During the last few weeks, and while I worked on my eBook for my email subscribers “Be a Happier Mommy: A Simple 3-Step Guide for Moms,” I’ve been fighting an internal battle – a cold.
Unfortunately, it is that time of year, right? Kids are back at school, congregating in tiny classrooms with twenty or so other students, where sneezes and coughs spew bacteria ridden saliva into fine mists that land on everything. Plus, pollen counts are high again now that the season has changed and the temperatures have started to drop.
Yup, cold and allergy season is upon us.
Since I haven’t been feeling well, much of my writing time have been used to rest. But all this rest has posed a different mommy career challenge – the transition between “my time” to “mom time.”
At some point during my day, I’m supposed to switch gears from working from home, put my mom cap on, become a chauffeur, and pick the germy children up from their long day of learning. While this transition has always been a part of my day, and is there for all moms whether they stay home or work outside the home, I find that, when I’m sick, my mood about it differs. And this time in particular, with new goals to write something every day, I became all the moodier that goals weren’t being accomplished.
While not their fault, my decision to rest instead of write resulted in resenting the time wasted, time that I let slip through my fingers. When I didn’t write, every afternoon (when that clock hit two) my mood shifted. Another day gone.
Of course, that kind of attitude doesn’t carry over well for mothering. From the second they hop into the van until ten minutes later when we arrive home, they are fighting for my attention, taking turns (sometimes) telling me about the day’s events. Add my cold and allergy symptoms on top of my sour mood and I assure you, I wasn’t happy.
Great. A mom who was writing a mini-guide about being happier, but wasn’t feeling happy. Perfect.
While my guide lives up to its name (I promise), it doesn’t address moments like what I was experiencing – times when you’re ill, overly stressed by bills, or struggling to find the good in your daily life. When there are too many negative things on your mind, loving motherhood is challenging. So much of your energy and focus is on your worries and problems that there just doesn’t feel like enough is left over for them.
But feeling this way over the last few weeks got me wondering about how other moms deal with these types of crisis’. I can’t be the only one who has allowed life outside my children to negatively affect my mood and thus result in a lessened desire to mother. I’m not talking to the point of child neglect, but that feeling of wanting them to be someone else’s responsibility while you sort out whatever it is you’re going through, be it a cold or tough times.
Realizing that I wanted to disconnect from my mothering role, I made the conscious decision to shift my attitude in an attempt to try not to feel resentful about my condition. In doing so, I somehow found tiny slivers of happiness because of them. From hugs to smiles, to love notes and conversations, I was able to savor some great moments with them despite how yucky (and unaccomplished) I felt.
I’m not entirely sure how, but I think slowing down had everything to do with it. Naturally, when you are sick or sad, you slow your normal life’s pace. You stop and reflect more.
As I started recognizing happiness around me, despite the way I felt, I noticed more and more things to be grateful for. My focus shifted from how bad my cold was making me feel and how few words I had written to how proud I am of my children and how grateful I am to have everything that I do.
Maybe that’s the point of practicing daily gratitude. They say it’s an exercise for your brain muscles to form a habit of seeking good in all things. The more often you seek to find things to be grateful for, the easier it is to do.
Make Transitions Easier
Because I think it has been beneficial and gives me something to look forward to when I make that daily transition from writer to mom (even on days when I don’t get any words on paper), I’ve been actively recognizing happiness in the few hours I have with my kids. Instead of focusing on the time wasted (my biggest pet peeve), I’ve been looking for things to be grateful for.
It is my hope that if you and I spent just a few minutes focusing on the good that is to come before picking our kids up, we can keep our mind away from whatever our current stresses may be – sickness, chores, money, work, etc. Our children deserve a mom who can live in the present moment with them, and we owe it to ourselves to stop allowing stresses to suck away more energy from our daily lives than they have to.
(Note: If for any reason you feel like you cannot find happiness in anything, please talk to a close friend, family member, church leader, or doctor about it. If you are clinically depressed, recognizing happiness can feel impossible, but with the right support, you can overcome it.)