I stood at the bus stop with my youngest as she danced and played in the driveway. She had wandered closer to the street than I wanted…for the fifth time. I growled. Not really, but my reprimand came out that way. I didn’t yell, but I sure didn’t smile. And I began to wonder how often my kids see me smile.
The only answer I came up with is this:
It would never be enough. How can one smile too much? How can I show my children too much joy? I wished for a moment that my smile were as carefree and easy to come by as my little one’s smile seemed to be. So I fixed it. In that moment, right there in the driveway. I smiled.
Did I feel like it? Nope.
Was it natural and warranted? Not a bit.
But an interesting thing happened. Once I did it I felt happier. Sometimes the action has to come in faith and the feeling will follow. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least I smiled.
So try these tips and see if the feelings follow:
1. Say No With a Smile
I’m not a “yes” mom. Sure, I’ve read articles and blogs about it, but I do not say yes all the time. In fact, I say no quite a bit. Does that make me a bad mom? No (see?) Instead of saying no with a scowl, try saying no with a smile and maybe it will take a bit of the sting away. If not for them, then for you.
2. Do Something You Love
Not a tropical getaway (although that would be nice). I’m talking about real possibilities. The beach makes me smile every time. Even just driving by it. (Thank you mom!) Read a book with your child. Tickle them. Look at a picture from a great day. Now here’s the key: don’t go past it to a pity party of why you’re not there doing that again with your kids and how hard life is and on and on. Just take a moment and give yourself permission to be happy. You may hate the beach. Books may be laborious for you. It doesn’t matter. Just do one small thing that you love for a moment. And enjoy it.
3. Turn Your Face to the Sun
Just take a minute and let the rays shine on your face. Find a way to make it happen. You don’t have to give a salutation worthy of spf. Just a moment. It’s raining? It’s dark? Well, pick a different idea, but when you get the chance just take in the sun for a moment.
4. Touch and Breathe
Sometimes the very thing I need to have a genuine smile is just to touch someone I love and take them in for a breath. Hold a hand. Touch a cheek. Pat a head. Eskimo kiss. And breathe. We were never made to be isolated. Make sure you are not.
5. Fake It
Yup. Sometimes you have to because happy is nowhere to be found and hope has been stepped on. So fake it for a minute, a few seconds even. When you brain realizes your face is smiling, maybe it will grab the heart and catch on. And if it doesn’t? Try again later and don’t give up. Happy is worth it.
Don’t hide real feelings, but remember your kids see your face more than they hear your words. What do you want them to see?
What would you add? Do you have another way to bring on the smiles? Leave a comment and share the joy!