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It’s been so long since I wrote a post on parenting and that’s quite strange, given that this blog started as a parenting blog and remained so for almost a decade. But you know something? I am, today, the happiest I have been in a long, long time. As a parent, as a professional, as a wife, as a woman, being a happy mom is tied up with all of that.
Most of my other posts have a lot of planning and thought that go into them. But the ones on parenting are more like stream-of-consciousness writing. I write where my heart takes me.
Today, it takes me back over the last 9 months. It takes me to that point in my life when I was at a crossroads and had to take a decision about my career and my future. Simultaneously, I was looking at a crucial year in my daughter’s academic life.
When I really think about it though, as a mom, being happy in my case is dependent on a curious mix of these things.
Let’s take the instance of my daughter. She is the light of my life and the one I look to every day as a source of joy and learning.
The last couple of years had been tough on her, and by extension, me. While yelling had taken a back seat, there were times that sheer frustration attacked us both. She was unable to keep up with the stress and I was finding it physically impossible to deal with her mood swings.
And then, the strangest thing happened.
I let go.
Without really planning it or working on it or consciously doing it, it just happened. We sat down and had a conversation at the beginning of the academic year and I don’t know if something just clicked or fell into place or if it was divine intervention.
Whatever it was, it worked. Her mood swings reduced, her interest in things grew keener and her need to make herself more useful came by voluntarily. I confess I am still mystified at what caused the change but I am not complaining about it.
That was the first thing that helped me become a happy mom: Knowing that my daughter was going to be okay. That she’d fight her own demons, wrestle with her failures and come up with her own solutions, while still leaning on me when she needs it.
The second thing that makes a happy mom, in my opinion, is being content with what you do- either as a profession or as a stay-at-home mom.
My own mother is the perfect example of a stay-at-home mom who is totally content. She thrives on that routine, the feeding of her family, the little things that go into making people feel comforted and wanted. In their happiness lies her happiness and without any sense of neglect whatsoever.
In my own case, I discovered, working on my business makes me happy. Being passionate about learning, I try to bring that into every single moment of my work day. Being able to help others with their doubts and questions makes me happy.
Being happy at work makes me happy at home. Such a strange thing, but it’s so true.
The next thing that matters, dear moms, is having the right support group around you. For that I have my close friends– my sounding boards who listen to me vent about how my latest idea didn’t take off or how my laundry has all piled up for the last 3 days and all I want to do is sit and watch TV instead.
And the best part? They listen. They do! Without judgement, without criticism. Every mom needs that. Find your tribe and make them your confidants.
And then, being happy as a wife makes me a happy mom. I know that may not be very modern in its outlook, but I truly, deeply appreciate the man I married.
He is incredibly supportive while being completely unobtrusive about it. He doesn’t have to ask about how my work is going or how well my blog is doing. But he is always there to help out with a technical snag or a query I may have. Or knock some sense into me when I’m unreasonably sad about something.
Plus let’s not forget that he’s one of the most hands-on fathers/husbands I have ever seen.
When you really think about it, though, your happiness is in your hands. So while it’s great to rely on each of those people that I mention above, it’s very important to remember one crucial thing for your happiness: Don’t Neglect Yourself.
Find ways to care for yourself in a way that nobody else can. Self care is the best gift and when you do that, even if you don’t have any of the other options available, you will see that you are well on your way to being and staying a happy mom. Guaranteed.