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Posted in Journey to Joy, Life, Parenting | 32 comments

What can Snow White teach me about Joy?

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.

Little man in the playroom

On the the swing together

Blossom in the garden

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

#2 Patience

#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.

Rough n tumble play!

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?

You reap what you sow

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.

Flourish Handbook and Daily Greatness Journal

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.

Linking up with Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum, Share With Me at Let’s Talk Mommy, The List at Mums Days, Post Comment Love at Verily Victoria Vocalises, The Big Fat Link Up at The Dads Network


  1. I admire your honesty. I am ashamed to also admit that I can get quite shouty and lose my patience all to quickly but it’s reading posts like yours and from other great bloggers that make me check myself. You have some really great tips and ones that I am going to try and follow especially patience! x #TheList
    Ting at My Travel Monkey recently posted…Tips On How To Survive A Long Plane Journey With A Toddler

  2. This is a lovely post and one I can really relate to. I hate shouting but sometimes the frustration just builds. I want my boys to think of me as a mum that dances round the kitchen with them (we had a big dancing session only today!) rather than one that shouts. I try to take every day as it comes and not to beat myself up too much if I can’t quite be snow white every day. xx
    Maddy recently posted…achieving dreams – #WhatImWriting

  3. I like the idea of learning from Snow White – I can definitely go with the ‘sing a happy tune’ bit but I am not so good at the elbow grease and hard work!
    #the big fat linky of the week.

  4. Ahh this is beautiful Michelle. I can completely relate to you and I am the worse shouty mommy ever I hate it but it’s hard with two under three and the crazy life schedules too to keep calm all the time. You are doing great and we all try our best. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    jenny recently posted…Spray on water resistant for smartphones + Giveaway

  5. Like you, I strive to surround myself (and therefore my family) with positive vibes and happiness. I love your quote though, “words on a page that aren’t put into practise are not going to make me change.” Indeed they are not, which is why I have been consciously (interesting word!) making more effort to meditate daily and also giving myself reiki daily. It really does make so much difference for me but only if I put the words into action…
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…‘V’ is for Vibration #AtoZChallenge

  6. I admire your honesty and determination to change so very much hon. As you know my hubby and I were shouting way too much before Xmas, since then we are so much more aware of it and do our best to stay calm. It’s not always easy, because our eldest is a real handful, but it’s so worth it. All hell has broken loose on the handful of times I’ve reverted back to being shouty mum!

    I’ve got a post planned for next week about becoming a better parent. I wasn’t going to publish it until the end of the week but I’ll publish on Monday and link it up to #sharethejoy.

    Ultimately most of us want the exact same thing – for our kids to grow up with happy memories of their childhood. Love your comparison to Snow White. We do a fair amount of singing and dancing around the kitchen, just coz too :)

    Hope you’re having a lovely weekend xx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Depression Awareness Week #BTBY

  7. I love this post. Sometimes it’s hard not to get mad. And I love the references to Snow White. So True!
    Sarah recently posted…

  8. Great post, I too am a shouty Mum, but its so hard isn’t it. not much time too much work and before you know it you have lost your patience. I am trying to take a step back and chill as it feel so much better doesn’t it x
    Sarah Christie recently posted…Win A Trip To Mauritius With Discover Mauritius

  9. I have been that shouty mum today and i feel awful about it too , i think i need to take some tips out of your book as i don’t want my children to remember me always nagging and shouting at them either x #sharewithme
    Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life recently posted…Slimming World – Week One

  10. Love this positive post, all the joy so clear in the photos and your determination not to be shouty and strive for happiness. I can be shouty but I’ve gotten kind to myself, life can be tough with kids but it’s about pushing to be the best you can but forgiving yourself when times inevitably are not easy. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts
    HonestMum recently posted…

  11. I too am shouty mum even though I try really hard not to especially as I work full time and don’t spend as much time as like with my daughter. I love this post It’s definitely made me re think the way I sometimes interact with my daughter #PoCoLo
    tracey bowden recently posted…

  12. I love this post…and I think Snow White would be ready to take a leaf out of your book too!
    Also love the photographs!
    MOMM recently posted…Swiss Roll Dessert…

  13. Love this post – good luck with becoming less shouty. It’s so hard sometimes not to constantly slip back into bad habits but I think if you’re determined enough you will definitely succeed. I’m trying to make more effort to get a little more sleep as it makes such a difference to my mood but getting out and about in the sunny weather is helping a lot at the moment too.
    Louise recently posted…Cousin relationships explained

  14. It is really difficult not to shout. I am needing something right now, as I’m struggling a little with everything. Lovely post and having watched Snow White so many times with little Miss it’s her favourite I can relate x
    Susan Mann recently posted…

  15. I think it is a truth that the happier you are in yourself, the less shouty you are. So look after yourself! Spend time on self-care. Get lots of sleep. It’s really hard, as mums, to put ourselves first, but if we do, everyone benefits.

  16. You are not alone! Shouty mothers are everywhere.

    My mother wasn’t shouty at all. I never remember her shouting. So I felt doubly guilty when I shouted at my kids (they’ve grown too old for it now). However, I have to say, I’m not sure it was a great preparation for life. I was rather bemused by people who lost their temper when I was a young adult. I took it all far too seriously, and couldn’t understand how someone could be really angry one day, and then friendly the next. I just used to retreat into myself. I worked as an au pair when I was 18 for a French woman with a dreadful temper. I found it weird and unsettling, and wondered what was wrong. So… although I don’t advocate shouting at children, I don’t think it does them as much harm as we feel, and I think the alternative can cocoon them a little too much.

  17. Hugs. Yes I can be a shouuty mummy as much as my intentions are to be patient, understanding and relaxed, I find myself snapping at my daughter being what she is, a six year old, who sometimes drops things or acts up!
    I think you do a wonderful job at looking at the positives and really are an amazing mum and woman in general!!
    Tinuke recently posted…Lambing at Home Farm

  18. First of all you are not alone…she stands and repeats *I am a shouty mum too*! It’s awful isn’t it, not at all how I thought I would be as a mum – pretty much the opposite actually!
    We keep trying though don’t we and that is what counts – I think that all the good parents are the ones who keep trying. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
    I know I shout less these days than I used to. I know that when I shout it’s more about me than them (them, being just children of course). I shout when I’m stressed out, when there’s too much to be done and not enough time.
    I’m going to keep trying.
    You’ve got some great ideas here, wishing you all the best. Finding joy definitely involves less shouting for me this year too!
    Great post!
    JoyandPops recently posted…Finding Joy – Focus On Parenting



  1. How to Flourish - begin each day with clear intentions - Bod for tea - […] have discovered so many wonderful books full of wisdom and inspiring words. But as I mentioned in this post …
  2. Share the Joy link up #16 - Bod for tea - […] week I’m sharing a post all about that Mama fail moment and how I’m moving forward by taking action and …

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