I sent out a tweet this morning.
I’m reading the Duggar’s second book, A Love That Multiplies. In it Michelle emphasizes the importance of her attitude, and how it sets the tone for the children.
Of course, that’s not news to me.
In fact, one of the reasons I began my Happiness Project in the first place is because I recognize the truism of “If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy“. My mood impacts the mood of everyone else in the household more than any other single person.
How does one keep their attitude positive when so many around them are doing a lousy job of it?
Take this morning.
I was in the mood to
not cook take the kids out for breakfast. 8 year old daughter had been whining since she woke up, because she has to endure the horrible calamity of waiting until early tomorrow morning to go to her grandparent’s (instead of tonight). Also, she couldn’t instantly find her purse and had to LOOK for it (the horror!).
When we got in the car she and 5 year old daughter began fighting and sitting on and slapping on each other. 8 year old began whining with renewed intensity.
I drew up reserves from the deepest part of me and said:
“Ilana, every word that has come out of your mouth this morning has been negative. We need an attitude adjustment quickly. So I would like everyone in the car to name 3 things they are grateful for.”
This seemed to work.
For a while.
Things like “I’m happy we have a mom and food and we’re going out for breakfast and have a trampoline and some people don’t have food” etc began spilling out.
“Ok guys. So let’s keep that attitude of gratitude in our mind as we go about our day and not get into fights about insignificant, meaningless things.”
Score one for mom.
Of course, it doesn’t always look this nice.
Sometimes I feel like I’m being pecked to death by a million chickens.
I only have 6 kids, and there is almost never a time when all of them are happy.
How in the world does one manage the attitude of their offspring when there are 20 of them? (Hence the #whatwouldmichelleduggar hashtag.)
Keeping my own mood in check feels like a burden some days.
I am Boadicea taking on the Romans.
I am vastly outnumbered.
I’m also reading another book, No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, the memoir of fellow Atlanta mom of 9. (She’s an upcoming guest on the show, stay tuned.)
I can’t find the actual reference right now. But there is a moment where she says that there is a time to quit validating feelings. There is a time to say “Get over it already!”
I’m all for the Faber/Mazlish brand of touchy-feely, feel good parenting.
But it is exhausting, and nobody can keep it up all the time.
This is what is tiring about motherhood.
It’s not so much the endless little chores, the spending hours picking up tiddlywinks and detritus off the floor, the sleep interruptions.
It’s keeping everyone at a minimum level of happiness.
(At least high enough so their misery doesn’t spill over onto you and the others around them.)
Thank God there is blogging.