This article, Mindful Parenting, by Ren Allen and Sandra Dodd, reminds me of some things I have been thinking about lately. I used to be a happy person practically all of the time. I used to be eager and excited about almost everything. Lately I've been trying to figure out when that changed. I think the change started in college. I was around people who weren't excited about learning, they were just there to get a degree and get out. Some of them didn't even like the area of their major very well. Then I found a job that was okay and enjoyed my life outside of the job. Then I found a job that I really liked, and I enjoyed all of the learning and discovering and problem solving of it.
As time passed, the job environment changed, primarily with different people (coworkers particularly) being in my life on a daily basis. The joy went away. Then I met my husband and fell in love, and my life was joyful again. I wasn't always happy, because I had to deal with the work people, family health problems (my mom's cancer), and adjusting to being married, but I was still primarily joyful. When my first son was born, life was good. Staying home with him was great; sometimes it was hard, but it was great!
Now I find myself not so joyful anymore. I think it's because I am doing things that I don't want to do. I am taking the boys to daycare instead of spending days with them during the week. I know that being with them all of the time would take more energy than I seem to have. (Lack of sleep is a problem for me.) However, I also know that our lives would adjust and be different if we lost the requirement to "get ready" by a certain time each morning. When I give them the freedom to be themselves, make their own choices, and do what they want, we are all happier (except when sleepy, grumpy toddlers don't want to nap).
Last night I let DS1 sleep on the floor and DS2 sleep in DS1's bed. At bedtime, that's how they wanted to lay down, after some rocking, so I let them. Then when they fell asleep, I thought, "why not?" and left them in their chosen spots. "Why not?"... I remember sleeping on the floor sometimes as a child. I think that conciously trying to put myself in their shoes, to see their perspective, will help me live more joyfully. It will be more difficult, but I want to do the same with DH. I want to see things from his perspective, especially when we seem to have different goals, or different perferred methods of reaching a shared goal.