Admitting that your “average level of happiness” has declined
Having children can be wonderful in so many ways. But just as many ways it can be downright awful in other ways.
Life isn’t black and white, good or bad. Having kids means taking a decade-long rollercoaster. You’ll go up to the top and touch the skies, but you’ll also be down at the bottom waiting to get back up.
When having no kids, you had responsibility for no one but yourself. Life is on your terms. With kids, you’re the last one to be cared for. That’s a game changer.
Sometimes it can seem as though you lose sight of your happiness and yourself. In conscious parenting, we explore the art of remaining conscious – or mindful – of ourselves, our happiness, and our responsibilities as people, partners and parents.
By being mindful of and aware of ourselves and our actions, we remain grounded, making us more equipped to handle any situation that arises in a constructive, more positive way.
Regulating and allowing ourselves to process negative emotions lets us leave behind those unnecessary feelings such as self-criticism or perfectionism, which allows us the freedom to stand back and discover new perspectives we had not considered before, lifting our concentration and mood.
Additionally, teaching ourselves to stand back from a situation and avoid an impulsive, negative reaction helps us not only in our parenting but also in our day-to-day relationships with our colleagues, friends, and spouses.
Some easy keys to keep your happiness are to:
- Have realistic expectations. By freeing ourselves from unrealistic expectations and pressures, you allow time for education and enlightenment, encouraging more openness and time for self-reflection and change
- Do not bury yourself in family life! You won’t be a better mom/dad because you never leave home or the kids. Get out and enjoy your passions outside of the family.
- Teach independence. If you are constantly worrying over every aspect of your child’s day, you will burn yourself out by not allowing time and focus for yourself and yours. Understand that children learn by realising the consequences of their actions on their environment – like for example not setting an alarm and then being late for school. Taking a step back allows you to be a calmer, happier version of yourself.
- Be mindful of the happier moments of your day. Identify those and keep these to hand if you are forced to confront a challenging or difficult circumstance.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel. There are always people ready to listen, support and help (if you feel you don’t have that kind of people around you now, keep looking!). Remember too that repaying these values of support can help your family begin a collaborative discourse, making a more harmonious and happier family unit.
Whatever you do, don’t accept feeling crap and believe that’s life with kids. It’s not! Your family can bring you great joy, and remembering to take time to harmonize with yourself helps you to be a more outwardly happy, positive parent and partner.