A friend of mine called me on Sunday and asked what should have been a simple question. She said, "are you happy?" My first thought was, "is this a trick question?" It should have been super easy to answer. In theory, it's either yes or no. But, in practice it took a lot of thought before I could come to a conclusion. In fact, I think I've only reached it now, as I type this entry.
Initially, my thought was yes. At that exact moment, I was happy. Then it occurred to me that I was really more content than happy. At the moment she called, my boys were sleeping. Tabbi was napping on the couch. Mark was mowing the lawn. I was upstairs in my bed reading a book and lazily dozing off. That was pure contentment. But, is that happy? I am not sure.
I think on most days, I would say yes. I would sum up my general state of being as happy. I love Mark, I love my kids, I love my home, I love my family and I generally like my life. There are days when I would say no though, and no part of that equation would be any different. There are days when Mark and I are just not getting along. Usually I want a higher degree of participation from him and he wants a lower degree of nagging from me. Then there are times when I don't love being a SAHM. There are days when I miss working.... I miss feeling like I accomplish something. Instead, I spend the day chasing my tail trying to get Will and Jack to do simple things I need them to do... like pee in the toilet not the floor or color on paper, not my couch. I feel impotent, not important, and there are days that makes me sad. So on those days, I am not happy.
I think if anyone says they are happy all of the time they are lying... or stoned. One or the other. I think that the goal should be to have more good days than bad, and when you don't, it is time for a drastic change. I think that no person is happy in every aspect of their lives at one time, either. As I laid in bed reading my book and listening to the sounds of silence, I still had moments of nagging money thoughts. See, Mark, I nag myself too. We're super tight this week so I was pondering transfers from accounts and whether or not I could get one of my measly paychecks this week. While we are extremely fortunate to be able to have me stay home with the kids, I dream of a time when I will have a substantial paycheck too and we will not nickel and dime our way to the next check. But, when I balance the scales, we still land in the positive. We have a home, two cars, food and even Netflix. If this is "making it work" then I have no place to complain. But, I could be happier.
The day before I moved to Kansas from Iowa, the only home I'd ever known, I got a fortune cookie that said "you're only as happy as you let yourself be." That is probably the best statement on happiness that I have ever heard. I've never forgotten that advice and when I ponder the question asked of me yesterday, I think yes would have to be the answer. Because even though we could use more money and raising the kids can be like raising a herd of worms, ultimately, I choose to be happy. And I am.