One of my all-time favorite movies – and a highly unappreciated one in my opinion – is Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion. One of my favorite scenes is when they are on the way to their reunion, dressed to kill in their suits. They stop at a diner and ask the counter woman if she has a “business women’s lunch.” The befuddled waitress says no. So Michelle orders a couple of cheeseburgers and milkshakes to go.
What I love is how Romy & Michelle have mentally transformed into some other species, just by putting on their suits. They’ve put themselves into another category. The only thing is, they made the category up. The world isn’t quite ready for it. Or at least the roadside diner isn’t.
Sometimes I feel that same way. I’m a happily working mom of three children. I have moments of feeling badly that I can’t make a school party or that I have an important conference call the day of the tubing field trip. But mostly I work and parent with relatively little guilt. I’ve never bought the idea that mothers of babies should cry their eyes out that first day back to work. I can see with my own eyes that my children are bold, confident and secure even though a good part of their day is spent in the care of someone other than me or their Dad. And just for the record, I make no judgment at all of any other mom’s decision, whether that’s to stay home full-time, work part-time, work from home, work one day a week or seven.
The way I see it, we’re all doing the best we can. For our families. But also hopefully for ourselves. After all, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. (That will officially mark the first and last times I will publicly use the word “ain’t”, just so you know.)
I think you should do what makes you happy. But figuring that out isn’t always easy, and sometimes feel like a fool’s luxury. The idea of happiness and whether we…. I don’t know, deserve doesn’t feel like the right word…. but whether we have the right to actively pursue it is explored thoughtfully and candidly in a book I’m reading right now: The Happiness Project. Even more happily, the book is also a fun, insightful blog that I will link to once I get this new site figured out. Author Gretchen Rubin (whom I envy because she’s a writer of actual books, not just video scripts and product brochures) explores the truths of oneself, pushes herself to figure out what actually makes her happy, and a pursues a whole host of other ideas that have had me thinking. I can’t decide if it’s totally normal or super lame that figuring out what makes me happy was and is not that easy. But here’s the start of my list:
• getting enough sleep
• roller skating
• working out
• watching funny movies
• having a clean house
• going on vacation with my husband
• getting a junky drawer clean then looking into it over and over again to admire its new-found organization
That’s a dorky list, but it’s my list. And that’s part of being happy. Being true to yourself and not worrying about whether the thing that makes you happy has anyone’s approval or meets anyone’s expectations but your own.
And to my last item on the list – writing. What really makes me happy about writing is not so much the act of doing it. Because sometimes that part is really hard and in some cases even tedious. No, what makes me happy is knowing someone is reading what I wrote. And what makes me even happier is when someone takes the time to comment, either in the blog or when they bump into me somewhere and tell me how much they enjoyed a post. I’m guessing all writers are that way. We like to write. Can’t help it really. But it sure seems a lot more fun when someone likes it. Writing is like opening your head wide up for the world to see into, so we need the reassurance that it’s good.
I’m starting over here at WorkingMomsLunch. This is because I typo’d myself right out of Blogger and couldn’t figure out how to get back in. So if you’ve been reading my old blog thank you, it has truly meant the world to me. But come on over here because this is where the new stuff will be. And Ms. Rubin has inspired me to write more often because A) it makes me happy and B) you should do the things that make you happy because that will increase your happiness, and C) the best way to make yourself happy is to make someone else happy, so anytime I can make someone smile or laugh or just groan in recognition then maybe I’m making both of us happy.
Welcome to WorkingMomsLunch! Stay tuned.