Becoming the Happiest Mom: The Kids are Alive!

My husband went out of town and left me with the boys and when he returned, the dishes were piled high in the sink and toys were scattered all over the house; he looked horrified. I felt judged so I said, "you should be happy that the kids are alive!".

"Aim Low and Go Slow" is the title of the second chapter of the Happiest Mom. The chapter advises moms to set realistic expectations - for you and everyone around you - and be patient with yourself and others.

Today, I am reminded of the following:

  • No 2 kids are the same. Sometimes the "terrific 2" starts at 2, sometimes it starts at 4 and sometimes it starts at 18 months and lasts until 5.
  • Set the bar high for things that really matter to you. For me, any safety issue is a high priority. I wouldn't chose more than 5 things because if everything is important nothing is important. Set it low for routine tasks, such as sending the kids to school with matching socks or getting a gift to the teacher everyday during teacher's week. I managed to get all 12 teachers a gift card at the end of the week and I am sure they were still appreciative of the gesture.
  • I am sad that my six year old has a cavity but it is not the end of the world - the tooth fairy will appear, a new tooth will replace this one and I will do better with the replacement.
  • So happy to hear that my child is not the first to have mooned someone.  I will apologize to our relatives at Thanksgiving for the next 12 years but when he turns 18, he can issue his own apologies.
  • Don't rush the kids into reaching milestones before they are ready. I can guarantee that the boys won't go to college in diapers.
  • For the past 5 years, I have been meaning to create a "first year" photo album for my now 6 year old. Apparently I am not the only mother with this unrealized goal.
  • In addition to my "to-do list", it is ok to have a "don't do" list and a "don't do ever" list. Awesome advice. Thanks Meagan!
  • I can have it all and do it all but just not in the same day or month or even the same year. I can happily live with that reality.
After several unsuccessful attempts at a family meal at a relatively nice restaurant, I have learned that "aiming low and going slow" means stick to restaurants that are super kid friendly. Why spend the entire dinner asking a 3 year old to be quiet or prying the knives from the baby's hands or diving to catch the glass that he is about to throw. 

At my bridal shower, my friend Gladis gave me the best advice. She said "lower your expectations and you will have a happy marriage." I think this is also good advice for raising kids because it allows us to be realistic with our expectations of ourselves, our kids and our spouses and every good thing that happens is a reason to celebrate.