Well, I’m certainly at a different place at the end of this month than I was at the beginning of the month, I’ll say that much.
I do think the resolutions I set out to follow were good for meeting their purpose (increasing the joy in my interactions with my kids). Although I didn’t take photos of them every day as I’d planned, I’ve got more pictures of them this month than I’ve had since my son was a newborn. Spending time with them just playing really seems to have become a habit. I forget that I’ve even done it, which I think shows that it’s part of my routine now. Not that I don’t enjoy it. On the contrary, I think it’s done a great deal to increase my joy in being a mother.
I think that, as far as the impact on my joy with my children is concerned, the time spent playing with them just about ties with the awareness of their cuteness. I’m pretty sporadic about recording their cuteness, but I find that I make a mental note of it when it happens, which helps put me in a loving, happy frame of mind, which helps me enjoy them more than I otherwise would, were I not so aware (which is nice always, but especially helpful when they’re being not-so-cute).
I started out today in a bad mood. I was feeling stressed about the job situation and about apparent differences in my husband’s expectations for his between-jobs time and my expectations for his between-jobs time. I wasn’t happy that I had to take both children to my daughter’s flute lesson when I’d been hoping to have it just be me and my daughter. But on the trip there and back, I focussed on being aware of their cuteness, and it really helped me feel happier.
On the way back, this is what I observed from the front seat:
My daughter sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” My son sat in his seat gazing at his sister and smiling. When she finished singing, he, still smiling, said and signed, “More.”
My daughter sang “Rockabye Baby” and got the same reaction from my son.
My daughter sang “Lullaby” by Schubert, which she’s been practicing on her flute for a performance next weekend and to which my son listened with similar rapt attention. When he said, “more” this time, my daughter asked me for help thinking of songs.
All the way home, she would sing, and he would ask for more.
It’s trite to say, but I found the experience absolutely precious.
In a way, I think March epitomized just what I’m trying for with this project: I didn’t follow my resolutions perfectly, I wasn’t always happy, sometimes I yelled. But I developed skills to help me feel happier overall, and I really did enjoy my children more. I wonder if I really am shifting my baseline towards a more happy self.
Tomorrow begins Friendship Month. I’m almost looking forward to it now.