Thursday, April 08, 2010

Drinking More Wine Might Be Good

Some of you might remember that I have a wonderful, holistic-minded nurse practitioner as my primary care clinician.

I don't see her often, because generally speaking I'm quite healthy, but when I do schedule a check-up (or emergency appointment because all my hair is falling out from stress), she not only seems to believe that modern at-home motherhood can be stressful rather than making me feel like only women with high-powered careers have anything to be stressed about, but she also gives prescriptions like, "Go outside and walk around your house in the grass five times during your daughters' naps; the fresh air and nature will do you good" or "Schedule regular multi-family outdoor potlucks all spring and summer, so the children can all run around in the backyard and you and your husband can have some adult social time with the grown-ups."

I get the feeling she's more invested in my own happiness than I am, which, while probably not the correct equation, is relatively satisfying in a medical professional.

I'm not all that stressed at the moment, but I am battling several barriers to true contentment these days, which, aren't we all, right? I'm sure you don't need to hear all about my foot problems (no running = heartbroken) or my teeth-clenching (= serious dental issues) or blah blah blah.

In addition, I'm struggling to write a book (in my three hours of "free time" per week, which sometimes evaporate if medical appointments or dental check-ups or required errands crop up), I'm in charge of handling the details of having our entire house interior repainted this summer, and my babies continue to grow up, leaving further and further behind those toddler years I can't help but recall as the best--hard but in a go-go-you-can-do-it sort of way that lent itself to pride and an adrenaline rush, and full of sweetness. That summer they were three and one was the best. It really was. And it's gone now. And don't go telling me all the years ahead have their best moments. They're still not one and three.

But in the end I believe in happiness and contentment and love and joy. And I believe in a holistic view of life and health, where family potlucks are as crucial as prescription medication. I still believe I can be a fulfilled, happy mom; that my babies are still sweet babies even if they'll be four and six this summer; that I can write the book. I think it takes some work though.

Which is why I've scheduled a family dinner with friends for this weekend, and I've secured myself a copy of Gretchen Rubin's runaway bestseller and talk of the Internet, "The Happiness Project," and I'm starting to read it today. Because there are things that would make you happy that you just can't magically produce: a more comfortable household income; a secure retirement fund; a backyard with a playset; feet that aren't breaking down on you at age thirty-nine; extended family in a five-mile radius, ready for babysitting and dinners and drop-in breakfasts and just taking a load off your shoulders sometimes; a book contract.

But then there are things you can willfully, consciously do for yourself, to increase all likelihood of contentment and joy.

Which includes being grateful for the now of your mothering days, which, compared to your children's teen years, are probably like heaven on earth.

Is anyone else reading "The Happiness Project"? What do you think?

1 comment:

Donna said...

We can drink lots of wine together when I visit this summer. I am so looking forward to it!