids.

  • Because emotions are contagious. If the parents are smiling and laughing, the children will feel like they should be too.
  • Because parents need strong emotional resources -- so we can listen and help and not be emotionally drained from the beginning of the day. Your child will be happier if you take the time you need to be emotionally strong. 
  • Because when we model happiness, when we show them how we do the right things to make us happy, they will learn to do that too. Children need to LEARN happiness -- that depending on their unique personality, they need to do certain things to calm and comfort their spirit and bring back that centered happy feeling. Parents modeling a fresh air break, or recommending a cool drink of water are teaching their child how to be happy. We don’t wait for happiness to descend like a pleasant feeling, we search for it, we take steps to find it, we work for it.

So what makes YOU happy? My husband listed a few things that he does to recharge -- exercise, fires on cool nights, nerd projects. Do you need a little chat with a friend? A good book to read? A hot bath?

It’s never been more important to put you, yes you, MOM -- first.

I’m not a good one to talk. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life...what I was really good at...what I enjoyed -- so I had kids! And became their self-sacrificing, you-are-my-everything version of supermom. Oooops. That kind of all-consuming motherhood can only last so long.

And a burnt-out mom isn’t going to be able to give her children as much enthusiasm and support as a mom who takes care of herself by exercising, meeting her social and relational needs, taking time for things she enjoys, etc.

Both moms and dads need to take time out for themselves. As often as they say “focus on the kids -- they grow up too fast”, we also need to hear “don’t lose yourselves in the job of parenting -- you’re a person too”. And "your children need you at your best".

It’s hard for me to write about being happy at this stage in life. Having a two-year-old makes you sometimes feel like your life will never, ever be good again. Like you bit the parenting bullet and may not come out alive. This one year seems like it will never end. Will there ever be three candles on the cake?

All the more reason to make happy habits a priority and to take care of mom. I'm telling myself here -- don't give up trying because life is simply too hard at this stage. Focus on what brings happiness. Find it. Teach it. Do it.

Because happy kids need happy parents.

They need parents who spend time with each other, parents who show public displays of affection, parents who make up after they fight. It’s crucial that husband and wife spend as much time with each other as possible, to connect physically, mentally, and emotionally.

When Tim and I finally carve out time for each other, we are usually both too tired to enjoy the time as much as we’d like. One weekend a month or so ago, we had planned to adventure together -- to get away, to go backpacking in the mountains, without our children. We got babysitting, sent the kids off, and then stayed home. We were just too tired. We slept. We cleaned. We cooked. And slept some more.

Parents are tired. It’s a hard job. I’m in the middle, so someone please tell me there is relief at some point in life. {I'm pretty sure there is...and the more I strive for HAPPY NOW...the closer it seems.} :)

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to Happier Children.