Act the way you want to feel

Have you already heard about the Happiness Project? Gretchen Rubin took a year to test drive every happiness principle, tip, theory, and scientific study to try to see if any of them really worked. In her memoir (now available for pre-order) and blog, she goes into great detail about how each experiment fared in her life. Among all her tips, this one rose to the top twelve for her and the top one for me: Act as I would feel.

In the first couple dark weeks months of life with a new baby, joy is mixed with shock and awe is often tinged with sadness. I know (in each case) that around the four-month mark, just as I was getting the hang of things, I also pronounced to my husband, “this kid is sucking the life out of me.”

That was, to put it mildly, not how I wanted to feel.

So, how do I put this great advice into play? Each day when I am about to walk into the preschool and pick up my little guys, I stop, take a deep breath, and remind myself of how happy I am to see them. I ask: what kind of mom do I want to be: short-tempered and screaming or patient and fun-loving? It doesn’t always work (believe me!!) but I am much more likely to be good-humored when they act all crazy with this small shift in attitude.

It doesn’t just have to apply to your kids. The next time you’re at a playground, try to be more friendly (to those cliquish moms) rather than afraid or aloof. If it feels like your husband is not doing his share of the work around the house, try to be extra affectionate toward him to improve your mood. Let us know how it goes!

Related activities:
Banish Mommy Guilt
Bust out the bubble wrap (for toddlers OR pissed-off new moms!)