We must remember we are the example for our kids. We get to show them it is possible to find joy in the little things each day. If we want our kids to experience joy everyday,we get to go first! If we are struggling with joy in our homes, then it begins with us. We as the parent are the lid. If we are not experiencing joy, then it may be difficult for our kids as well. The good news is, we can change and go on a journey of discovering great joy in parenting. It may be uncomfortable if you’re not used to living this way, but trust me, it’s worth it! Lets fight for our joy so that we and our whole family can benefit!
If you are struggling with depression and/or anxiety, do not hesitate to reach out to a good counselor. I’m certain everyone at different times in their lives could use a good counselor to help them walk thru certain things. I know I have and it was absolutely worth every penny! It’s incredible how depression, anxiety, rage, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed can dramatically be healed as you tend to your soul with a compassionate counselor who can help you process thru these emotions. Most often it is not our children or our spouse that is the root of our triggered feelings, it’s unprocessed feelings from long ago yet they can get the brunt of the negative feelings that are triggered if left unattended too. Don’t let this be you. You are worth it and so is your family!
A few tips on inviting joy into your everyday life:
1 Decide that everyday is a good day, and train your children to think this way too! When my girls were very little, I would ask them when they would first wake up “What day is it today girls?” and they would respond by saying “It’s a good day, Mommy!”
2 Train yourself and your children to look for the good and the beautiful in everything and in everyone. Everyday we will have opportunities to focus on the negative AND the positive, the bad AND the good. Decide that what you are going to think about and talk about is going to be the positive, the beautiful and the good.
3 Choose to be thankful for all the little things throughout your day. It’s the green light that you made, the parking spot you found, the cup of coffee in the morning, the running water, the tiniest patch of blue sky through the clouds, etc. There is ALWAYS little things to be grateful for. Make it a game! When doing a task that needs to get done that would normally not be very fun such laundry, dishes, meals, cleaning or raking leaves or whatever – use that time to say out loud all the things you can think of that you’re grateful for. Or listen to an encouraging podcast or fun music. Make it enjoyable. I always tell my kids “Why would I ever choose to complain about something I get to do everyday for the rest of my life? That would be no fun!” I just decided long ago that I was going to enjoy these tasks!
4 Find out what fills up your soul and incorporate those things into your life. Do you need time with friends, alone time to process, a fun adventure, a date-night, a healthy creative outlet? What fills you up? As parents we give so much and it’s so important that we also fill ourselves back up so that we can be in a heathy state to be able to give. Are you in a position where you could budget in a little help here and there? I like to wake up early before my kids are awake to enjoy some coffee & reading & then get in a workout and shower before they are up.
5 Prep the day before for an overcoming, beautiful tomorrow. Put into practice little routines that help bring beauty and order to your life and that help contribute to feelings of joy. For example, clean up the kitchen the night before & set the table for breakfast so in the morning you can begin fresh. Prep your fridge with healthy snacks. Prep the coffee the night before. Throw in a load of laundry before getting into bed so it doesn’t build up for a whole weekend project.
6 Remember, your kids are your team. Train them and require of them age-appropriate chores. With some instruction and encouragement they can take a lot off of your plate and you can empower them with life-skills they will need to win in life. Empowering your children with a great work ethic is so good for them (and you!). It builds a confidence in them that they will need in life.
I asked my 4, 5, & 8 year old how they experience joy everyday and here were a few of their sweet answers:
1 Have a good attitude!
2 Sing while doing your chores
3 Make a choice to be happy
4 Enjoy sitting on your sidewalk
5 Make a picture in your mind of what you want an outcome to look like and keep working until the picture in your mind is real life
6 Enjoy your flowers
7 Relax in your backyard with a good book
8 Sharing makes you happy!
9 Enjoy your view
10 Listen to the birds singing outside
11 Go for a walk and enjoy the view and fresh air