happy-mama-movement-badgeWhy is it so hard? I was so gung-ho to join the Happy Mama Movement and then, just like a gym membership purchased on January 1 of whatever year, by mid-February it’s all about cakes and pies and no treadmill. In my case, though, I’m finding reasons not to be happy. First off, it’s scary as hell to be happy, to accept that happiness is there to stay. It’s scary because death and dismemberment clauses exist for a reason. And I know I just said last month that I was embracing happiness. I meant it. Why, then, now, just mere weeks later, am I giving Chicken Little a run for his falling sky money?

I am sighing.

Is it the wintriness of winter? Maybe. But, well, it’s winter. Even if the groundhog sees his shadow and declares six more weeks of winter, he’s really only declaring what the calendar already says. Technically, it’s still considered winter whether it magically reaches 70 in the middle of February (which it did last weekend).

Z climbs

Z slide

Maybe that’s what’s getting to me more. It’s not a full-on assault of winter only. We get these snippets of sunshine and warmth and teens in the mall in crop tops and booty shorts WHERE IS YOUR MAMA and then more snow.

The way I felt last weekend in that sun deserved me to stop and recognize its power. It was transformative, the ease with which I laughed and played and slid down that absolutely fantastic slide. It lasted all day and night, ending in cookies and yes to more computer time and sure to all the books before bed. It ended with me being happy.

I know it’s probably not normal to expect to be joyous all the time, but the rate with which I tend to be unhappy about random things is spiraling into a bad place. And it’s covered in snow. Yet, I don’t want to blame my happiness seesaw on winter. It’s not Snow Miser’s fault that winter exists and I live in a place that is not tropical. Besides, everyone else is complaining about the weather. I need to be original with my woe.

I know there are other things at play, things I have no control over (right now), that are affecting my overall level of happy. I’m not giving up on finding the ability to maintain feelings of joy, but I acknowledge my outlook on happy may need to be revised, tweaked. And probably I need a sun lamp. All I can do is wait out the things that are conspiring against me, as long as I know I’m doing all I can to combat them. I could use your hope that they end the way I need them to, too. Until then, I’m totally reverting to singing Barney in my head:





  1. says

    I’m struggling with the same kind of thing and I think it’s totally due to winter. It’s too damn cold and to have it be a grim chore every time you have to go outside gets to be awful. Spring will help, I’m sure.

    • says

      I don’t feel so badly, then, knowing others are grappling with the cold and dreariness. I know it’s winter. I keep telling myself that. But saying it and living it are two vastly different things. Saying it gives the impression that I’m OK with the constant hats and gloves and scarves and snow and cold and hunched shoulders. Living it is a steady rhythm of WHY ISN’T THE HEAT HOTTER.

  2. says

    OMG, I had escaped Barney for about 6 years now and he’s back in my head – thanks! ;)
    Go and buy that lamp and be happy!
    I know what you mean though – even though I don’t struggle with the weather as much (I guess I kind of signed up for that when we moved to Canada…), I do have feelings about happiness and joy. I used to hold myself back from feeling joy because I felt like if bad stuff happens I won’t be so disappointed. You know, like staying at the same mood level all the time? No really fun either. Then I read Brene Brown’s book The Gift of Imperfection and it really changed my view.
    She tells the story of a man who lost his wife in a car accident. All his life he kept himself from being overly happy, in fear of being devastated when something bad happens. Then his wife died and he was just as devastated, but never had enjoyed all the highs of happiness… That really made me think and I have made an effort to try and be happy when the opportunity presents itself ever since.
    So go and slide down that slide one more time – you’ll be fine.
    (sorry for the long comment! xo)

    • says

      Kerstin, you just gave me a book to read. I started reading Daring Greatly (I think) and it just felt like too much at the time. I was not in the mood to dare or dare greatly. And you better believe I slid down the slide like three more times, to the point other adults were like, is it that fun? YES. DO IT. And then we had a line (no children were hurt in our pushing to get back up but they were probably gently nudged).

  3. says

    I’m sending a sun lamp. And hugs. And a new definition of happiness that doesn’t include those outside things that are infringing upon you right now. I wish there was a way I could knock ‘em all out, like with a giant baseball bat or something.

    You are a survivor, Arnebya. 2014 may be off to a rough start, but I think you’re going to end up rocking it.


    • says

      I think so too, Erin. Most days. AND OH MY GOD. If I could afford a sun lamp I would damn sure have it. But then I’d feel all weird sitting near a lamp to brighten my mood. Come on, mood, be bright on your own.

  4. says

    I did not click on Barney.

