What can Snow White teach me about Joy?
Last weekend I had a Mama fail moment. I’m not going to go into the gory details here but let’s just say that a serious lack of patience was involved and I’m not at all proud of how I behaved.
Which is such a shame as the Easter holidays ended this week and overall it was a lovely break. I managed to keep to my blog schedule by getting up at silly-o’clock while the littles were still asleep, unpacked most of our boxes and even got a headstart on ticking off some of my jobs list like hunting for the perfect anniversary quote for the husband’s card for our 11th wedding anniversary.
It has been trying at times to have two under six year olds squabbling, screaming, breaking things, moaning (“ooh Muuuum!”) and doing all the other endearing things that little people do 24×7 but we’ve also had so much fun hanging out at The Barn, playing in the garden and the playroom, baking uber-chocolaty delights and snuggling up in front of the fire watching movies.
I’m focusing on these lovely happy memories to get me through the mama guilt.
One of the little people’s, and my, favourite movies is Snow White. Ok, it doesn’t have the CGI pezaz of modern films but the storytelling is so charming, the animals endearing and the moral is a good one to learn. While we watched it again over the holidays I reflected on what she could teach me about everyday joy and making our new house a happy home.
Because I’ve slipped into bad habits. Bad habits that are a reaction to the little people being, well, just little people.
Snow White moved out of her home with nothing but the clothes on her back and made her new house a home through four simple things:
#1 Elbow grease
#3 Love (and the help of a few woodland creatures) and
#4 By whistling a happy tune.
I want to do the same.
I want The Barn to be a house full of laughter and light, sing alongs at the top of our voices, spinning around until we all fall down, dancing in the kitchen just because.
Of course it will also be full of tidying up, time spent on the naughty seat, occasional tears and making-up – that’s just family life after all – but I want happiness to be front and centre in my children’s lasting memories.
I’ve written before about being a shouty Mum and I don’t want the image of me yelling, my face contorted in frustration because the bathroom floor is flooded yet again, to be the face my children remember when they think of me.
This year, as I embarked on my Journey to Joy, to walk away from ingrained negativity and towards joy in the everyday, I gathered books together that spoke to me. They filled my mind full of beautiful truth, of the art of happiness.
But here’s the thing – words on a page that aren’t put into practise are not going to make me change.
Practise. Makes. Perfect.
Or in this case, practise makes happy. The kind of practise that you have to remind yourself to do every single day. The kind of practise that you falter, stumble and fall within. The kind of practise you cry through, fail through, dust yourself off and get back to.
After all, you reap what you sow, right?
I want my seeds to be kernels of calm, patience, kindness and love.
The path to hell is paved with good intentions, so the saying goes, and my plans to be less impatient, more understanding, less shouty and more go-with-the-flow always seem to go awry as I stumble back into my bad-habit potholes.
So at the moment, as well as reading back through my wonderful happiness bibles, making concrete plans, I’m also working through the uber practical Flourish Handbook by the amazing Cheryl Rickman and gazing lovingly at the gorgeous Daily Greatness Journal that I’m going to be using to put all these great words, ideas and plans into action.
I’ve also come across some great ways to create new habits like the paperclip process.
Of course there is always more to read about joy – I’ve got (thanks for the recommendation Renee) and waiting patiently for me to get to them in my office) but at the end of the day it’s putting these words of wisdom into ACTION that will put a whistle in my work and a happy tune in my children’s ears.
And I think Snow White would wholeheartedly agree with that.
Do you find that your path is paved with good intentions? How do you pick yourself up after you falter along the way? What tips do you have for being a less shouty mama? As always I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.