Strive For The Happy

You know that old story about the man who goes to the doctor, moves his arms and says “It hurts when I do this” and the doctor responds with “Well stop doing that!” ..well that’s how I’ve been feeling lately about a lot of things.

 

And then a very wise friend said to me “Put your energy into something that makes you intrinsically happy, without relying upon others to do that for you.”

 

Which is a hard thing to do for a mom. It’s advice though that I would give my own kids.

 

“Don’t worry about what everybody else thinks” “Don’t worry about what everybody else wears.” “Don’t put up with the mean girls – either try to befriend them just being you or kindly walk away.”  “Be true to yourself, always.” “Don’t let yourself feel left-out, instead invite a new friend to play.” “Don’t talk behind people’s backs.” “Don’t lie.” “Be strong enough to ask for help.” “Be strong enough to admit when you were wrong.” “Be strong enough that you have enough to offer anyone help when they need it.” “Don’t take no for an answer the first time.” “Have a good cry sometimes and get up even stronger.” “Try new things.” “Don’t give up so easily.”  “Listen to your mother, she was a teen, a horrible horrible teen at one time.” “Be there for someone when they least expect it and be there for someone when they should expect it.” “Accept help.” “Reject rumors.” “Live your truth.” “Don’t keep doing things that just don’t feel good.”

“Strive for the happy that you first make for yourself…”

******

I would like to think that my kids love me for my quick wit and well-placed sarcasm, and as they get older it warms my heart when they actually understand a joke and roll their eyes. But I know that while we enjoy laughing as a family, my humor doesn’t make them love me more. I’ve always used my blog to share funny stories about my kids and our life. The things they say and do, the silly things that I’ve done, the frustrations of motherhood, and the daily trials of family. Sometimes life can get so ridiculous and sometimes so incredibly sad that my favorite coping mechanism and crutch for sharing is through humor.

 

And some days I’m the first to admit defeat and cannot wait to pour the wine at 5pm. There are some very hard days.

 

But the hard ones will never outnumber the good ones. I hope the times I yell(yes I yell) will never outnumber the times that I praise or give a hug. I hope that the times I criticize(yes I’ve gone there) will never be more than the times that I teach and encourage. I hope that the times I throw my hands up in defeat are much less than the times that I say “We got this!” I pray the times that we cry are softened by our laughter and celebrations.

 

My kids know I love them and am here for them through my daily actions of just being a mother, but if I must talk about social media – well I hope when my kids go back and read my online legacy(and you know they can and will) I hope they won’t need to question how much I loved them every single day through my Facebook posts, my tweets, my photos, my words, my blog.

 

It’s weird to think about that – this 2012 footprint we are leaving as our legacy and I wonder am I true online like I’m true at home? I’d hate to think that I’m publishing updates and posts for page-views, follows, likes and comments rather than to just speak my mind and heart about the beautiful gift of motherhood. Even on those very bad days. In fact I worry about those bad moments the most. And it’s not that I want to only show sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns – but I want to remain respectful to my children even through the tears on a 4:45am morning.

 

Because motherhood isn’t glamorous. It’s messy and poopy(yes I went there) and complicated and hard. It’s demanding and all-consuming and exhausting and long. It comes to us without an instruction manual and we’re caught basically unprepared with the future on our small shoulders. We are fragile and tired and scared and weary and unprepared really – yet this is our vocation. Our very important vocation that we do – sometimes because we really want to but always because we have to – and figure out and stumble along and cry sometimes as we learn. But we all do it. Because we’re moms.

 

I don’t want to sugarcoat anything for my kids. I want them to know about the hard days, the many less than perfect days, the days mom cried, the days that mom messed up, the days that motherhood broke me.

 

But I don’t ever want my kids to think that any of the hard stuff was because of them. None of it. Not their early rising, their food-pushing-away-ness, their talking back, their not-listening, their never wanting to get potty trained, their taking toys, their forgetting their homework, their coming home late, their lying about their whereabouts, their dating the bad guy,

 

No, the hard stuff is because if we really are honest – we really don’t know what we’re doing here. And it’s okay to admit that and accept that and trudge along knowing that tomorrow there might be more peace.

 

And most of the time it’s best to just laugh about it. But I won’t be disrespectful to my kids – in person or on social media. I’m not looking for page-views. I’m looking to be true for them. To be their example – during the funny times and not so funny times – just true and theirs as we learn this parenting thing together. Because they are also my teachers as I am theirs and we both have a lot to learn, yet so many things to laugh about together.

