I may run a company that helps people be happier, but believe me, I don’t have all the answers. Especially when it comes to family life. Our family is small — it’s just my husband, our 10 year-old kiddo, and me — but with three people, three different personalities, crazy schedules, demanding jobs, and endless balls to juggle, it’s not always easy to find our stride.
But we manage.
How? That’s a good question. There are a few things we do that, if you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have thought odd when it comes to helping us be happier. But sometimes the best habits are the little ones that surprise us the most with their simple but unexpected wisdom.
Don’t go hungry! But when life gets crazy, skip the sit-down meal. Instead, grab whatever you have in the fridge and, if it’s warm enough, go outside and eat it on the deck or at a park; if it’s too cold out, have a mini-picnic in the living room. This lowers the pressure to cook an actual meal and it’ll go a long way to help you chill out.
Sometimes having extra hanging time together as a family turns out to be more important than a fixed and absolute bedtime. So every now and then, especially when you’ve been running around so much that you haven’t spent much relaxed time together, stay up way past your kiddo’s bedtime and make it fun. Watch a movie together; play a game; talk; have some ice cream, and just have fun. Life is short!
Make a big mess
Sometimes being a happier family means being a messier one. (Maybe a much messier one.) Instead of constantly focusing on what has to get done, take a few breaths and pause. Go for a family walk instead. Make pancakes — on a weekday — and leave the dishes until you get home from work. Ignore the unfolded laundry until someone runs out of clothes.
What are the surprising counterintuitive things you do to be happier as a family?