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Responsibility – Teaching Everyone in My Family How to Be Happy

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While away from the kids at a family wedding last weekend, I was struck by how much deeper I can love others when I’m in a positive headspace. When I’m sad, it’s really difficult to love people. It reminded me of a discovery I made several years ago. 

On the second floor of our house, my six-year-old was being beaten on by a younger sibling. I wasn’t Reacting, because that’s just what the pitter-patter of little feet sounds like in our home. But when my child came downstairs, she was angry that I didn’t come to her rescue. She wanted me to magically appear to save her. 

At that point in our lives, I was taking full responsibility for everyone’s happiness in our home. Which made sense because, as the stay-at-home parent caring for the children, their wellbeing was my responsibility. But as they grew (and we kept having more and more kids), all of the energy I was putting into our family was making me miserable.

Having my daughter respond that way, somehow made me realize that, no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to save and protect them from everything that came their way. I had to get honest. I thought I was positively impacting our family by devoting my life to their happiness but wasn’t my misery having just as big of an impact? 

I don’t want to teach these kids that someone else is responsible for their happiness. And, if I have any hope that they’ll live happy lives, I need to model what living a happy life looks like. That’s when it clicked—

Your happiness is not my responsibility to you.
My happiness is my responsibility to you.

That one thing, putting my happiness before my children’s, has brought more joy into our family than I could have ever imagined.

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    Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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