Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A New Happiness

Photo by Tim

Everything changes when you have kids. Absolutely. Everything. The things we once enjoyed we can no longer. There is no time to laze on the beach for hours on end ensuring that a line-free-tan is achieved. The days of going out on a Friday night are long gone and sleep ins- oh my goodness, don't even talk to me about sleep. At times I have been completely overwhelmed by this transition into self sacrificial parenthood, I have felt smothered by responsibility, boogers and financial restraints.

But I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the idea that my old life is gone. Most of the time I don't even miss it.

I had a profound discussion with a fried a while ago who proposed that maybe, just maybe, my previous Idea of 'happiness ' and parenthood don't actually mix. It's possible that my happiness was misplaced in having free time, conversations with my partner, dinners with friends and European holidays- indeed- a new happiness can be found in parent hood- a more simple, pure happiness. The happiness that comes from teaching and journeying with my little people, those excellent little people that I grew inside my body.

So for me, joy can be found in the faces of my children, because their hearts and my heart, they are one.

 Today. Now. At this time, I need to remember this more than ever.
 In Family and Faith I will find my joy.

41 comments:

  1. With time your old life seems a distant, sweet, nostalgic memory. But life, though completely different, can be just as happy overall. Parenting has wonderful highs (and some terrible lows!). Loved this post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A very wise woman told me once that the best thing you can do after you have a baby is surrender yourself to the change. I'm still trying! But it's great advice. Kellie xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. So true, our happiness meter shifts to a whole new level with our families, I think its important to have a 'old times' moment every so often and go out on a Friday night or a weekend away with the girls, it makes us cherish our kids more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is 'happy' and then there is fulfilled, content, joyful, whole. I know which one I prefer and indeed can barely remember the other. My life then seems... self-indulgent and somewhat meaningless. For me, true happiness is not measured in things I do for myself or how I might be feeling. It seems to be all that we do for others (bar housework) and how good we make them feel. Having a family really helps with that!! Moves it right along!! x

    ReplyDelete
  5. after having our second child in may, i gained a heightened sense of what we'd given up by choosing to start our family. especially so, as we are in our mid/late twenties, and it seems as if most people our age are very much enjoying a life of freedom to dine/travel/forge a career/be entertained/etc as they please, while i feel so tied to home.

    but you are right, there is a new happiness to be found, a great richness and joy to parenthood that is perhaps difficult to envision or understand until you are living it. in spite of the lack of sleep and other less glamourous aspects of caring for children, there is much about journeying as a family that is beautiful and delightful. i especially relish the permission to celebrate small things - small achievements, small beauties in the world - which was always harder to do in my time before kids, when i felt pressure to achieve momentous things.

    will pray that you are able to continue treasuring your new happiness, in the easy and the hard times! em

    ReplyDelete
  6. At the end of 10 child free, "old life" days in New York not so long ago all I wanted to do was come home to my babies, to my real life, where things actually mattered. You'd think that eating late, drinking wine till VERY late, sleeping in, spending hours wandering streets shopping for things you don't REALLY need, getting my nails done, spending sooo much money and having dinnertime picnics in Central Park would be utterly thrilling and satisfying. And it was fun, indeed it was!

    But, towards the end of those days, I just wanted to come home! Where it's not so glamorous, I don't always dress all that well, I'm lucky to do my hair let alone wear much make-up. But where it's REAL. And it matters. My babies are a little older than yours, and it's taken a while for me to get to this point. Where I don't wish, on a daily basis, for my old life back. But you get there. And when you visit your old life, you realise that it was fun at the time, but what you have now means so much more. Even though somedays you want to run for the hills. x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful thought to start the day on, my friend. x

    ReplyDelete
  8. 'A New Happiness'- couldn't agree more x

    ReplyDelete
  9. A lovely thought provoking post Em. Now is so powerful for such a simple word.
    I often think of my life pre children and indeed pine for some if it. But nothing I felt then compares to the heart filling, eye welling emotions I feel when sharing simple moments with my children. That is pure joy like no other.
    You are such a wonderful mother. xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think happiness comes in many guises. I am happy with my kids and i'm also happy on a night out/weekend away with the girls pretending like i'm 21 again and childless (like this happens very often!?! I wish) BUT the two are not enemies, they are reflections of different sides of you as a person. Do not give up who you used to be just embrace who you are now and appreciate the joys. Every single one. Even the ones that involve puke and poo for without these you would feel like your life was missing something key. A soul, a purpose? But rejoice in those opportunities to explore you in the old sense of the word too. You may not get so much time to be her but it will come and lap it up, enjoy recharge and then you will find your parenting seems a little easier. This is way too long a post. Hop on over to England, i'll put the kettle on (or get out the prosecco/mojito's and we'll talk it through then! Bring the kids...or not whatever you fancy! xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. you couldn't have explained it better - your post comes right at a time when i need it most. One sick child who was up most of the night and the other child who thinks 5am is a great time to wake up and start the day....oh the joys of non-child times are what they are,, but their adorable little faces, their utter, unconditional love, sweet smell and wonderment is more than enough to not miss what I used to have. thanks for sharing xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. that brought tears to my eyes, so sweet and so true!

    ReplyDelete
  13. So true. Contentment is the hardest and loveliest thing to find.