    Happy is hard to come by when the biggest thing out there is ugly, cold, and dreary. It only adds insult to injury when other things in life are not going well. This winter is a total jerk, and I know exactly what you mean about having unoriginal woes. It pisses me off that I am so mundane as to complain about the weather. But where is the sun?

    Waiting out the conspirators sounds like the thing to do. Little snippets of happy do happen – we just have to receive them when they come to us instead of kick them out the door because they don’t promise grand solutions. They will chip away at the dreariness. You are strong, and you will make it.

    • says

      This “receive them when they come” also reminds me that what I want doesn’t always come to me in the neat little package I envision. I have to be open to that, be open to getting what I asked for, albeit slightly different or adapted. Admittedly, that’s hard to do, let alone maintain.

      The sun is in the Barney video.

  5. says

    Me too. I’ve stopped aiming for happy and have started aiming for contentment. It’s hard to stay happy (impossible to stay happy) unless you’re 20, stupidly rich, healthy, gorgeous, and sort of brainless.

  6. says

    And now I’m going to have that song in my head alllllll day long. I’m the same way. I’m not an actively happy person….I don’t smile a lot. I have to choose to smile most of the time. You know those people that just always have a smile? That’s not me. So it’s, like, an occasion when I’m happy, you know? You know.

  7. says

    I have thought about a lamp. Because we are coming up on the most dreary part of the year for me, weather-wise at least. March is grey and still cold with snow and rain and everything looks tired. And although I do like winter for its cozy indoorness, I am ready for it to be done about now – but you know, Canada.
    I think that we have to just embrace the happy when it comes by. And if it weren’t for the other stuff, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much when we do get it. :)

  8. says

    What I notice the most about you is that you *do* grasp at happiness,smiles, laughter when it comes by. And that you’re amazingly aware of how you feel at all times.

    That’s a magical combo! All you need now is a stop on all of the nonsense that has been coming your way, and then? You’re going to be unstoppable.

    (And I’ll cheer you on from here when it happens!)

  9. says

    Oh yes, the lamp. I need to get one too. This winter is really kicking the crap out of a lot of people’s happy. What makes me happy is thinking about how much of a party spring is going to be this year. We are really going to appreciate those sunny, warm days aren’t we? And yeah, I didn’t click on the Barney link either. I didn’t have to, just seeing the image got his voice in my head. Thanks. ;)

  10. says

    Move here. Move here now. We have more sunshine than we can take.
    Wait, stupid distance.
    Grasping at what is there, reasons to be happy – that is good.
    I’m just capturing moments, here and there. I have so much to be thankful for, and sometimes, it’s easy to forget because allthethings. But grasp. Grasp.

  11. says

    Back before we knew how evil it was, I used to go tanning about this time of year to get ALL THE UV. I’m convinced February 2014 is trying to kill me. First my husband traveled the entire month for work. Then there was the polar vortex and all the snow. Then this week we had bad news and have to take an emergency trip to Iowa and I had to explain it to my daughter by myself while bawling and attempting to make dinner last night. Things have not gone well. But I, too, am just waiting for sun.

    You know, I have a sun tattoo on my foot in case it’s not in the sky. Just sayin’.

  12. says

    God, yes, I need a Happy Lamp. And perhaps just ONE week where everyone is healthy. For me, my unhappiness is covered in mucus, and the sick days on top of the snow days are making me absolutely crazy and STARVING for time to myself. Hang in there, lady. We’ll get through this season. Right? RIGHT?

  13. says

    Wait? Did I write this? Because I could have. I blame winter too. I mean partially. It’s sucking the joy right out of me. Freezing my heart into this cold, cynical, judgmental, unable-to-look-on-the-bright-side-for-any-reason thing that weighs heavily in my chest. But then, it’s not all winter is it? Because I wanted to start this whole Happy Mama thing because I was looking for a way to crawl out of this crevice; to be pulled out of this crevice by focus and people I love well before I even knew that winter was going to be such a skank. It’s working, sometimes. Other times, like pretty much every single moment of February, it’s not. I know all of my happy sappers won’t go away with the warm weather, but I feel like everything looks better if you rub some sunshine on it. And also, my feet are cold. I hate it when my feet are cold. Let’s make a date to go sunbathing. Or, like, whatever the black girl’s version of that would be :).

  14. says

    I’m also trying to focus on being happy – which is HARD as FUCK. You’re right, the winter isn’t helping, but just redirecting my brain is almost impossible. Stupid brain.

    PS Let’s hang out and spell stuff.

  15. says

    Happy is hard in the winter. Well, sometimes in bed with the electric blanket on! I think the pressure to feel happy is false sometimes. We feel what we feel. I aim for grateful this time of year. And I like Jennie’s contentment too. Happy will come with the sun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *