Thursday, January 21, 2016

Joy Suckers

Every single day, I try to create my own happiness. I actually work pretty hard to "be happy."

I don't think Happiness with a capital H just Poof! magically taps select people or that those of us with sunny personalities are just "lucky."

Though some humans may have temperaments that lean towards glass half full (or glass half empty), I still think those of us categorized as cheerful put more work into it than one may assume.

When life throws you lemons...

However, there are life events/issues that I call Joy Suckers: They do their darnedest to suck out any of my hard-earned joy.

I try to fight back, and here's how. Hi-Yah!

Joy Sucker #1: Spouse Travel.

This might be my Number 1, face-drooping, laugh-crying Joy Sucker. I miss him. My kids miss him. I feel alone and up to my ears in responsibility when he is gone. This is a hard one for me to combat, but I do have a few survival tricks up my sleeve to share with you.

  • Easy meals: This includes Happy Meals, going out for a treat with the kids, letting my daughter have Easy Mac. Whatever it takes to make mealtimes less stressful.
  • Stay busy: This is a tough balance for me, because my son is tired after school and unlikely to happily socialize, and I'm a classic introvert. So I do what I can, and maybe meet up with a friend while my daughter is with me or take the kids on a low-stress errand so we don't feel too cooped up in the house.
  • Babysitters: Alas, I do not have free family childcare. For those times when my husband is gone for long periods, I have to set up a break or two using a babysitter for my own sanity. Worth every penny.
  • For more on this, read my post, here.

Joy Sucker #2: Being Sick.

Collective grunt. For moms, there are few things worse than being sick, right? We don't get sick days! Your kids still expect the same amount of you regardless of how awful you feel.

  • Zi-cam: I'm not messing around here. Expensive, but I think it works, so I start using it as soon as I begin to feel a cold coming on. Zinc is your friend!
  • Early bedtimes: I try to get in bed soon after my kids to rest when I can.
  • Extra coffee and sugar: When extra sleep or downtime isn't an option, I let myself indulge in more caffeine and cookies. [Hey, I never said my remedies were healthy.]

Joy Sucker #3: Cloudy, cold, dark days.

I'm pretty sure I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, I think it's called? What can those of us do who don't live in warm, sunny climates?

A rare sunny early winter day here in Minnesota.

  • Exercise: Yes, it's even harder to get outside and motivate myself on a dreary day, but if I can manage it, I always feel better after a short walk or even a quick game of tag with my kids.
  • If it's too cold to do that (it can easily drop below 0 here), I might run around with the kids in the house, or turn up the music and get them to dance with me.
  • Extra coffee and sugar: This one just keeps popping up. I'm no saint.
  • For ideas on how to survive winter with young kids, I wrote this.

What [or who??] are some of your Joy Suckers? How do you work to destroy them?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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  1. "Every single day,I try to create my own happiness" - Ahhh yes Julia.What could be more true? And it takes every little wisp of energy too!I can not fathom how hard it must be for you when your husband is travelling.My husband doesn't have to travel but will have early morning days very often and his weekly off is on a Monday too.So yes, that is one of my joy suckers.
    And sickness! especially a stomach bug!!ooof!
    Then, I guess people who make me feel small for being at home with my kids.So much that I start to think small of myself too- now that completely drains me.
    Also,when everyone forgets to help me a bit ever so often!
    I like to have a clean corner to sit as I paint and it doesn't happen. You ll find me drawing amidst all the toys and all the things and legos making their way to under my feet,an eight year old cutting away with scissors and a two year old throwing paper balls at me.Sometimes I give up and cry.Gosh , can't go on.It happened this morning.
    Stay warm , Julia and I hope the joy suckers don't trouble you much.��

    1. Yes, it DOES take every little wisp of energy to keep our spirits up, doesn't it? It would be much easier to really just slink into ourselves and focus on the hard stuff. Early mornings on your own are hard too-- cold, dark, early mornings are so lonely! I feel your pain.
      I am someone who will never make you feel small for being home with your children-- it is an extremely tough job! And it sounds like you do a great job with it!
      Thank you for sharing your own joy suckers :).


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