My kids don’t make me HAPPY.
I have been a parent for 13 years and I am 31 so I have a perspective I do not see often in older parents. Yesterday when I was at my child’s Cross Country school event I partook in several conversations with various parents and several groups of Mothers.
I always tend to feel judged by a lot of ‘older’ mums, like I don’t know anything – my opinion doesn’t count.
That’s fine, cos I have this space where I can voice my opinion about things.
When I hear people say kids will make them happy.
“It might be tough sometimes” they say — cover it up in a layer of rainbows, puppies, sunshine and gum drops. And lies.
Because that’s what it is when you tell someone that having kids will make them happy: a lie. Kids won’t MAKE you happy. Nothing will MAKE you happy.
My kids don’t make my happiness. That isn’t their job. My happiness isn’t a responsibility that they have.
Happiness is a choice. It’s a decision. It’s something you achieve. It’s something you do. It’s an option you select. It requires your active participation every single second of the day. Happiness is not made or constructed. It is not assembled like Kmart furniture. It is not contracted like a disease. It is not imposed, or infused, or purchased. It is not given to you. It is not birthed. You don’t stumble into it like a puddle of fun.
There are many different techniques to separate your own happiness from other peoples actions; from deep breathing to therapy but the main thing I have discovered on my parenting journey is just to work every day on your own well-being; consciously make positive choices, don’t pressurize yourself with unattainable expectations and focus on gratitude. By taking care of yourself then these moments won’t knock you down as much; you will be in a better place to deal with them. In my case when I am on form then by some miracle they happen less (either that or I just don’t notice them as much)!
I always think about the example I want to set for my kids. I want to teach them that they are the only ones responsible for their own happiness. I want them to understand that they control their own world by controlling their emotions. I could sit down and try to teach them this lesson military style but as we all know children don’t listen so it’s pointless.
Children learn more by copying what we do and so the best way I can teach them this life changing skill is to model the self-reliant behavior myself.
I will show my children that they can have happy ever after but that they have to find it in themselves.
As a lot of you well know my life is not without struggle, I have 2 kids on the spectrum – dealing with all the stuff that comes with that, my Dad has severe dementia and I am responsible for his care (little to no support from his family or mine), we are a single income family who live in Auckland – it’s a juggle.
My happiness is created by me, I’m probably experiencing some of the hardest moments of my life and I still consider myself a optimist and a mostly positive personality. I added this in so you all know my life is far from perfect but the sad and hard things do not define me.
What do you think about my thoughts about kids and parents happiness? let me know in the comments.