How to be happy? 

I’m a pessimist by default, and you’ve probably already noticed that by my recent blog posts.  

I live on the edge of “happy” and “unhappy” and it only takes one or two things to push me into the dark. Things like, sickness or being run down, but lately it’s been sleep deprivation due to my daughter being sick. AGAIN. 

I pretty much struggle with my pessimism and anxiety at all times. Some days and weeks are easier than others, like I don’t even notice it. But eventually, my little dark cloud comes back and I have to actively seek the good in life. I started to wonder how the hell I could be having such a hard time when my husband, who was living the same life, was seemingly immune to it! 

It was around about that time, that I started to watch the doco series “Why am I?”.  I mainly started watching because I’d heard a bit about it a while back, and curiosity got the better of me. I’ve got a BSc and I love a good scientific study but it also turned out to be the missing piece in my chain of thinking about happiness… The series is about the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, and although I already knew that genetics AND life experience can shape a human being, I had never applied that thinking to myself. 

If my genetics are unchangeable, what then about my environment? What about my attitude? What about my outlook on life? 

I asked my husband one night if he chose to be happy, or if he just was (thinking he’d say it was the latter) but he said it was definitely a choice. That, although it wasn’t always a conscious effort he had to make each and every day, it was all the same something he knew he had control over. That conversation was amazing for me, it was like finally realising that I didn’t have to be unhappy or “neutral” by default. I could be happy a lot more than I currently was. I had the power. 

So I started to research and read, like I love to do, about happiness and I went down this super trippy rabbit hole of learning how to rewire your brain for happiness, and there are four little things at the bottom of this article that I’ve been trying to do everyday, or as often as possible. 

I also realised that all the HuffPo etc articles on happiness told me one thing: I already had some of the tools and skills to work on my happiness, I’d just forgotten about them. 

Things like getting outside, exercising, spending my time on experiences rather than things, slooooowing down (which I still hate to do), and taking a deep fucking breath every once in a goddamn while. Geez, I get so freakin down on myself in my secure little world, and I only really have first world problems. 
Wanna know a big key in my goal to finding peace? Getting some freakin perspective on my life. 

Like for example, accepting that I have hard stuff I have to deal with, and my own weird chemical imbalances I have to get past, but overall my challenges are nothing compared to many others. I really need to stop all the angst about my “stuff”, make a plan to change what I can (like keeping up with my self care) and accept what I can’t. 

After all, that’s what life is like, right? Accepting the hard, the exhaustion, the pain and seeking the good, the energising, the love? 

“(Life is) about doing the things that feel right without worrying about the eventual outcome; real or imagined.” – Shannon Mackey, my husband, my happiness idol

Being organised is my happy place

Sorry mama’s, I’ve had a whole lot going on in my personal life lately and the bloggity blog got kicked to the kerb, but I’m back and have a few ideas swimming around to talk about.

Moving on…. Let’s talk about organisation, since I’m a Type A, clutter hater.

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The selfish mama

It’s true what they say: when you become a parent you give up selfishness and trade it in for selflessness.  But it took me a LONG time to figure out that you can’t fill anyone else’s cup while yours is empty. You gotta put yourself on that priority list. Before the washing. Before the dishes. But after food though… Part of looking after yourself is keeping fed and watered.
Taking care of myself has started to become a little nagging thought that’s been getting louder until I can’t ignore it anymore, so of course, I started to do something about it.

The first step was finding something for me. I joined a Magnetic Hub group as the commitment is not too cumbersome. It really is an amazing thing to be a part of if you live in the Waikato region.
Second step was to have some weekly scheduled “me” time. So I go to the gym at least once a week, but I also have a Netflix date with my iPad once a week while hubby watches the rugby, and I’m re-reading a book on toddler discipline because I first read it 6 months ago and I need a refresher. Reading a parenting book can sound bloody boring but I love the authors writing style  and her parenting techniques make me feel like a confident and competent mother, even if for only an hour or so after I’ve put the book down.

I’ve scheduled three different beauty treatments in the last two months which is more than I’ve had done in the 18 months beforehand. lol. I think I’m finally getting there!

One thing I’ve felt guilty about is having my time split so heavily on the “work” side of my life and less so on the “family” side. I was fearful that by also insisting on “me” time, I’d only be chipping into my family time so I’ve been trying to schedule stuff while M is asleep, like TV or reading time, and scheduling appointments during lunch breaks, like a quick eyebrow shape, or nails, or a 30min mini gym class. I’ve also been getting nighttime haircuts for after M is in bed.
I’m telling all these trivial details because my insight from this whole process is that I was so worried that taking time for myself meant I was somehow being selfish. That having some things in life just for me was somehow indulgent and wrong to the point that I had to justify myself and fit things in so I didn’t compromise anything else in my life.
But that’s the problem with impulsive guilt: I ended up becoming a better mother for all that selfishness. 

I feel refreshed and ready to handle a tantrum when I’ve just come back from the gym. I feel energised to cope with piles of washing and stacks of dishes once I’ve been out for a quick coffee. I’ve even realised that after a break I’m calmer. Slower. More mindful and patient. Instead of rushing through all the enraging household tasks I use them to involve Mackenzie – on the weekend, she arranged a pile of her clean socks for me while I folded the rest and she was quiet, interested and calm, then excited when I remarked on what a great job she’d done!

Without having space to be apart from her I’d not have had the mental clarity to notice an opportunity to show her a new skill and contribute to a task, rather then just ignore her pleads for attention and huff about how annoying my life is.
So take a lesson out of my angsty life and put yourself first, for at least some part of each day. You might just be a better mother, and a better person for it!
Areta 💖

You are what you think…

I will never forget her… The nurse who scrunched up her nose, rolled her eyes and told me it was “not ideal to cuddle your baby, or look them in the eye when they wake at night”.  It really hurt that to her, my instincts were wrong, and as a new mum I believed her. I believed her words over my own inner voice. I believed that she was right and I was wrong and OMG I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO AND THIS IS JUST GOING TO GET HARDER AND HARDER AND I JUST KNOW MY KID WILL NEVER EVER SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT, OR BE EASY TO RAISE.  Continue reading

Sleep… Glorious sleep

Sleep is my god.


I worship it, I reach out for it and I feel confused and lost when, despite praying to the sleep gods, I can’t achieve it. Now I try to live by all the sleep “rules” in the hope that it’ll be my time. That I’ll go to sleep heaven.

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