Happy Moms Happy Babies…May Be Easier Said Then Done

I believe everyone wants to be happy and we all believe we can be, but how?  We think if we can just get this done, or make this much more money, finish this degree, get married, have a baby, get a better job, stay at home…we will be happy.

Is it just me , or does it seem like as soon as I reach a goal, or make more money, have my children, or fulfill anything that I think will shift my life to happy, I still feel like I need something else to be happy.

With a long list of accomplishments and a never ending to do list where is the time to actually be happy?

I find it ironic that there are so many books and programs on raising happy, confident babies and children while the truth is, if we look at our children, they are a shining example of presence and happy.

As adults we have to think to stop, schedule the time in our hectic overbooked days to meditate, exercise, play a game, listen to music we love, dance, or simply to smell the flowers, look at the landscape, hear the animals and sounds in nature.  It also seems these events that bring us happiness and peace are the first to be cut when time becomes scarce.

When we look at our children, especially ages 0-10 we have to ask them to stop playing and having fun in order to eat, do their homework, take a bath or go to bed.  They are so present, reminding me to listen and look around as they randomly say look at that bird or squirrel or do you hear that coyote.  They are extremely aware of their surroundings, aware of their feelings, and know how to find their happiness quickly.

They may not always have the vocabulary to express themselves but they definitely show it by example.

I don’t know why, but I am still astonished when my 21 month old will say doggie arrf  arrf, or kitty meow meow when all I hear is people talking, cars driving by, and my mind racing about what I need to get done before the day is over.

My son has no problem expressing his feelings if he is frustrated, angry, happy, or scared.

And they both show me daily how they can switch from a tantrum to happiness within minutes with a shift of their mind, setting, laughter or physical movement.

Sadly, the simplicity of our children’s lives is shifting to the complex adult lives we live.  Whether it is rising early taking children to school, then to sports practice, the grocery store, or simply dragging our children around accomplishing our daily to do lists.  Their time to play, be in nature and be present is shrinking.

As much as I try to slow down my life in order to be present, take a breath, and appreciate the things my children do thoughtlessly, it is hard.  As soon as I think I will have 30 minute or an hour I find my self saying oh I am just going to finish this and pick up this and cook this and…before you know it, the sun has set, and the only thought I have is I can’t wait to put my head on the pillow.

As the primary example for my children I can’t help feeling as a failure at times as a mother. I am not living the example I want to be for my children.  Why can’t I live the life I dream?  Why can’t I show them being an adult can be fun, full of happiness, and peaceful?

I know there will always be trials and tribulations and I appreciate these.  I enjoy the idea that every fall on my path is just as important as every time I get back up and continue.  I know it is necessary to allow my children to see me fail and succeed, for them to know life is full of bumps that can be overcome, but it seems the time between bumps gets smaller and smaller and the bumps are becoming mounds.

Although I am conscious about recognizing and appreciating the learning experiences throughout the rolling hills I want a change.

With stress and depression on the rise for pregnant women and moms, our children are being directly affected.    Stressed moms are birthing stressed children.  The hormones that are released in stressed pregnant women go directly to the growing baby.  These hormones are known to prohibit growth and repair.  This means that the fetus’s body is under a state of fight or flight instead of growth and repair, not the most optimal situation for a rapidly developing fetus.  High levels of stress also are linked to miscarriage, preterm labor, low birth weight, increased risk of infection, and increased risk of emotional, behavioral and physical problems later in life.

It is known that babies born to depressed moms have a higher rate of suicide and depression, and other mood disorders.

As a mom, the stress only increases with the arrival of a new baby.  We are no longer solely responsible for ourselves, but for a helpless being who comes with a list of human needs that must be met.  As the baby matures into the tantrum toddler and testy individual he or she is. we are constantly challenged in finding our way in parenting.

Statistically stress and depression are on a rise for women, pregnant women, mothers, and children.  1 out of 8 women experience stress sometime in their lives and as many as every 1 in 33 children experience depression.

If we know happier moms create happier babies, why is it so difficult to find our happiness?

Can it be:

·      Work?

·      Relationships?

·      Self-image?

·      Death in the family?

·      Children?

·      Money?

·      The feeling of being poor?

·      Overwhelmed?

·      Not enough sleep?

·      Or a combination of these?

I feel the hardest part for me is I know all of this and I know what I can do to find happiness amongst the stress but navigating my way in the midst of the chaos is extremely challenging.

One of the best answers I can think of is having a support group of pregnant women and mommies who meet weekly, to remind us of our dreams, our desires, what makes us happy and these women keep us accountable to ourselves.  As a mom it seems I sacrifice my “self” time the most and this is the time I need the most.  Without my ability to recharge, reconnect with what is important to me, what makes me happy, and reflecting if I am spending enough time doing things that make me happy, I remain in a stressed unhappy place, desperately trying to “find” happiness.

In a perfect world we would not be detoured from participating in the things that brings us smiles and happiness and we would not need the help of others to keep ourselves accountable to our own happiness.  This world is not existent in my current life but I believe this circle of women can be a critical piece to my happiness and the happiness of my relationships, family, and life.

I was once part of a women’s circle and I felt the support, I felt the happiness, I felt the freedom to express my fears, my joys, my tears, and laughter.  We knew we were all experiencing our own personal chaos as well as the societal chaos and we were there to work through it together, with the vision of fun, laughter, happiness, and riding the waves with a feeling of dignity and power.

Writing this reminds me of the importance and need.  I was reminded by a good friend yesterday and invited to join a circle.  I can’t wait!

There are many different types of women’s circles.  To learn more please go to BeComing, a website and a documentary full of information on women’s circles and how to start your own!  There are also dream circles and other women’s circles to fit your personality.

Here are some videos: what women say about their women’s circles
http://youtu.be/r-b0TCblt-c
http://youtu.be/kdKm9K9EArI

Take a minute to watch the following trailer Happy, it helped me reflect on what really makes me happy!

http://youtu.be/YDkv6Mi8JrI

 

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