I’ll be happy when . . . I get married.
I’ll be happy when I have children.
I’ll be happy when I lose all this baby weight.
Or maybe I’ll be happy when we get a bigger house.
Then we’ll have less clutter and more space. The kids can have a bigger backyard to play in and maybe they won’t constantly ask me “what can I play with?”
I find myself having this type of thinking a lot.
In fact, I’ve had it for years.
I’m always looking forward to the next best thing.
As a person who loves to plan, I get excited when I think about the future. My dreams come alive and I am filled with anticipation. I know when I lose the baby weight I’ll be happy and when my kids get just a little bit older life will be so much easier. These dreams will bring me joy. Except when they don’t.
Because, you see I lost the baby weight and we got the bigger house yet none of my problems were solved. I still worried about how I looked and the kids still followed me around the house tugging at my leg. The toys still ended up all over the floor even though we have more storage and the housework is still there.
The thinner body and bigger house didn’t make me happier.
I’m tired of tricking myself into believing that stuff, things or events will make my happy. It seems whenever my wish is fulfilled there is something else that would make my life easier, better or happier. I’ll be happy when ____. Fill in the blank.
A few months ago, I decided I had enough. No longer did I want to live for the next best thing.
I wanted to start enjoying life right now.
I thought about some of the happiest days of my life. Some of them were extraordinary like getting married or backpacking through Europe. Others were simple days at home where I truly enjoyed the company of my small children and appreciated my job as a stay at home mom. So what made those days different?
The days where I felt like a joyful mother I didn't strive for more or wish things were different. I was living in the moment and practicing thankfulness. Instead of worrying about how I could be a better wife, mother or friend I believed I was enough. My kids were enough, my husband was enough, my house was enough. I am enough.
What would happen if we lived each day as if we were enough?
What if we loved our husbands and our kids just as they are right now? Instead of always wishing things were different.
I found freedom in motherhood when I let go of expectations. I stopped trying to control everything and I stopped using the words “I wish.” I learned to go with the flow and not worry about things of this world. More stuff isn’t going to make me happy.
I also slowly learned to view social media with a filter. The more time I spend on Facebook or Instagram the more I struggle with the "I’ll be happy when..." attitude. When I'm stuck in this attitude I don't get the inspiration or encouragement I am seeking from social media. Instead I start comparing my not so glamorous life to other people’s highlight reels.
When I view myself as enough I no longer wish for happiness.
I'm living in it right now.
Motherhood is a journey and I’m sure there are many more lessons I need to learn. But for now I’m letting go of feelings of disappointment, resentment and comparison.
Instead I’m embracing life, as it is right now, messy buns, dirty dishes, toddler tantrums and all.