Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Focusing on the Good

It's so easy-- natural, even-- to obsess about all the challenges in our lives as mothers. Is your kid all the sudden not sleeping? You wonder why. Are your kids in a "I only eat plain hot dogs and Cheez-its stage?" You worry they'll never eat a piece of pizza. Are they struggling with x/y/z? Quick, search Google. Are you frustrated with yourself for losing your patience? Commence feeling guilty.

Not hard to do, right?

I read (and took) some advice in a book recently (I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood) that has added to my daily happiness.

The authors write that one behavior to practice at the end of each day is to think about and feel good about what did go well with your kids that day. It may not sound groundbreaking, but I have to say, regularly doing so has positively influenced me.

I have also started doing this throughout the day-- taking a mental note when I am enjoying my kids during the day, or when I feel that surge of love and pride for them.

Some days, yes, the hard parenting moments may outnumber the joyful ones, but by focusing on the really good ones, I still feel better.

This print was my gift to my husband for Father's Day: A good reminder that having each other is something to feel grateful and happy about every single day.

Since just last week, when I first read this nugget of wisdom, I'm feeling calmer and like a more successful mother. [To me, a successful mom isn't defined by someone else. It simply means that I feel satisfied with how I'm doing with my own children in our own lives.]

Here are a few simple joys I've taken note of in the past week... See if you can start to recognize those little moments of happiness in your day as well.

Reading aloud with each child pressed up next to me on our big yellow couch.

My son and daughter saying the best part of their morning at camp was seeing each other on the playground.

My daughter dancing like a surfer dude to her new CD.

My son making me laugh with his ever-developing and quite hilarious sense of humor.

Watching both of them try (and like!) a new food at breakfast.

Reading together as a whole family in my son's bedroom before bed (they have started sharing a room this week; it's ridiculously adorable though it brings its own challenges...).

Watching my son hit the ball at t-ball and race around the bases as fast as he can.

When my little daughter runs up to each of us and gives us a big kiss.

Letting my son steal the Twizzlers right out of my hand and laughing with him about it.

It feels really good to list all the happy moments from the last week because of course-- certainly-- there were plenty of hard ones too.

I think it's also important to note that none of these moments were earth-shattering-- there were no home runs, no winning of spelling bees or trophies, no life-altering achievements. Those big joys are rare; the real joy of life is hidden in all the tiny moments.

Life is basically a collection of moments, and I'm choosing to focus on the best ones. I'm no Pollyanna-- when there's something serious going on, it's important to figure things out. But obsessing about the countless little bumps in the road doesn't do much good for any of us, does it?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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  1. "Those big joys are rare;the real joy of life is hidden in all the tiny moments!" True true true! I think some joy has to be instantaneous, for us to live a life that is fulfilling. A minute's laughter can take away the pain of an hour long tantrum. I so needed the reminder today. We did have a good start to today, though things got really wild in the day and I wouldn't have thought myself capable of remembering that sunny smile that greeted me first thing after a red hot roll down the hill meltdown. Thank you for taking me back to
    morning peace .And for seeing each other to be the best thing that happened on the playground , you are one awesome mom Julia!❤

    1. Thank you so much :). This summer, I have found myself needing to focus on the little joys more than ever!


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