Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy = Selfish?

The other morning I asked Mr. Manic: "Are you happy?"

I wasn’t asking him if he was ‘happy’ with me, with our relationship, or our marriage. I know he’s happy with that. I was asking it in the general sense. If he was happy. I think he’s too busy to be happy. He gets up, goes to work, works all day, comes home, does some sort of activity with some sort of child belonging to him, sometimes/rarely/hardly gets a decent lovingly prepared cooked meal, then we get the kids ready for bed, and he goes to bed. Rinse. Repeat.

Does this make a person happy?

I wonder.

I wonder because I think I do lots of things that make me feel happy, many times throughout every day, and then I started to think, are the things that make me happy selfish things? Do I really need to be doing these things? And I thought: Yes.

I need to do the things that make me happy so I can BE happy in order to be somewhat productive. In order to feel like I’m worth something. In order to just have a good/nice/pleasant day.

I decided to make a “Things That Make Me Happy” List, in no particular order:

Waking up feeling like I’ve slept enough.

The mornings when there is not much or any drama as the older two get ready for school.

Sending them off to school with our secret “Energy” hand-moves, and the “kiss-for-my-pocket” Diva and I exchange.

When Tukey wakes up happy. And he does his unintentional-I’m-still-tired Baby Voice. I love that.

Yoga.

Being able to walk to the nearest Starbucks.

Walking.

Walking and hearing a really great song on my iPod.

Cool, crisp fall mornings/days/afternoon.

Early Fall, my favorite season.

Spring. Mid spring.

Wearing clothes that make me feel good.

Writing. I did say writing didn’t I? That makes me really happy.

My freelance work. Because it’s there. And it makes me feel happy. It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.

Going to the movies.

Seeing/talking/being with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Huge hugs from Mr. Manic. Those do make me really happy.

I don’t know where this list is going, and I’ve kind of run into a wall, not that I can’t think of more things that make me happy, just that I didn’t want to write about frivolous things, or just anything. Like of course, my children make me happy. Of course, being with my family makes me happy. But I guess I was thinking more in terms of things I do for myself that make me happy, and the things that come to mind immediately are the selfish things. Things I probably couldn’t do if I had a full-time outside of the home career. Like yoga, writing, walking, going to B&N, seeing afternoon movies.

Do I deserve to have the time to do all of these things when Hubby is gone literally half of each his day working so hard to support our family, and here’s me, walking, writing, doing yoga, occasionally making a worthy meal, and folding laundry only enough so there’s clean underwear and a white t-shirt in Hubby’s drawer for him every day so he can get up, go to work, do it all over again. Rinse. Repeat?

Does Happy = Guilty?

22 comments:

B. said...

It makes me happy knowing that my husband is happy.

Monnik said...

I don't think being happy is being selfish. I have a full time job outside of the home and I do some of the things on your list because you really, REALLY need to find time to do things for yourself to be happy. And it doesn't matter if you work at home like you do, or away from the home like me. Happy moms raise happy kids. And so do happy dads! So if Mr. MAnic doesn't take time for himself, try to encourage him to. It'll benefit everyone in the long run.

amanda said...

Not only is it really scary verging on creepy how many things I share on your happy list (must be a mum thing!) youneed to do happy things to keep on with the mum thing. No one tells you before you get pregnant that you are signing up for a life time job of being the lynch pin without whom the world will stop turning. So, go do a happy thing with a spring in your step - if not for yourself, do it for your family!

Beth said...

Do NOT feel guilty. Everything you do around the home is important and if you didn't have all those things on your list to make you happy, you'd go mad! (Just try not writing...)

TTQ said...

I love the Fall too, nobody wants to go see leaves change with me...soon the leaves will have fallen.. I want to go pick apples

selfish?

Swishy said...

I agree that he should take time for himself, too! Because it DOES suck. I mean, it does. I get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, work out (which is NOT fun, sorry), work some more, come back home at like 10 or 11 and do bills, clean, go online, blog, go through work email one last time ... and MAYBE watch TV while I'm doing everything or take a bubble bath before bed. And then go to sleep at 1:30 or 2. It is fine, it's my choice to work extra ... the sucky part is just feeling like you HAVE to do those things. That you can't just wake up and say forget it, I'm going to a movie today. Well, I guess I could, but I am too scared. Ha.

Swishy said...

Also, I agree that being happy is NOT being selfish! It is necessary.

Eileen said...

Happy is a good thing. Never underestimate the value of happy.

Cecily R said...

A lot of stay at home moms drown in the idea that they are over worked and underpaid and because of that, they are unhappy. Not that I don't agree with the overwork/underpaid thing somedays, and I am so amazed that I have so many chances at happiness because of my situation throughout each day.

