My Epiphany: The only person who can make you happy is yourself

I am sure everyone knows someone that is always happy. No matter how bad things are, they keep on smiling. Do you ever wonder how they do that? Do you envy them? I certainly did.

A few years ago, I was at a point where I had to struggle to find happiness in my life. I was unhappy in my job, my husband wasn’t making me happy, family life seemed more difficult with two kids…

As I was reading the Five Languages of Love, I was trying to figure out how my husband could “love” me more. If he did more chores around the house, would that make me happier? If he told me how beautiful and smart I was, would that make me happier? If we spent more time together, would that make me happier? When I really thought about those things, I realized the answer was “no” because he had tried those things and I was still unhappy.

So, why couldn’t my husband make me happy? I finally realized that it was because I was not letting myself be happy. It sounds too simple, but it was true. And just like that, I decided I was going to be happy. Life hasn’t been easy since I decided to be happy. But the stresses and struggles I faced since then have seemed easier to handle than before. And, I have never gone back to the world of utter unhappiness like I had been before.

You are probably saying to yourself, “It can’t be that easy.” But it really is. It is so easy to get bogged down with the challenges and difficulties we face in everyday life. We don’t realize the toll it can take on us physically and emotionally. The first step is to be aware of how these things affect you. Then you can make the conscious choice not to let those things bring you down.

No one else can make you happy unless you do it for yourself first.  You have a choice.  Choose to be happy.

What I have learned from being a single parent for 7 months

My husband moved to Houston in November of last year to open his own practice.  I decided to move down later because it would make finding childcare easier at the end of the school year and it gave me time to prepare the house for selling and moving.  It also allowed my husband to focus his time and energy on building his practice.

Now that I have sold our home, moved out of our house and am ready to drive down to Houston with my two girls to join my husband, I am taking a moment to pause and think about what this experience has made me realize.

1.  Being a single parent sucks.

It is just exhausting.  After working a full time job, having to come home and take care of your kids is tiring (and this is with the help of nanny!).   Also, on the weekends, it becomes a full day job.  I enjoy doing fun things with my kids on the weekends, but it’s trying to get the laundry done, go grocery shopping and cleaning the house on top of watching the kids that becomes challenge.  I have a whole new level of respect for those who are single parents.

2.  I appreciate my husband so much more now.

I used to complain that I always did more than my husband.  Sometimes when we argued, I would say, “You never do anything around here!”  That would get him very angry.  Now that he is actually doing nothing in the house because he is not here, I realized how much he really did help me.

3.  Help a single parent out whenever you can.

I sold our outdoor basketball hoop to a woman who wanted it for her son’s birthday.  I had to take it apart (with the help of my father) for her.  When she came to pick it up, I found out that she was divorced and had a 7 year old son.  I could tell she wasn’t all that handy and asked her if she had anyone that might be able to help her put the hoop back together.  She was from Australia and had no family in the area and mentioned that one of her girl friends might have a few tools.  I felt bad for her because she didn’t have the kind of support that I had.  It made me conscious that there are single mothers out there that don’t have someone to fix things around the house for them, help them with their cars, watch their kids, etc.

4. Do everything you can to not be a single parent.

For me, this means making my marriage work.  I’ll admit, it’s been hard work and sometimes the grass may seem greener on the other side.  But ultimately, it is the best thing for my kids and provides them with a healthy balance by having two parents’ time to occupy.  I know this doesn’t always work for everyone else, but I will be right there until the end, fighting to make my marriage work.  Divorce is not an option for me.

Though this is not the first time my husband has been away (two Army deployments), this has been the longest and hardest, with the challenges of selling a house and moving thrown in there.  It has given me a new perspective on parenting and marriage and I hope never to have to do it again.