happiness tracking

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I've been mentally/emotionally struggling the past few weeks* because it's that time of the year again when I tend to overbook myself (even more so than most of the year).  Spring is my 'gear up' for the mayhem that summer brings, and by mayhem I mean our summer weekends get booked up solid before we even head into June.  Which is both overwhelming and exciting.  I sort of thrive on chaos and I love all the experiences and fun we get out of all of our commitments - but that doesn't mean that sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.  Actually, with three babies, it's less of 'sometimes' and more of 'most times' that I'm gasping for air.

Because I have an addiction to self-reflection (hah), I wanted to be accountable for my self-induced stress.  So, in an effort to sort myself out, I've been tracking  my days as to what constitutes a 'good day' in my planner for the past two weeks.  Its with the hope of shedding some light on how I can be more proactive at helping to make each day be a 'good day.'

My days have fluctuated between two and five star days over the past two weeks and there are some obvious reasons as to why some days are better than others.  Five and four star days happen more when Brandon is off that day or if it was a day that had grown up time for me (playdate with my best friend and her kids, a sleepover with my sisters).  So, having time to talk to a grown up human appears to contribute to my general happiness.  #sahmprobs

By far the biggest (at least it appears) contributing factor is the morning and whether or not I get time to get my day started as just a human, not necessarily as a mom.  That sounds awful, but the impact my day has if I can get up, fully wake up (!), make coffee, make Brandon's lunch for work, and clean up the kitchen a little bit - is profound.  I've been trying (not that successfully) to get up early enough to do all of that AND add in enough time to do a little something for myself (exercise? write?) too.  Baby steps over here, friends.  Baby steps.

There also seems to be some trends in my day to day life that contribute to three and a half to four star days:

the weather:  sunny days and warm days are always rated higher because just the light makes me feel more productive and motivated.  Plus, the kids and I can spend a big part of our day outside.  this is worrisome because I have no control over this.

creativity outlet:  I feel much better when I get a chance to do something creative like write a blog post, read a little for leisure, or work on our family yearbooks.  Even if it's only for a half hour, it feels like I've done a little something for my own guts and I feel recharged.

exercise:  this is not rocket science.  everyone knows this to be true.  On days that I get to take Bullet and myself for a run it does double boosting.  I feel good and energized and also Bullet gets the exercise he needs.

Hanging-over-my-head To do List item:  I have a standard chore list in place (laundry, bathrooms, etc) but there are always tasks that get pushed to the back because they are annoying or tedious to do and I just don't feel like it and the world won't come crashing down if I just leave it for another day.  On days that I just jump in and tackle those items, I feel powerful and proud and the day gets rated higher because I removed some of the guilt load I've been carrying around.

No distractions family time:  even if it's just sitting and reading a book with the kids for fifteen minutes it counts.  We had dinner outside on the patio one night followed by playing baseball in the yard, we all worked as a family in the yard one afternoon getting our flowerbeds cleared out, and the kids and I all sat up in the playroom laughing while Violet tried to talk to us with her silly little baby babble.  These brief moments remind me about that the kids are little and they still want me around and as a stay-at-home-Mum I have the blessing to be able to do that throughout the day.

Limited cell phone screen time:  ack.  I'm not horrible at this, but I'm not as good as I want to be either.  The struggle is always (as I've written a thousand times before) that if my phone is within view, the temptation to mindless scroll is strong.  But if I leave it out of sight, it's easily hours before I think to look at it at all.  I'm working on this, but sometimes the days can be long and boring and I can't reel myself in from looking for a distraction.

The problem now is figuring out how to get enough of my good day boosters (above) in each day so that I can feel productive, happy, and recharged.  I'm trying to juggle with the fact that all days are not going to be able to include all of these (::gulp:: any of these) but I feel a little better at least having an idea of what it is that I need to boost a day.

I'm also working on trying to extend some grace to myself and 'be okay' with chalking some days up to crap days.  Ya know the ones where the kids won't stop arguing and teasing each other - or those days that I get so clumsy I drop nearly everything I touch.  Some days are going to be a pain because life and I want to be able to just be a friend to myself, get myself a beer, and say - okay, we're going to try this again tomorrow.

*I just want to publicly acknowledge quick:  #firstworldproblems
that is all.


  1. So interesting! I feel like my days are rated higher when I've gotten exercise in (always a priority), done something "fun" for myself (even 10 minutes is enough) and the kids have slept well the night before. On bad sleep days, they tend to be cranky and fight more and that causes me to stress and get all crazy-eyed, hah! But some days are like that, right?

    1. Hahhha. Crazy eyed momma is a real thing. I've been her....too many times. Hahha cracking up!

  2. It makes me a better mama to wake up before the boy. *Insert fist bump emoji*

    1. Fist bump to you my friend. Let's pretend we are quietly having coffee together in the mornings by ourselves then while out babies sleep. (I wish that was real life)

  3. I so hear you, my friend. In my happiness research, I have read that the goal should be five good days a week. That sounds sorta depressing, like "Hey, plan on two crappy days each week"... but to me, it felt like permission to say to myself, "That's okay. This is just one of the two days this week that are going to suck. And that's alright!"

    1. Yes! I love that. You just inspired me to look back at my weeks and actually I'm not doing too bad if on average it's about five days a week! I am glad we are friends. Xxoxox

  4. I loved this. So true. The things you mentioned are so helpful - exercise, doing something creative like writing a blog post, etc. getting outside. We HAVE to take care of ourselves in order to not totally burn out and end up depleted, which happened to me a few weeks ago. It was NOT pretty, let me tell you.