Monday, March 1, 2010

Happiness and March - It's all about the Kids

Have you started your own happiness project?  Have you read Gretchen Rubin's book?  It's never too late to start.  Head over to her blog and read all about it.  

This month is "Kid Month." Spring is coming, Winter is ending (HOPEFULLY), Spring Break is a few short weeks away.  And March is Oldest's birthday month.  March is a month that changed my life forever with her screaming smiling arrival.  As I'm sure you'll get tired of seeing see this month, I get quite nostalgic about how she changed our lives that March.  

So that makes it the perfect month to focus on my children.  Appreciate them more.  Love them more openly. Yell less never.  Read some parenting books.  

My resolutions for March:
  1. NO YELLING.  Seriously, talk about one of my greatest sources of unhappiness - yelling at the kids.  And it's so reactive, so knee-jerk.  I hate that I do it.  I feel terrible after I've done it.  And even though I'm afraid my head might explode this month keeping from it, I'm NOT YELLING.  I have a game plan - counting, leaving the room, finding my happy place. 
  2. Read two books - Siblings Without Rivalry and Best Friends, Worst Enemies.  
  3. Finish our family mission statement.
  4. Have family meetings on Sundays and a family night one weekend night.
  5. Polite night at Sunday dinner.  Like over-the-top polite to make it more fun.
  6. Buy scrapbooking software.  I have to face facts that I'm not going to do it by hand  - I'm about 4 years behind.  Online photo albums from here forward - anyone have advice on getting hard copy pictures, awards, etc memorialized?
  7. Listen.  Reframe.  Believe their feelings.  I borrowed this one from Gretchen.  And if I remember correctly, this is from the same authors of Siblings without Rivalry - Faber and Mazlish.  It's so easy to brush aside the very real feelings of a child, but my relationship with them will be much better if I can truly listen and believe the feelings behind the words.  
  8. Virtually TV free for the whole month (yes, this is our Lent promise, but I think it dovetails nicely into a month of focus for the kids, don't you?).  By virtually, I mean they get one show a day - between them.
So there you have it.  Any thoughts?  Tips?  Does anyone out there succeed at not yelling at their kids ever?  If so, what's your secret?  Will it count if I call it "talking emphatically" like my mom used to say?  

Me:  Stop yelling at me!
My Mom:  I'm NOT yelling, I'm talking EMPHATICALLY.  
Me:  Oh.  There's a difference?  (That one was in my head - BUT I knew when to shut it - something Oldest hasn't grasped yet - hence the need for Resolution #1).

Next week on My Happiness Project?  February's tally.  
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