If that makes any sense, I think it's great that you acknowledge that you are in a place for such happiness rather than letting yourself be swallowed up in the typical stay at home mom/housewife depression that can be so easy somedays. Recognizing that happiness makes you a better mom and wife, at least that's how I see it.

secretmom said...

Since I quit my freelance job and my son is school for 20 hours a week, I do feel guilty that I have all this time to myself. I have always worked--since I was about 13, I've never not had a job, except for the few months after my son was born. It's a weird feeling.

I'm not always sure what to do with all this free time and spend a lot of time feeling guilty about it, when I should just be enjoying it. But the guilt is spurring me to do some productive things--like more exercise, which is good. The And fortunately my husband likes me to have all this free time (I'm probably less of a stressed out biatch), which makes it easier. If he were resentful in anyway, I really couldn't handle it.

The Gang's All Here! said...

I find I am happiest when I am busy, even busy with things that in and of themselves do not make me happy. Sitting around or wasting my time gives me too much time to think about myself and what I could or should or ought to be doing, doing better, or "achieving."

I also make myself choose JOY over happiness. It may be semantics for some, but for me it's about the deep, inner sense of rightness versus the fleeting feeling of momentary satisfaction or pleasure. I choose contentment and peace over "doing stuff" that can act like a band-aid on my soul.

For me, that plays out in choosing to write, spending time with my kids, making a Family Day out of an Eagles game, getting away with a group of cherished friends, or snuggling on the couch with The Boss for a movie I'd normally hate but that he's loving. And of course, that first cup of coffee with the hazlenut creamer to warm my insides early in the morning! Can't forget the coffee!

Manic Mom said...

CANNOT forget the coffee! Gangs--I love that you say, "... choose JOY over happiness!"

THAT is AWESOME!!

Do you know that song that goes, YOU ARE MY JOY... YOU ARE MY JOY? It's from Gray's anatomy. Love that song!

Ello said...

I am happy. I am too selfish to feel guilty. But I am Catholic, therefore I must feel some guilt. So I feel guilty that I am selfish, but not that I am happy. But I don't really feel guilty, I'm just saying that to assuage my Catholic guilt because really I'm too selfish. Er, what is the question? Oh yeah, well from your post it is clear you feel guilty about being happy therefore you are not selfish. There, does that make you happy? ;o)

Manic Mom said...

Ello, I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic school through 9th grade. Somehow I escaped that Catholic Guilt thing! Thank God for that! Seriously!

jeni said...

steph, it's not selfish. it's self-FULL!! how can you 110% for everyone else if you aren't there for YOU?!!!

The Gang's All Here! said...

Thanks Manic, I was afraid after I posted the comment that I would come off preachy. Not wanting to, but after the year I've had, I feel strongly about this one. Joy is in the simplest things and for me has to be a choice.

As for Gray's Anatomy, don't know the song by name, but I'm sure I've heard it. Next to Celebrity Bull Riding, it's my other little secret. Not outing that one on my blog though - too "done" and too trite as most women in our demographics feel the same. A girl's gotta stand out some how :) Check out my "My Secret's Out" posting from a couple posts ago if you want to know what I'm talkin' about! :)

Manic Mom said...

thanks for all the reassurance that I'm not being selfish!!!

And Gang's... I have never seen an episode of Grays... I just have the music from BBFF Swishy, who if she is my BBFF she should send me the CD for the third season already!!!

Kim Stagliano said...

Hi, Manic. I know cross blogging is a no no - but I have a relevant reason. Head over to www.rescuepost.com and scroll down to the post called GOOD MORNING AMERICA to see how simply "happy" can be. At least in my world.

I think you are a gloriously happy person. You're upbeat, you work hard at many things, you celebrate your kids at every turn. You've got happy, babe.

KIM

Matt said...

Methinks it is far more selfish to be unhappy.

(Of course, this isn't a great thing to say to someone who feels unhappy. More than once this philosophy has played hell with the remnants of my Catholic guilt-complex.)

ORION said...

I worried.
I didn't see coffee on the list.
MASS quantities of coffee make me deliriously happy.

wordtryst said...

You're Catholic, aren't you? That guilt...

Husbands hate questions like that. Mr. M is probably shuddering still. Not that I am an expert on husbands, having divorced the one I had.

Count your blessings and stop obsessing. Having a happy wife running his family is a great bonus for any husband, and I'm sure yours knows that. Also, do you know what makes many men very happy? Their work!

Susan Gets Native said...

When are we, as moms, going to stop worrying about our happiness making us less than a good mom? When, I say!
Where does it say that everyone ELSE can be happy as clams, but Mom's gotta be over-worked, under-appreciated and miserable?
Sorry if I sound all hostile. I don't mean to. It just gets to me that strong, brave, kick-ass women are kicking themselves in the ass for having a glimmer of joy.
Just keep on keeping on, MM!