My husband gently asks me ‘are you happy?’ when we are at my in-laws’. I know that it is his most subtle way of checking if there is a bomb waiting to explode a.k.a. wife ready to turn Chandramukhi. It is such a strange question, this ‘are you happy?’
Happiness to my husband would be bagging that deal with the super fussy client; to my mother, it would be slightly better vision and money for her medication; to my son it would be limitless supply to biscuits without Amma staring at him; to Isha, it must be unending access to the boob. But to me, the real definition of happiness right now, as of the 7th of September 2017, would be sitting in a plush soft white bed of a hotel, with food on one side (brownies would be good), Grey’s Anatomy marathon on the TV, chilled beer on the other side and a spa appointment shortly. ALL of this without children, husband, suitcase, diaper bags or laptops. Happiness is a very subjective term and trying to be ‘completely happy’ will only result in prolonged search for it and thereby, frustration.
For years now, I have had an ideal image of happiness in my head. This this and this would make me happy, I would think to myself, sipping filter coffee. But now, even an hour without interruption, pooping without someone (3 feet tall) banging on the door or sleeping without having to look like a tossed noodle is good by me.
So, am I saying it is impossible to be happy to the greatest extent? No. I am saying amp the happiness quotient slowly. If I looked back at myself in 2007 and compared that version of me to the one currently, I definitely am in a much happier place. Note: happier, not happiest. I think the –est version would not be possible as a one stop destination. It’s not like saying I will run a 5km marathon and be done. Then, your head (the in house devil’s advocate) will ask ‘5 done, why not the 10?’ and so you will keep going from point to point, trying to finally finish the ‘connect the dots to attain happiness’ game. Thing is, the dots don’t end and neither do they lead to a complete picture. Happiness is a journey and you better be prepared. How?
- Set expectations for yourself only. No point expecting your MIL to send you a friendship day card or your dog to toilet train overnight.
- Weigh your situation. You want to lose weight by walking, but who will take care of the kids while you go cross country walking? Plan for the doable instead. Wake up an hour or so earlier and do suryanamaskars in your living room. Same effort, different method.
- Treat yourself occasionally. Buy yourself a bag, a new shade of lipstick, go out for a massage or just load an extra scoop of ice cream in your bowl as you binge watch some series. (yes, a lot of my life revolves around food :P)
- Keep a backup plan. If something does not make you happy, but has to be done nevertheless what can you do to minimize the teeth grinding frustration? I negotiate something out of such situations. I do A if you can let me do B or if XYZ isn’t asked of me.
- Remember that happiness is relative. Unlike when you were a chain-smoking rebellious teenager who didn’t have to care about the next person reacting to your showdown, the married version of you is invisibly attached to other human beings, no matter how annoying they are. So, if throwing a tantrum makes you feel better, it might make your husband feel uncomfortable and thereby give you a prolonged evening with a sullen faced man-baby. Not worth it.
- Remind people of what makes you unhappy. If possible, avoid such situations totally. I have mastered the art of widening my eyes so much, that suddenly they look like dartboards. I don’t like, I don’t do. Simple.
- Konmari the shit out of unhappy stuff in your life. Spark fire if you have to, but get out of that Facebook group, WhatsApp club and email subscription if it as much as makes you twitch with uneasiness. Not needed. EVER!
- Keep sugary treats accessible. I become a monster if there isn’t something sweet to pop into my mouth accessible. Which is probably why I am grumpy at my in-laws’ (lolz) but these sugary pieces of guilt calm you down instantly and then you can just think better.
- Find a hobby that does not need 100% attention. Find something that doesn’t need 100% attention but works well to cheer up your spirit. Cooking and books do that to me. Crochet comes after.
- Taking lines from the Def Leppard number – walk away if you want to. Its okay if you need to. Happiness lies in not exposing yourself to something you think causes unhappy feelings. I don’t read the news these days. Reading news makes me unhappy. Likewise, I don’t talk to some people these days. You get the gist! 😉
Happiness is very subjective and each one of us finds happiness in small things. I am not going Zen on you saying ‘look at the butterfly and its wings. Ah! Happiness’ I am saying set realistic expectations and also please don’t expect others to make you happy. Unless you are paying them 😉
So, how do you keep your momtastic life happy? I would really like to know!
~ The Lazy Parent