Finding My Happy Again

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I homeschooled my boys for two years during their pre-K and middle school years. My son had been dealing with anxiety. (Hormone-induced.) Things that was normal for most, brought on episodes of panic for him. So, we came to a family decision that he just needed a safety net, and that was our home. It was a sweet time in my life, homeschooling both my boys. I threw myself into it 100 percent. My days were extremely busy and full. I gave up any ideas of going back to work and we downsized our home to accommodate that decision. So we moved, we homeschooled and this was my life.

Then one day, while I was busy cleaning under the kitchen sink, Owen came downstairs and told me he was ready to go back to school. I was filled with emotion: pride, relief, grief and panic. Relieved that his anxiety was no longer controlling his life. He was completely fine. I felt panicked because what was I supposed to do now? And grief that both my boys would be leaving me in the fall. After he went upstairs, I sat on my kitchen floor and cried.

September.

While Owen’s anxiety was gone, mine was two-fold. I was freaking out that both my boys were off to school, and to make matters worse, it felt like every other person asked me what I was going to do with ALL MY TIME. I was even asking myself the same question. I thought I would “just be a mom,” but I was letting in thoughts of how that would not be enough. I was influenced by Supermoms on Instagram who really appeared to have it all, do it all and achieve some elusive sense of balance while even getting their makeup on in the morning.

I began to say yes to everything.

I’d been dabbling in event design while homeschooling. I was okay at it and as Christmas neared, I began to receive some requests for events. I said yes to helping with weekly food hampers for an organization I’d worked with for years. Plus I had the Christmas hampers I’d done every year. Then I said yes to having a booth at a craft fair for our little Etsy knit shop. Then I decided a birthday party for Ollie was not just going to be a birthday party. It had to be an over-the-top, styled photo shoot. This all happened in two short months.

I’d lost my mind.

Post-party, I was exhausted. I had thrown the most gorgeous little boy birthday party. My home looked like a magazine cover. It was also the lamest party ever. I still cringe a bit when I think back on it. I don’t think the kids had a terrible time. But it was not the funnest. I was so caught up in getting photos and styling, that their entertainment was forgot about. The worst part was that my little guy’s sixth birthday had come and gone, and I didn’t have a memory of actually feeling present for him.

So, there I sat post-birthday party, watching a snow storm, feeling exhausted. My wrists still ached from the hours of knitting for our craft fair. It was four days till Christmas and time to get everything cleaned up and ready for the most perfect, beautiful Christmas ever.

I’m not big on resolutions, but that January, I took a serious look at the previous several months. I had created that busyness to fabricate an identity I thought the world wanted to see. Then I asked myself, Are you happy? The answer was no.

I had been sacrificing what was really important to me—my family. So, I slowly scaled back everything. This past year I had lots of open days on my calendar. I actually got pretty bored and may have watched too much Netflix. I probably could have tried to go to the gym. (I think I can do better there: less Netflix, more life and maybe exercise.)

I’ve started to learn what makes me happy. What I love. That I really do love to throw a party. I did a couple of parties for good friends. When we entered December last year, my kids were so excited that I was not going to be too busy and would have time for them.

For Ollie’s birthday last year, I planned a Lego party. We had all the primary colors, and friends. I sat on the floor and built Lego with the kids. It really was fun.

I love to DIY, and always have a project happening. (Ask any of my friends.) I am not afraid of power tools and after posting some pictures of an outdoor sectional I built for our vacation place, someone asked if there was anything I couldn’t do. I was pretty darn proud of myself, so there I sat, a bit fluffed up, thinking she was probably right.

But then I shook my head and hit reply. Yes, there are some things I can’t do. I cannot keep my house clean, even though I am an AT-HOME-MOM WITH ALL THAT TIME. I cannot grow a garden, and I cannot draw.

My life is not perfect, but I had allowed my need for busyness and approval to fill my life with things I don’t necessarily love. By minimizing what I am doing in my life, I have found my happy again.

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Daniela Schwartz
I am a happily married mother of two gorgeous boys ages 2 & 10. I write, create and decorate. I am passionate about all three. I also love naps and staying in my pyjama's all day. I haven't figured out if this is due to laziness or depression, possibly both. I think Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened. I have a twin sister so if you happen to run into me and I ignore you or seem rude, it is probably her. You can tell if it's me because I look a little younger and am slightly prettier (wink). I blog about life at danielaschwartz.com
Daniela Schwartz

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