My parenting motto has always been “Happy and Healthy.” As long as my daughter grows up to be happy and healthy, I have succeeded as a parent. It took me very long to realize that mental health and physical health are, by far, the most important things in this world. And by far, the hardest the achieve as well.
I had to take many side roads and had to jump over many hurdles to find some health and happiness myself. The last year itself has been the longest in my journey to a happy and healthy self. Where am I now? I am safe, healthy, and surrounded with my family in the sun. I am actually sort of happy, although this makes me feel guilty. The world is crumbling around me and I dare to be happy? People are dying, people are getting sick. Friends are displaced in the world and we all are locked in our homes. How dare my mind have these feelings of happiness?
It has been a pretty horrible year. This time last year, I had to force myself to be grateful. The sun is shining; be grateful. Laila has a school; be grateful.Your husband has an extra day off this week; be grateful. You have a roof over your head; be fucking grateful. I even started a gratitude journal filled with lies I tried to tell myself. I hoped by writing down what I “should” be grateful for I would maybe start to believe it.
Happy and healthy is different for everybody. I am already happy that I can run around my neighborhood for 15 minutes. That’s a kind of health I have never had. I am happy that I don’t have too many horrible intrusive thoughts. I am happy when I have a good night sleep without insomnia. I have many small and big things to be grateful for, but also many things I am not grateful for. And that’s ok, we can’t have perfection.
It’s hard as a parent to keep focused on your own philosophy especially when many outside factors influence us on a daily basis. We should be doing all this homework, we should be doing gymnastics, and we should make sure that our children don’t get behind in their education in these months when they don’t have school. We should bake, we should entertain, and we should buy them all these toys so they don’t get bored. We get bombarded with so many ideas; if we would do them all, we could start a circus.
But I have to stay focused and not let all these outside ideas blur our own parenting ideas; she is happy and healthy right now, in this moment.
I can let my mind be drowned into this nightmare that is the world right now but that would mean that I would get unhappy and unhealthy within hours. I would probably want to shoot my own face off very fast. We can’t let that happen.That won’t be fair, plus I don’t know how to get a gun while we are social distancing but that’s a topic for another blog.