    So many women talk about getting their life back after children but it's impossible. You just need to find your new life.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really like this post Em and in the thick of my children's infancies I sometimes struggled to remember 'this is a happy place'. But, now that our youngest is nearly 3, things have changed and are considerably easier. They all sleep well, they can tell me what's hurting when they're sick, they can all play well together... sometimes. I'm no longer wading through long, tiring days but rather plodding along in life with my girls. THAT makes me incredibly happy... gxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. Having a child has really made me appreciate the things I had managed to achieve before starting a family - travel, study, career etc... I now realise that even though we had always said 'things won't change when we have a family, we will still always do the things we enjoy' ... life does change. dramatically. I think it's just about being brave enough to leap wholeheartedly through the new door....and letting the other door close behind you... x

    ReplyDelete
  16. I couldn't have read this at a better time Em, thanks for reminding us of the things that matter. Also loved Fee's comments – so true. x

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's always good to be reminded of this - thanks for your beautiful post you beautiful lady. I think it's only now that I am coming to terms with what we have been given with our children. Coming through the dark trenches of baby and toddlerhood and trying to work out where I fit into the equation, and where I am with Rob, I am starting to see just how beautiful, how full of love, how 4 is just SO much better than two could have EVER been. No matter the sleep ins. It's going to get even better if you can imagine that!

    Thanks again for such a lovely post x

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for a lovely post! you said it so beautifully .... the letting go and change is a process. xx

    ReplyDelete
  19. ps I think the little breaks help us recharge and appreciate and dear little ones even more. xx

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beautifully said, a fitting reminder for me too - thankyou x

    ReplyDelete
  21. Only just beginning to discover this...and will remember your wise words on the journey of motherhood. x

    ReplyDelete
  22. ps. Thanks for taking the time to read my birth story and commenting. x

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh, thanks for the reminder Em. I've been thinking mean mama thoughts lately so I needed to read this. xx

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am so heartened that so many other people need this reminder... lovely post and gorgeous photo (I am covered in child snot and feeling ancient) x

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh darlin, you truely have a way with words. I feel the same at times and right now I feel for you.
    Love Bek xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Amen & amen! So hard not to wish away the newborn days & reflect on how good it was to have a meal in peace but so wonderful to hold a life you helped create & to sacrifice for another- this is what I remind myself every day, at least 11 times ;) love your mumma guts Em!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yep, I concur Emily, on all points. Parenthood takes us on the most mind blowingly awesome ride we'll ever go on and it makes us feel alive. Gotta be good! :o) xo

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a beautiful post - you brought a lump to my throat! What I love is when that tiny (or not so tiny when they get to be teenagers) arm slides around your neck and you know that just your physical presence is all thet need to feel safe & whole. It makes my heart swell & feel total peace. Love you for making me think about that x

    ReplyDelete
  29. You write so beautifully Em. We've been talking about how things will change in a matter of weeks for us, forever, so reading this is awesome. Appreciating and loving your honesty as always xx

    ReplyDelete
  30. Em, I am moved by your words tonight. I must say it is, strangely, now with three children that I am feeling the FULL weight of the responsibility of being a parent and not a footloose and fancyfree adult.

    Take care and be mindful of our new joy.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Isn't it funny how before kids people always say that your life totally changes and I would say "oh I know" but you never really understand it until it happens.
    I miss my old life a lot, the travelling, the going out on a Friday night and not getting home until late on Saturday afternoon after a laze on the beach, I miss being able to do anything whenever I wanted ... like popping to the milk bar to get a drink - almost impossible with 3 kids!
    BUT now that my kids are starting to get a little bit older we are getting some of our freedom back, and while I might not be able to go out all night I can still go out and we can still do so many things. I just takes time and a whole lot of patience!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Really nice post. Yeah I agree, everything changes after little people arrive. And nothing is like I'd imagined (some harder some easier, some just completely not at all like I thought it would be!)Life changing. Absolutely time for reassessment, for me anywhay.
    PS love the haircut, looking good woman!

    ReplyDelete
  33. thank you for this. It's been a hard transition for me. Even after having 2 children...
    -m

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love this. And you couldn't be more right. What a wise friend you have. I think happiness is an expectation, and we're disappointed if it doesn't happen the way we hoped for.

    But sometimes parenting does take you down roads we never planned for, and it's a journey well-taken. Beautiful Em. xx

    ReplyDelete
  35. You took the thoughts right out of my head.

    What a beautiful post. I love how candidly you write.

    I loved reading all of these comments, too. So many wise and honest words!!! xox

    ReplyDelete
  36. It's pretty crazy alright, a complete different life... instead of winters full of snowboarding and parties, I'm writing about going out cutting wood. I've decided too, that that's ok. A different kind of normal and a different kind of happy. Have a great weekend, I have the full-on-ness of my twin nieces 2nd birthday party to enjoy (how about the difference pre/post parent in family gatherings?!).

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh, I needed to read that today. To remind myself, when I'm feeling a little crazy and tired and stuck, that it is all worth it, and that I am happy, it is just in a totally different way. A teaching, loving, giving way. As Maxabella said a fulfilled, content, joyful way. Thank you, thank you for this post. So well written and honest. Touch of genius Em, that I needed to hear.

    Will be remembering it tomorrow, as I'm fighting with Oscar to get his shoes on and avoiding the mess surrounding me!

    ReplyDelete
  38. what a lovely post. I totally agree. We need to surrender to the change. It changes us for the better in the end. Things we learn that we would otherwise have never if we never had our babies. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  39. needed to read this this morning! really important! thank you x

    ReplyDelete
  40. It takes time, that adjustment to a whole new shape of slef. That first year with three was KILLER for Keith and I. But now, George is two....and life is still intense, but so much easier. SO MUCH EASIER. Not many months until that next phase Em.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Preach it sister! Totally agree with everything you have said. It's the hardest yet somehow still the most precious time in life. Hold tight xx

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em