 

I ask them to be respectful of me. I hope they don’t complain about me(too much) to their friends  – that I am that ” mean mom” or ‘I’m so unfair” or “I never let them do anything” or “I don’t like their friends.”

 

And in return I know and respect a line – that even as babies, toddlers, little and big kids – they deserve even more of the same respect. And I won’t complain about the early mornings, and the messes, and the constant questions, and ANOTHER DAMN game of Candy Land. Because in the end, and also the beginning – I’m teaching them how to manage their communication, their respect, their footprint and their words and recognizing what is really funny.

 

I don’t want them to be bullies or complainers or martyrs or shamers, even in jest. I want them to be helpers and lifter-uppers and good friends and to live true and honest and humorous community lives.

******

So I guess this all comes back to “striving for the happy” – that putting my kids down or treating them with any less respect than I believe we all deserve does not make me happy. And while sure their stories are mine to tell – and the great debate goes on about how much do I really deserve to say about them as their mother versus what they own – I want to write in a way that would make them proud..because they are such an important part of me and I am their main teacher.

 

Does this mean that I cannot write humor anymore? Well no, I can make fun of myself and silly circumstances that happen. Because life is funny – and if we cannot laugh I believe the world would be a very depressing place. But I won’t call making fun of my kids in a disrespectful way, humor. Ever. And maybe that’s why I’ve been so serious on this blog for a few weeks as I have internalized my struggle.

 

In the meantime I’m going to prioritize good things that make me happy while at the same time being the best mom that I can be because truthfully I want my kids to be proud of my footprint – as a mother and a woman.

 

This doesn’t mean we have to just focus on the happy and the good things. It just means that the hard times can really seem quite insignificant when I look at the bigger picture. That’s what I try to teach my kids each day. Life is hard but let’s use our time wisely to lift one another up and laugh with each other. What an opportunity that is. Instead of taking that moment on Facebook to complain about another long day of hard things, what if we took that moment to write to a friend to let them know how amazing they are. We all need a happier inbox.

 

And we will never strive for perfection. We will just strive for a little more happy. For everyone.

 

About Tracy


My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at tracy@sellabitmum.com

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Comments

  1. AngieN24 says

    Tracy you rock. I hardly ever comment but I always read your blog and I just want you to know that you are an awesome mother. Your girls rock, too and that should make you so proud (as I’m sure you are). Just wanted to pop out of hiding and send you a cyber hug.
    Take care and have a great day!
    Angie

  2. says

    Yes, yes! All this. I’ve been thinking the same – the balancing act of wanting my blog to be the place where my boys can look back and think, wow, my mom wrote all this down for us, the good, the bad, the easy, the hard, and that she really loves us – and that of writing for an audience (you know what I think about that).

    You know I love coming here, reading your words, KNOWING that you’re an amazing mother, that your children know that and love you. Even when you’re serious.

    Striving for happy is good. Striving for happy is really what it’s all about.

    xoxoxo
    Alison recently posted..Tasty Thursday: Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

  3. says

    Here’s to more happy 🙂 I want my kids to know it’s hard but more worth it than anything. That one tiny hug can erase eight hours of whining and miscommunication. That when they are big and making their own ways in the world I will cry and miss the painful moments, too.
    angela recently posted..Lies and Egyptian Cotton

  4. says

    I am still in that same place and I have to admit, I am sad a lot as I read stories online that exist in my own life, but that I can’t or won’t share. The line is so tough to determine, and mine is becoming very clear. Like you, I want to be real and be honest. I am with you, it doesn’t need to look easy, but it needs to be happy and full of love.

    There is so much pain and suffering and real grief that I can’t really complain of early mornings and dirty diapers without some humor because it is a part of motherhood, and motherhood is a dream come true. It makes me all kinds of happy to be a mom.

    I think we all know the struggle between sharing a funny story and over sharing what could be an embarrassing moment or a part of our hearts that might hurt our children when they are older.

    I think you have a lovely balance and I always love the heart that you show us when you write.

    xoxo
    Brittany recently posted..I Chose to Put My Phone Down

  5. says

    beautiful

    We’re a blended family. My three daughter shave been affected by divorce, and many other things regular, “normal” nuclear families haven’t been. I tweet, facebook, and personal blog in PG or PG 13. My fiction is my “art” and my kids wouldn’t read it anyway. I protect it anyway, but I don’t have to.

    I’m so glad you;re striving for happy
    Lance recently posted..Crazy Train

  6. says

    Love this. Yes, I think about that. And I’m fairly careful about what I say, especially on the blog. But you’re exactly right. Motherhood is full of so many emotions and experiences, and it’s almost never easy. We just have to give our best and forgive the lesser moments…because those are just moments. xo

  7. says

    Striving for happy is always good. You are right – parenting is not easy and all that advice we have given – not once but many times:) Humor gets us through those tough times. Respect is what we hope we have earned. In the meantime – Love thy self also:) Good writing by the way.

  8. says

    My dear friend, I think this may be my favorite post of yours yet. So honest, and gentle, and beautiful. I am starting to see the end of my days as a mom with a child at home, and I am at the stage where I am wondering if I have done enough. Did I teach him everything he needs to know to go out in the world? Can I fit it all in before he walks out the door?

    YOU are a lifter-upper, and you are leaving the most incredibly wonderful legacy for your children. Keep writing; the funny and the real and the sweet.

    hugs!
    maybaby recently posted..time flies, birthday chronicles

    • says

      We loved reading your own suibmt. I’ve reached be honest had been the very first content material in your website I truly liked and exactly where I’d a sense of knowing, know what I am talking about? Anyway, keep up with the posting and I will be back once again.

  9. says

    I’m convinced that though it takes work, and determination, sometimes therapy and medication, but the decision to try and work for happy is one that changes so many lives.

    We can’t be complacent and let the fatigue/depression/anxiety/overwhelming/ win.

    We have to armor up, and realize: we’re going into battle. For me, it’s to give them what I didn’t have and what I still wish for: love, pure and true and without a doubt: LOVE.

    Amazing post, woman. So amazing.
    Alexandra recently posted..ICYMI

  10. says

    Yes. I love this.

    I have drawn the line here, when writing about my daughter on the blog I will share cute, happy, nice things, but I won’t share her struggles (they are hers) or use her for a cheap laugh. It hurts my heart when I see bloggers write things about their children for a laugh that will almost certainly cause hurt feelings later.
    Tracie recently posted..Half A Thanksgiving

  11. says

    Beautiful post. One that your children will read one day and be full of pride and happiness that you are their Mom. I love how you keep it “real”. My kids see all of me and I like them to see that I am so far from perfect but I am real and I can say I’m sorry. That making mistakes is ok. We are only human after all. I believe our children are better for knowing us for what we truly are rather than pretending and sugarcoating life. Striving for happiness is the only way. There is nothing perfect about perfection. Akuna Matata… don’t worry, be happy:)
    Anne recently posted..Colorful chaos!

  12. says

    Great post. I definitely have a line I won’t cross about my son on my blog. It’s hard to figure out where the boundaries are, but it’s necessary to figure it out. There are a lot of stories I would love to share, but I won’t because I don’t think they are mine to share. And cheap laughs…never. It’s easy to blow off steam on social media, but I try never, ever to be mean.
    KeAnne recently posted..Lazy Fall Weekend

  13. says

    so lovely and true. I came down very hard on molly this morning for complaining about a new coat. she’s 5 and doesn’t completely understand why I got so upset with her of course.

    You captured though a great deal of what was behind my losing it when she complained the collar was itchy…

    sometimes in my effort to help them be grateful and positive, I make them feel worse though… so much to learn.

    xoxo
    wendy @ mama one to three recently posted..What Will They Remember?

    • admin says

      I’ve deleted a few of those posts that I’ve written because I did a gut-check and just could not hit publish. I can’t go there. Off to check off the smile epidemic. Thank you!

  14. says

    One of my self-imposed blogging rules is that I won’t post anything that could embarrass or hurt my daughter later in life when she’s old enough to read my words (and, oh, how I hope she will, for she is the inspiration behind them, always). Sometimes that means passing on what would be a damn funny, page view-generating story. But it doesn’t mean that I’ll only focus on the puppies and rainbows side of motherhood, sugarcoating and glossing over its challenges. It just means that I have to look for other ways to present those aspects of parenthood – usually with a self-deprecating spin. It’s my way of capturing both sides of myself – the funny and the serious – while hopefully remaining authentic at the same time. And this is something you do as well, my friend. Know that.

    Wine at 5pm sounds good.
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..Friday Tapas: The Green Cheese Edition

    • admin says

      You do this so well. I love your words – the funny and the serious. Oh and I like your boobs. xo

    • admin says

      Thank you Amanda. Okay – next time I write something like this the title will be “People Stop Your Whinin’!!!” Love you. xo

  15. says

    I’d just like to chime in to say your words, your internal and shared struggles, I appreciate who YOU are and your writing is incredible. That’s all. That’s all I’m chiming.

    (huge smooch)
    MommaKiss recently posted..Come FLY with me

  16. says

    I <3 this post, Tracy.

    I find it amazing to know that each picture I have of my grandfather is cherished, each picture of my great-grandfather nearly non-existent, and yet my kids will grow up in a world where they've been photographed each & every day of their lives (well, maybe not every day . . . sometimes, I'm the only one with them, and sometimes I'm slow to pull out the camera).

    Not only will my kids be able to track their lives through pictures, but through my words (which don't come nearly as often as they should), and I really, really hope they manage to see how loved they are . . . because even when parenthood sucks (and it does – a lot, sometimes), those kids are still pretty gosh-darn lovable.

    And I hope my kids do go back & see their history through pictures & words . . . because, yeah, I'm not sugarcoating. Fine, maybe diaper shrapnel is a bit of an exaggeration, but a minor one, at best.
    John recently posted..Where I ponder if you’re pondering what I’m pondering

  17. says

    And I’m literally crying now Tracy. I’ve spent this entire day angry and sad and just irritated that my kids needed me and were talking and being there and couldn’t they just see that mommy is having a really bad day? And I felt so guilty every little snap because I just couldn’t snap out of it. And it’s so hard to look at the bigger picture sometimes, especially when the bigger picture is what’s hurting you in the first place. And I’ve restrained so much for writing a blog post yip yapping about it. But how do you know that line? What is acceptable to share and what’s too much? I don’t want my children (or anyone) to look back on me and think, “boy she was so negative and unhappy.” It just that is so much easier to share the sad sometimes than to revel in the good.
    Marta recently posted..Best Gifts for One and Two Year Olds

  18. says

    I hear what you are saying, I do. And please know that I share your desire to instill all the wonderful virtues you listed in my child. I know everyone has a different sense of humor, and I certainly hope my daughter grows up to share mine, but I also think I treat her on my blog with the utmost respect. She is a fascinating, beautiful, intelligent, fearless kid and I think it’s pretty obvious to anybody who reads my blog that I am totally in awe of her. I hope that one day, that will be apparent to her too.

    With everything I post, I think of her first. I think of what would be embarrassing to her and what pictures she wouldn’t want out there, etc. I know I walk a fine line, but it is something I think about with every post. And believe me, I’ve also held back on a few moments/pictures/opportunities because it wasn’t something I wanted her to see when she got older.

    I did think twice before doing my baby shaming post and ended up picking things to write on the pieces of paper that were universal to toddlers and not embarrassing to her personally. I made the same distinction when posting pics submitted by my readers.

    In the end, I believe that my site celebrates kids, though maybe not in typical fashion. If anything, I make fun of the parents (including myself of course) and everyone seems to take it in good fun. We all love our children and want whats best for them. But I also believe that being honest about the struggles of parenthood is incredibly valuable for both the writer and reader. Bloggers who approach parenthood with humor are not just trying to get cheap page views— they are trying to do a service to their community. With the risk that not everyone will always find them funny.
    Mommy Shorts recently posted..The Intruder in Our Bed

    • says

      Hey Ilana – Thank you thank you for your kind comment. I completely agree with you and love the way you honor your sweet girl on your blog. Humor is tough and amazing all at the same time and I would never question your love and respect for your daughter. You do it all so very well and I applaud you. Really. You’re an amazing writer, humorist, mom, etc..and I always enjoy visiting your blog and supporting you in your journey. I’m so honored you came over here today. xoxo

  19. says

    What a wonderful post. I missed it the first time around, but so glad I read it today. It’s SO important to keep that “footprint” in mind. I can’t help but think some people don’t consider that. I think there can definitely be tasteful humor that recognizes the difficult times, but it just isn’t always done that way.

    I loved this.
    Jenny recently posted..Like Bonnie and Clyde

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