Am I Happy as a Mother?

Am I Happy as a Mother?

That’s the million dollar question: Am I happy as a mother?

And therefore am I happy as a human on this planet Earth? As Allysia? But specifically in my role as Allysia-the-mother?

Well I started this blog, an answer in and of itself. There was the need to write and share, a weight of things to remove from my shoulders and toss in your direction.

Doesn’t that imply a lack of happiness? A happy person doesn’t need to write in a diary to find relief. When I flip through my diary entries throughout the years, happy times are notably absent (weddings, travel, all the good stuff I wish I penned for memory’s sake).

Here’s the problem.

Up until now, for the last 32 years of my life, I’ve expected the world to make me happy. Happiness is something that happened to me. Not something I found or worked for. Something that just came about – poof! – in waves forever. Now you’re happy, now you’re not.

A sunny day – happiness. A cuddle, a hot cup of coffee, a warm blanket, a private moment away with words. A piece of chocolate, a waffle, a bowl of mac n’ cheese, a Belgian beer.

Rainy skies – dreariness. Cancelled plans, a stubbed toe, finding out I’m all out of oatmeal right at breakfast. These are the antagonists of my life, the things that place the collar around my neck and drag me around my day.

When happiness is out there, I don’t control it. I’m a victim of it. Sometimes the Universe smiles upon me; sometimes the Universe could care less about me. I’m blown around like a paper doll. Dust in the wind.

But the happy times feel so good. Sunny-cuddle-coffee-blanket, it’s a high. What’s wrong with creature comforts, with happiness that exists out there?

Who am I to say anything is wrong with it? Life is life, life is made up of these glorious moments. But it’s also stubbed toes and cancelled plans. You can’t get one without the other.

I don’t want to splash around while the waves happen to me. I want to learn to surf.

If someone has this surfer’s  manual, please deliver it to me.

I was thinking about this while Jane and I were having lunch. My phone was only a foot away but I refused to look at it. This is a moment for just us, I thought. Me, my mind, and my daughter. This is a moment to think my own thoughts. I kept the phone out of reach.

Am I happy as a mother?

My answer is that for the last ten months, probably not really. Not overly. I was happier last year, in the sense that I had time, freedom, and control. The things that happened to me were nicer things. In my 10 months of being a mom, the things that have happened to me are hard. Early wake-ups, constant dependency, a complete lifestyle change. So from an outward point of view, I am not very happy as a mother. Not right now. Not if I’m being honest.

I’m not depressed, though. That’s a different animal. It’s just that life is harder, and my mood is all tangled up in Jane’s. Her bad days become my bad days. Her storms are my storms. And – truly – her happiness is entangled in my own too. It’s not all such a grim story.

But that’s the problem. I’ve never learned how to properly draw happiness from within. I’ve always just sucked it out of the world around me.

So how you create happiness? How do you surf?

I don’t have an answer but I suspect it’s nestled in spirituality somewhere. Or – secularly – in gratitude. In little rituals, little rememberings about the precious nature of each moment. In being really present. Present for the rain, present for the shine. Present for this sweet little girl of mine, now just 10 months.

When I take a bird’s eye view, I can see the beauty. Because I find perspective beautiful. But I don’t think that’s enough. Life is more than the long view. Life is more than the retrospective. Life is ordinary moments, waiting to be noticed. It’s attention that ignites the magic.

I know I know I know.

The way I feel when I look at these pictures is how I want to feel when I’m inside the picture the moment it’s all unfolding.



This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Tracy Olsson

    You write soooooo beautifully. Such a pleasure to read. Your wee girl is simply beautiful. I love your honesty. So refreshing!

    1. Allysia

      Tracy, I really appreciate this comment. Thanks. 🙂 I feel a little bad looking back on this piece; my daughter is wonderful and I love her to bits. But motherhood isn’t always all roses and I think it’s important to talk about that too.

  2. Rob

    “She said ‘I’ll throw myself away, they’re just photos after all’”

    “Outside the frame, is what we’re leaving out. You won’t remember anyways”

    1. Allysia

      On my top 20 list of favorite songs ever. 🙂

  3. Robin

    I love your honesty. Very endearing and so refreshing. Don’t ever shy away from it. Your daughter is lovely and so are you. I’ve recently discovered your piano site and am really loving the content. It has motivated me to get back to the piano. Thanks for what you are doing.

    1. Allysia

      Robin, I really appreciate it. Thanks. 🙂 Have fun with piano!

  4. Keith

    A “second the motion” to all the comments above. How fortunate your daughter is to have a mother like you. Let’s get real,…..can you imagine how many kids simply do not, and it’s no fault of theirs? Guess that’s just part of reality. A quick update: Just printed out ‘Shallow’ and ‘Comptine’ from Musicnotes. Am getting them down a lot quicker than I had expected. Cheers.

  5. Seth

    I’ve read parts of a well-known book called “The Prophet.” The main character of the book is leaving some folks that he’s been with for some time, and they ask for his advice or philosophical thoughts on various subjects such as love, work, beauty, etc.

    I’m not sure if this is 100% relevant to this particular blog post of yours, but one of the bits of The Prophet that resonated with me is the following:
    “A woman spoke, saying ‘Tell us of Pain’.
    And he said ‘… accept the seasons of your heart – even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields … watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.'”

    The language is nice, and the sentiment is comforting to me. Makes me feel like my mood changes are in solidarity with nature. I think the surfing you refer to is similar to the seasons that the Prophet refers to.

    As a last bit of input that doesn’t really flow with what I just put down – I think a key to human contentedness is just to avoid “excessive” idleness and musing. People sometimes aren’t happy unless they have something to be unhappy about. Strange.

    1. Allysia

      This is really lovely. I appreciate you sharing. <3

  6. Melissa Malcom

    Thank you for writing this and sharing with the universe. My son is now 15. I love being his mom, and the first time I had that “can I freeze him at this age” moment he was 7.

    Yes, I loved the early years. But as I mom I resonate more with the 7 and up age. And that’s fine by me.

    Looking forward to reading more as you enjoy your journey.

    1. Allysia

      Thanks for visiting me over here, Melissa. 🙂 I love the 6-8 age range, it’s probably my favorite! I can’t wait, but I also don’t want to wish time away.

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