Monday, May 10, 2010

The secret to having the best of everything

It's true, I can tell you the secret to having the best of everything. Actually, there are two parts to this secret:

Lower your expectations. Be happy with what you have.

Easy huh? Bet you already knew this.

Me too. But actually it's taken me a while to really get the knack of it, and I'm not sure I'm there yet.

But I can tell you I've had the best Mother's Day this year and a big reason is because I did just this.

In the lead-up I was already mentally preparing myself to see the day as an opportunity to hang out with my own mum, and mother-in-law, and make them happy by taking the kids over. The kids would have fun too, as they love visiting their grandparents.

In the past I've seen it as a pain having to drag the kids from place to place in order to make our mothers happy and all I would get at the end of it were three overtired, screaming, bratty children. Happy Mothers' Day, yeah.

Well, I was going to see the positive side this time. Because as Brenda at MummyTime quipped recently, being negative "is just too damn depressing".

I had no expectations for anything for myself, apart from a small gift coming from my eldest daughter's school Mothers' Day stall (which I had paid for), and a painting from my 4-year-old that she had done at preschool.

I just reminded my husband that the girls would be wanting to make breakfast for me as that's what the teachers at school had been telling them to do. I wouldn't be getting a lie-in, as my two-year-old always wants me up at the crack of dawn. I imagined he'd let them butter my toast and make my tea.

So I thought Mothers' Day would be pretty much like most of our Sundays, and I love those so I was going to be happy either way.

Well, in the end I got quite pampered with lovely lie-in, breakfast in bed, flowers, drawings, cards, and a number of gifts (including make-up, jewellery and a nice tablecloth).

I still don't know how my husband kept three excited children under seven quiet while they helped him heat my croissant, mix berries into yoghurt and museli, make my coffee, pour my juice, write a card and arrange flowers on my plate. While I was waiting, I fell back to sleep. Unexpected bliss.

I didn't have to prepare any meals for anyone, bath the kids, or do any of my regular daily tasks. I drank half a glass of wine in the autumn sunshine while watching the girls learn to play cricket from their uncle, and they were so tired by days' end that they all fell asleep early.

It was a total day off, and much more than I was expecting. It was the best!

This is a much better way of being, for me at least. I didn't even want to read about what other mums were doing on Sunday (sorry bloggy mother friends).

I have to be careful of falling back into the temptation of comparing myself to others, comparing what I've got generally to what the people in my suburb, or among my friends have, etc.

Because even if I could count my blessings comparatively one day, on the very next I'd see that someone else has it much easier, better, or more exciting, than me. And then I'd be dissatisfied with my lot. And then guilty because I felt ungrateful for what I have, and mean for not being happy for others.

And that angsty, guilty, jealousy, disappointy feeling - well, I've just had enough of it thank you. No more for me. While I have the option of choosing happiness you bet that's what I'm going to take.

Image: Flowers from my lovely ones, picked from the garden. And an extra treat I claimed for myself!

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  1. Lovely. On every level, I am nodding and smiling.

  2. What a lovely Mother's Day you had! Mine was nothing like that (ha! I'm comparing!) But, I was blessed to spend it with my husband (who's been away for 2 weeks) and my beautiful children, and I got to have a nap in the afternoon (which rarely happens). I know how easy it is to get bogged down with all those negative thoughts too. It IS a choice - and yes, happiness is so much nicer :)

  3. Such a great post! And what a loving family you have. Happy belated mother's day!

  4. Sounds absolutely wonderful! Yes, it may not sound too exciting, but I totally believe that happiness lies in small contentedness.

  5. Yes, we choose Happiness!!!

    Happy Belated Mama's Day, lovely one.xoxoxo

  6. Thanks guys, for all your comments. I'm really honoured to have you come by here and actually read my ramblings - much less comment!


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