a recipe for making happiness (maybe)

jillianfrom (in)Able’s Jillian Swanson
Most of the time, I stamp myself with the “epic fail” label.  And if I were to place bets, I am not the only one.Most of the time, life is a disaster.  My home is a giant mess.  Every nook and cranny covered with the trappings of life itself.
My head is in need of emergency disaster relief.I use the scary mommy voice WAY TOO MUCH.  I rarely play with my kids.  I can’t keep up with my household duties.  My budget is in disarray.  I can’t find the courage to find a new home for my dear cat who sleeps with me at night, but is so obviously stressed and unhappy.  Dinner is always late, and as of late, a complete fiasco as I try to figure out what to feed an allergic child.  I am sleep deprived and not remembering to feed my own body.  I am lucky if I make it into the shower more than twice a week–something I swore I would never do as a mom.
I am barely meeting my children’s needs.
My husband’s needs.  
My own needs.  The lucky me who is blessed enough to stay at home with my babies, fails every day at the job God gave me.  And I am so very aware of my failings as a parent.

Certainly not a recipe for happiness.

But, maybe it is…

My loving, sweet first born AJ, is super observant, sensitive, and reactive to household energy shifts.  And now that he is entering into the fours, and perfecting his terrorist tendencies, he is a regular receiver of my frustrations.  The other day after a particularly hard day, he turns to me, pats my leg in a comforting gesture, and says,
“Mom, you make me happy.”

How is that even possible?

I looked around the room.  Nope, still a mess.  Momma’s in pj’s with yucky hair.  Two of three kids are diaper naked (only in diapers.). Dinner was a leftovers free for all. I had commandeered the TV in an effort to wash away the massive rock of guilt sitting on my shoulders.  I had spent the better part of the day pseudo-yelling at the lovely beasties for any number of infractions.  I could have gladly taken Oscar’s garbage can and taken his place as resident crab on Sesame Street.

And this makes him happy?

A few days after that, I started this blog, after a morning of feeling like I was being bodily dragged to the computer.  And I started thinking about his comment to me.

I talk to him.  When the days are bad, I am honest with him about why, about how momma feels and why.  That it’s not his fault.  In my anger, I almost always keep gentle hands, so that even in the swirl of chaos and raised voices, he feels my gentle touch and still feels loved.

And what I do well, I do really well.
I rock the cuddling thing.
I say “I love you” in some form, constantly.
I am a great tickle monster.
I work hard on praising the good things he does and reminding him how proud I am of him.

And regardless of my panic and frustration with daily failures, his basic needs are met, and then some.  He’s fed, clothed, and in a warm house.  He has an over abundance of toys.  He sees his friends at school and receives the therapy he needs to grow.  He knows his parent love him and sees and hears how hard we work for him.  He loves his brothers and receives their love purely.  We fight for him and that which he deserves.We try to be there for him in his mess.etc…..

He doesn’t see my failures.  He sees and feels my love for him as it pours off of me in my tears for failing him.

And for him, that is enough.

The recipe for happiness.

And I spend every moment now convincing myself that’s enough for me.  Rewiring my mind and opening my eyes open wider to see the minute miracles mixed in the wearying day to day battles, and reminding my heart to accept the teeny, tiny, micro-sized blessings that float in the air around my own mess and take them into my soul.

To quiet my sadness and find the hidden joy.

My sweet, beautiful, crazy smart, broken little boys make me so happy with their little arms and hands holding me.  With their little voices and little hearts loving me.

All this given to me simply because I love them.

For now, it will be enough for me.
That is of course, after I silence the nasty enemy voices in my head… :o)

Care to join me?

with much love,



3 thoughts on “a recipe for making happiness (maybe)

  1. Jill, you have me in tears, what you are going through is exactly what I am going through and how you feel is how I feel. I know that you as my sister we can get through this together with each others life changing moments. You definitely inspired me. I love you so much and I am so proud of you. I know first hand you are a great caring mother because you helped raise me.

  2. wow! it’s been one of those days all week…and then despite how we feel about ourselves, God uses our children (the ones we are most guilt ridden about) to say, ‘I love you.’ To break through our crusty shell and remind us what he really thinks…Thank you for sharing and blessing our Mama hearts 🙂

  3. Jillian – I love this post. Hard. And you, even harder. Being a “good enough mom” is sometimes all we can do – until our Precious Jesus reminds us of all the things we ARE doing right. Linking arms with you and stomping our heels on that ol’ enemy’s head. Thank you GOD for this sweet child’s murmured reassurances to Jillian!

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