There are certain things that make my heart skip a beat. When I was young and restless, it was if a guy I liked smiled at me or if I was expecting some exciting news. How life has changed. My heart now does a double take every time my sons smile at me – one with his bugs bunny teeth and the other with his toothless smile. But yesterday when my elder son told me he was happy, my heart melted.
There was no preceding event based on which he said it. He just came up to me, put his head on my lap and said “I’m happy”; this from an almost 3-year-old. As a mother, those three words are the most sought after ones. Happiness is what we aim for, among other things.
But is it only happiness we want for our children? I think aside from this, what most mothers want for their children, is success. Wanting success has become an obsession. To achieve this, mothers are now going that extra mile to cultivate their children to survive in the constantly changing world. We are preparing them to survive in a world which we can’t even imagine so we enrol them in all kinds of classes– language, sports, music, drama and more. There is, of course, always an upside and downside to everything in life. The upside to this is that children in today’s generation are brilliant and incredibly talented. Gone are the days when only academics mattered. The downside? All this focus on “training” children is causing anxiety and exhaustion in them and in us, leading to various degrees of unhappiness. This is something many mothers do not want to admit. The competition today among children is brutal, resulting in them losing out on their childhood – a childhood meant to be filled with freedom. Structure, stability and various degrees of freedom make happy children.
I have always questioned myself in my role as a mother. I think that this self-doubt is an ongoing process with most mothers, always questioning ourselves every step of the way and wondering if what we are doing is good for our children or hurting them in any way. We are always in doubt about whether or not our children are emotionally happy. We search and ache for some sort of validation for our actions concerning our children. This is normal and human. No mother knows it all and some self-examination and re-evaluation is sometimes good for the soul. This is how we as mothers incorporate change and take motherhood in our stride. Motherhood is a continuously evolving process, forcing mothers to change with it. However, I have learned that the biggest validation does not come from family or friends, but from our children themselves.
Happiness is an emotional state which needs to be developed. The Law of Cause and Effect is something I try to practice as a mother. I have learned from my own experiences that when you direct positive words, actions and energy (positive energy) at someone, the same positive energy gets thrown back at you. The quality of your thoughts controls your actions. We want our children to be healthy, happy and free. Simple as that. For them to be so, their mothers need to be healthy, happy and free individuals. I truly believe mothers are responsible for the energy that is received by their children and we all want to nudge positive energy in their direction. If we are able to do that, based on Newton’s law of motion, this energy will bounce right back to us.
Lasting happiness is complicated, but rewarding. It is a habit. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product”, a quote which rings true and one which would serve all us mothers out there, well.