I am now one month into The Happiness Project. But am I feeling any happier? Well, without some kind of scale, it’s hard to say. In all honesty, I feel just as happy as I did a month ago. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s still a pretty good level of happy. (Not sure how my baseline level of happiness would compare to someone else’s. According to psychologists we all have a BASELINE level of happiness, some higher/lower than others, which we all resort back to throughout the highs and lows of the day, and “despite major positive or negative events or life changes”).
So although I’d say I am a pretty happy person, my attempts to boost this happiness further in January were simply not successful. A bit of a bum. I sort of went round in circles. There lies an air of frustration surrounding January’s resolutions (which now I reflect on do seem a tad over ambitious):
I haven’t reached my goal of the 6AM wake up (it was 5:30 but that’s a little extreme; who sets an alarm that early when your child is an alarm during the night?!).
I still wolf down processed sugar like I haven’t eaten in months. (My goal of “mindful eating” and really taking the time to enjoy my food went down the drain as I spent my lunch and dinner times making sure Maia had eaten sufficiently, going back and forth from the kitchen fetching things for her, then rushing to finish my own plate as she runs off to play.)
I did manage to save money: no Costa/Starbucks/Cafe Nero, and only one shop bought sandwich, it was from M&S, which of course resulted in a BOOST in happiness.. Plus I was famished so…
I know there are areas I could have saved more: One unnecessary -though delicious- Burrito (bought feeling slight hunger pangs knowing full well I could have waited till I got home for sustenance), one half empty Vogue magazine, (I felt ripped off, the article to AD ratio was way off, I felt deceived as January’s Vogue was so good), one moment of weakness in the Zara Kids Sale resulting in the purchase of one adorable little dress -one size too big- and one floral-print skirt – two sizes too big. – They will simply look pretty in her wardrobe until she’s big enough to wear them; the sight alone of all her little skirts and dresses is a major happiness boost. – (A boost for me, thankfully she doesn’t give a crap what she wears).
I still lose my temper. Though I’m now so conscious of it; it happens a lot less. I’ve now resorted to stepping outside for a moment of deep breathing, this is fine when the sun’s shining but when it’s raining I just feel like crap and go back inside before I’m ready. All in all, it’s a process, and I’m learning.
What did I learn in January? I learnt that trying to increase productivity does not increase my happiness. If anything, it only increases my frustration when I don’t get more done. Getting up early is not a priority when you’re repeatedly woken up in the night. I know this now. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact I’m not Superwoman. Goddamit. (*sobs, puts down cape*) I’ve learnt the importance of time out, time to just be, slow down; watch a film, read a magazine, stick photos in a scrapbook (Yes I like scrap-booking, no I don’t think it’s a verb yet but it should be. – There’s a lot of joy in arranging photos on a page, and Pritt-Sticks always bring me back to childhood.). I have now stopped worrying about being productive every minute of the day. Life isn’t a to do list. It’s often the moments between your daily tasks that really mean something. (I don’t have “dance to 80’s music with Maia for half an hour then pretend to be a horse whilst she rides on your back then shower her in tickles” on my list but we certainly have a good time together most days, and none of that’s planned).
Of course it’s wonderful to feel a sense of achievement after you’ve accomplished everything on your list. – But for a stay at home single mother managing to entertain, educate and generally be an awesome role model to your child for 12 hours a day, then be there at night – boob at the ready- whilst simultaneously maintaining an adequate level of sanity, shaved legs and neat eyebrows; there lies a sense of accomplishment in itself. (Minus the neat eyebrows, oh and who shaves their thighs in the Winter? Hell what single woman shaves their legs in the Winter. – Minus the shaved legs too.) I should probably add something about keeping a clean and tidy home but those that know me know my house is rarely tidy, it’s not dirty, but it’ll never be immaculate.
*Sometimes when I imagine my life in the future, I picture a highly organised home, where everything has its place, and a kitchen with plastic containers for the cereal, and labels, I cannot wait to purchase a label machine. Gosh, so much to look forward to. I feel happier just thinking about the labels. And no, labels wouldn’t work in my current household, I adore my parents but when the pasta goes on the same shelf as the crackers, the hot chocolate and the Asian Noodles, we have a problem. Needless to say, like my clothes and my stationary, I like my food organised. Organised kitchen = Happy Mama. /Irritating for the less organised folk
Exploring Henley – Grandad and Maia patiently waiting for Grandma to finish taking photos.