Cultivating Happiness in the Midst of Mothering
How do you find happiness? Kids tend to find happiness not through heightened stimulation or vast leisure, but by engaging their energy. My challenge as a mother is to remain neutral through the demands or complaints of boredom, gently making suggestions, until my children find their own way—which they eventually do—sometimes entering their most creative part of the day. I want them to realize that being happy can be a relatively simple task and that it is within their power to create their own happiness.
Likewise, it is essential that we know our needs as mothers and as creative women. Mothering and all the demands that arise in the process of balancing work and home can be immensely challenging. Certainly, there are moments of brilliant and unexpected joy in the presence of children. But finding joy as a routine set point is a true practice that requires knowing how to deal with stress, having good structures of support, and making space for what truly makes you happy.
Happiness is also a way of being that can be tapped into at any moment by calling your attention to the present. One day I was working at home. My older sons were entertaining themselves, and my youngest son played with a babysitter. After spending the morning playing together, my sons began to argue intensely. Instead of encouraging them to work it out, which needs to happen when I have a particular work deadline, I invited them to take a walk with me in the warmth of the gentle August day.
We walked and talked about whatever came through our minds: my older son gliding along on his new cruiser skateboard and my other son holding my hand. I asked if I could try to ride the new board. I stepped onto the smooth, koa-wood board as my sons held me protectively from each side. With their arms around me, I rolled along through the sweet air, savoring the beauty of being with these boys.
Exercise: Cultivating Happiness in the Moment
- Notice what is happening in this moment. How are you feeling? Where are you? Is there a sense of peace around you, or is something in need of tending? If you are with your children, how are they? What are they doing presently?
- Focus on the beauty you can access right now. Set down any workload and simply breathe. Look outside to see what is happening in the sky. Sense the expansiveness around you.
- Reflect on your loves and places of gratitude. Energize the space around you with the blessings of your life. Sense how this changes the energy.
- Now engage the moment with intention. See your children; notice their eyes and the expression on their faces. Join their play with your full presence. Give a family member a heartfelt touch or embrace. Turn on music and have a dance party with your children. Reach out and call a friend. Simply savor this energy potential.
- Step back into your previous task or redirect yourself; carry the energy of this blessed moment with you through your day. Try to bring this energized presence to a mothering task, like bathing your child or tending the house, and see what changes.
What do you love the most about being a mother?
Photo courtesy FlickrTami Kent, MSPT, is a holistic women’s health care provider who guides women in interpreting the wisdom of their bodies and reclaiming the wild within themselves. With a master’s degree in physical therapy and the ability to read energetic patterns of the body, Tami acts as a bridge between the realms of modern medicine and traditional women’s wisdom. The founder of Holistic Pelvic Care, Tami has advanced training in multiple bodywork techniques, including certification in Maya Abdominal Massage and Infant Body Psychotherapy/Birth Trauma Resolution. She received her Masters in Physical Therapy from Pacific University and her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of California at Berkeley. Tami is the mother of three boys and maintains a women’s health private practice in Portland, OR.