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The Happiness Project
I chanced across the Happiness Project on the day it began and immediately wanted to join in. Thanks so much to Sevencherubs (and The Happiness Project) for prompting such a brilliant adventure. Having found it so fascinating and rewarding, I’m wondering if it would make a good story of mum activity too (if you're new to story of mum, find out more about us here.)
The idea is that you write one sentence every day for a month describing a moment when you were happy that day – and then at the end of the month combine the sentences into a list to share.
Recording my life at this moment and the important moments in my life, I’ve been reminded that I have so much to be grateful for, even on the days when life seems exhausting and depressing.
So what have I learnt? I’ve seen that so much of my happiness comes from being a mum – sharing precious moments with my kids, and appreciating equally precious moments when they sleep (!) allowing me to rest, reflect and be more than a mum. And from the moments when my husband and I manage to remember that we love each other as much as we love our kids, and take a minute or two to reconnect.
I find such happiness in connecting with others. With my little family, with my wider family – be that coming together for momentous life events, or just hanging out day to day. With my fabulous friends, chatting, playing and sharing life.
There’s joy in being outside in the wind, or feeling the warmth of the sun in a beautiful place. There is even joy in relief, as something we don’t like ends – be that a long journey, a leg wax, a fight or a rainstorm. Food makes me happy. There is a lot of joy to be had in bed (mostly asleep!).
I’ve seen how privileged I am to have these moments of happiness - to live in safety, to have my health, to have my family, to have the option to spend time at home instead of having to go back to work again straight away. To have choices.
Most of us dream that winning the lottery would make life so much better. But most moments that brought me such happiness cost very little money (admittedly I did have to travel halfway round the world for my brother’s wedding, but that was a once-in-a-lifetime expense…). I’ve learnt that all my happiness really costs me is the time it takes me to enjoy the moment, to notice how much delight there is in the everyday, and to cherish the family and friends I am so lucky to have.
If you’d like to read it, here’s my list of some of the things that made me happy this last month. You can read all the other blogs that have also joined in this month in the blog linky list at the bottom of this post - I can't wait!
I hope I get a chance to share your moments of happiness some time soon too – let me know if you like the idea of a Story of Mum Happiness List, and watch this space!
My friend Louise finishing waxing my legs, the pain over and my hands no longer sweating, and then laughing at my red-spotted skin later on the beach for a windy sunny sandy picnic with friends and happy children running wild.
My husband and I, toddler and babe, all smiling in the double bed together, sunlight streaming through the blinds, strangely ravey music on the radio (bit hectic for a Sunday morning) and the toddler chatting about flimgos (flamingoes, if you’re wondering)
Lying in bed at night with sleeping kids on either side of me, resting at my parents’ house for the first leg of our massive journey from Penzance to my brother’s Singapore wedding, remembering the moment on the delayed train here when my son reached down to hold his baby sister’s hand.
In a Milton Keynes park as my boy makes his own way across a ropewalk towards me, so proud of himself, such a huge grin, planting a big smacker on my lips as he arrives.
My son finally giving up the fight and falling asleep on the longhaul flight.
Taking a warm evening walk to buy a take-out dinner with my mum, dad, brothers, bride-to-be, and kiddies through foreign smells and at last a cooler heat, discovering an old favourite food I hadn’t had since living in London, Masala Dosa, and returning to our shared flat for a delicious eclectic, multicultural feast of Dosa, duck rice, fish curry and other goodies.
Watching my hot toddler sitting astride a fountain in delight.
Surrounded by my brother and his new wife’s friends and family, nibbling at an amazing Chinese banquet, and in a brief moment free of the overwhelming chaos of kid-wrangling, watching my brother give his wedding speech, expressing his joy at us traveling round the world with tiny kids to be here, his new beautiful wife so happy beside him.
Walking through the Night Safari jungle with my family, all excited to see mousedeer and hear lion noises and see the big moon shining through the rainforest, feeling like I’m really on holiday and getting on the tram through jungle foliage and the smells and sounds and breeze reminding me of anticipation and youthful excursions to Goan full moon parties in a tuktuk.
A few rare moments alone with my newly married bro and my baby waiting for everyone else to arrive from a lost taxi, sat on a tiled chair under his new in-laws apartment block, chatting about life and bobbing my hungry baby up and down to distract her from feed time (but actually I cried then so maybe the happiest moment is right now looking at my beautiful daughter’s sleeping face under her crazy hair as I express, cooled by the air con, my little bro and parents watching TV next door, my little boy sleeping too.)
