I’m happy to welcome the lovely Liz from Parenting Calm to The Happiness Series this week! I’m really excited that Liz has chosen to write something for us rather than answer the interview questions. Parenting Calm is positive parenting & mindfulness – which I love! It’s full of positivity. Take it away Liz….
On Being a Happy Mama
I’m not a perfectionist. Anyone who’s ever had the ‘pleasure’ of sampling my baked goods will confirm that. But I suppose I am a bit of an idealist. Or at least I was.
I often have a vision of how I think events will evolve, and can feel quite disappointed when they veer off track. And, of course, things do always veer off track. Play dates result in territorial toddler wrestling. Husbands somehow miss ‘subtle’ hints. Squashed blueberries appear in the most unlikely places.
I sometimes visualize a version of motherhood involving white linen trousers and skipping through cornfields. But our reality is more machine-washable cotton blend and skipping through muddy puddles.
This year, in the midst of the toddler tantrum phase and with a baby on the way, I began looking at various ways to build my own resources. I wanted to see more of the happy, positive mama that I aim to be; without resorting to hip flasks of gin (well, not before midday anyway).
I started my blog, 52 pauses (now Parenting Calm), in January and shortly after began studying mindfulness. It’s made a big difference to my interactions with my family, but one thing seems to have helped above all else.
Mindfulness involves not only being present for life as it unfolds (or unravels, as it feels like sometimes) but accepting our reality for what it is at the time, without passing judgment on it or wishing it were different.
For me, this was a big shift.
I’m now better at seeing the lovely little bits of our days, that were previously obscured by tantrums, running late or whatever we were up against at the time. And there are always lovely bits: the moments of affection after a meltdown, an impromptu chat with a kind stranger, pausing on the way from A to B to make shadow puppets.
I’m less likely to wish things were going differently, and am better at enjoying our experiences for what they are; no matter how messy or testing.
I felt bad last week as the toddler’s Granny spent a week with us, patiently awaiting the arrival of a baby that seems determined to remain in my womb until it’s time for university. Granny is due in hospital herself next week, so it’s becoming less likely that she’ll get a squidgy newborn cuddle before her operation, and I was sad about that. But then I thought about all the good times she’s had with the toddler, and how many ‘London things’ she’s done that her visits don’t usually allow time for.
There’s a sense of power in choosing my own narrative, and making a choice about how to experience the day.
When I imagined parenthood I saw plenty of things that would make me happy: cuddles, walking through forests, playing on the beach. But in fact, it’s possible to find happiness even amidst snotty noses, piles of wet wipes and the debris of discarded food. It’s everywhere, if you look for it.
Liz has had a bit of a break recently due to studying and moving house. She’s hoping to be back soon and is considering collaborating with others on the blog, due to limited time. Feel free to drop her a line if you think you’d be a good fit and would like to be involved