Happiness

We are having a lot of days filled with grumpy and unhappy moments.  Could be the start to Kindergarten—new routines, new friends, new community, new teacher, new expectations.  I have felt very frustrated and often wish that our neighbor’s homes were just a little further away.  Wouldn’t want the volume of our rants, raves and time outs to affect their serenity as retired folks.  Here’s a sample from the Gough “younger sect”.

I start to look at my eldest and wonder what in the world will happen when we hit the teenage years.  The temper tantrums, slamming doors, stubbornness, quick/disrespectful comments when angry.  What will this look like as he ages?

I hate being on the defensive.  I dislike the feelings that rise up in me or words and tone that come out of my mouth.  And yet, I know I’m not alone.  I see Facebook posts from friends.  I receive emails or phone calls or texts from others asking, “Are you seeing “THIS” too?!”  We reach out to know that we aren’t alone.  To know that even though you might have your spouse, you two aren’t in your own orbit of child craziness, that there are others in the system who experience the same disequilibrium.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that I have two books on my “reading list” right now about happiness?!?  I didn’t plan for them to arrive from the library’s wait list at the same time, but I’m guessing it’s a little divine intervention.

I share these thoughts here to keep it real…so that when I’m pining for these days in 15 years, I’ll remember that these days were tough too.  Lots of time outs.  Lots of deep breaths. Lots of prayers up to the heavens for grace and strength to make it to bedtime.  Lest my posts or pictures say otherwise, parenting is not easy.  It often feels like I’m ill-suited for it or lack the patience to do it well.

I’m grateful for grace.  I’m grateful that in my harder moments when I mess up, I can often count on my husband to not “lose it” at the same moment.  Tag teaming is my saving grace.  And, I’m grateful that, as Christine Carter shares in the opening of her book, “Personality is not predetermined at birth, and neither is happiness.  Nearly half—maybe more—of the factors that determine children’s happiness can be attributed to the environments in which they are raised.”  Let’s hope we can all have moments of honesty and connection over our parenting mishaps and failures.  Times when we can turn to one another, throw our hands up and either laugh or cry knowing we’re not alone.

It is not easy.  I’m guessing it wasn’t easy for generations before.  And potentially, for parents in the future.  I know I, for one, am only making it due to my “village and tribe”.  For those who have “been there” before, right now, I need some funny stories.  Let’s build a happiness foundation.

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

~Jane Howard

p.s.  Luckily there are still many moments like these to keep me sane and laughing….

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