A brief two minutes of peace 'alone' looking at the sunset from the top of Marina Bay Sands (a 'boat' perched on three towerblocks...) as the evening finally starts to cool and lights come on all around us in the sky, having spent 4 hours in the searing heat trying to keep a tired toddler from kicking off and to breastfeed a crying hot baby invisibly in an exclusive non kid-friendly bar/restaurant (which we were very privileged to be allowed in so even more paranoid about behaving appropriately) with a tempting looking rose and lychee martini being sadly neglected...
Managing to watch a whole film (in pieces) on the plane thanks to baby sleeping and toddler being looked after by mum and bro, yay!
Being home, being asleep
Not the moment that my chestnut brown husband finally arrived home from working away and my boy squealed in delight but the moment when I realise I didn’t have to deal with all the sterilising and night feed top-up preparations alone any more now that he’s back.
Two magical moments – a sunny walk in Penberth Open Garden with two of my best friends Emily and Thalia and our three little boys exploring paths by a stream through heather and bright flowers on the hunt for the “Eastermonster” (part dinosaur, part roar, on wheels apparently…) and then just before bed a blissful much needed neck rub from the husband I’d been arguing with most of the day in our ongoing competition to see who is the most exhausted (working on a film shoot sunrise to sunset or traveling longhaul with a toddler and a baby…?)
Sunshine, picnic blanket, friend and family, Easter egg hunt, water, walled garden, shade of a pear tree.
My boy returning from nursery and giving me and the baby big happy generous kisses.
Awake in bed, having slept reasonably well, a smiling baby happily fed, a little boy rushing in and out yelling “Morning!” and a smiley husband looking well rested, with no rush to get up and out as we are all ahead of schedule.
Breastfeeding in the sunshine while my toddler plays with my mum, running in and out of a tunnel in the Trevarno garden playpark, a reindeer harrumphing nearby, and my dad snoozing on a bench.
Watching the Royal Wedding with my husband and being delightedly surprised at how much we’re enjoying it, sharing the happiness with millions of others, and especially liking my husband surprising me with cucumber sandwich ingredients, strawberries and clotted cream and Pimms.
Eating a burger in my favourite Marazion café reached just as the rain finally fell, after a long blowy walk where my son had been delighted by two low flying helicopters and a steam train and I’d got to chat with two wonderful visiting friends Emma and Sonja and the baby slept the whole time.
Our first time in the local swimming pool with our brand new family of four.
A smile from my stressed husband
A babymooning morning, feeling relaxed even though I’m working on my computer, because I have a naked sleeping baby skin to skin, smelling delicious, and a pasty on the way…
15 minutes in a café, shopping done, baby asleep, not quite time to pick up my boy from nursery yet, with a decaf latte and yet more people commenting on my baby’s excessive hair
Reading an early anniversary card from my parents, such lovely sentiments, and feeling so lucky to have such wonderful thoughtful honest parents and a model of a successful challenging relationship in both them and my in-laws.
Heading home through the park in a burst of sun soon after managing to get up and out with 2 dressed fed children by 8.30 for the first time since having my babe, having pushed them up the big bad hill to drop my boy at nursery, under a sky threatening rain but luckily never delivering,
First home visit from a new friend Kate, eating cake, drinking a glass of pink fizz to celebrate my wedding anniversary (sadly without my working husband), talking about the challenges and joys of motherhood and watching our children play well together in a relatively tidy house as I had hoovered like a loon before she arrived so that I could pretend that we didn’t live in a pit of chaos.
Receiving an unexpected phone message from my friend Thalia to say that she had had a healthy baby girl today, so fantastic hearing her so happy, thrilled and relieved, and my little boy delighted that this means his best friend now has a little sister too, hooray!
Tea and biscuit and sitting down at my computer to write.
Family story-time in my toddler’s bed, in fits of giggles trying to put on a range of different accents to read stories from the Richard Scarry book, but it all going wrong as I attempt to sound Algerian and it all comes out Irish Indian, much to my husband’s amusement.
PS If you like this, you might also like The Receiving Project - I did the original (free) experience when Jo Anna was trialling it, and loved it.