Being a stay at home mom is simultaneously hard and wonderful. This year, I’ve taken some time to learn a little bit about my personality in the hopes that I can acquire some tools for navigating how I’m hardwired. I’ve learned my Enneagram number (5), my Myers-Briggs personality (ENTP), and my happiness style (relator/experiencer). This information has been hugely helpful.
In particular, I’ve found it so practical to understand how I experience happiness. I best experience happiness by cultivating deep relationships and having meaningful/fun experiences. Anyone who knows me remotely well would tell you this. The thing that has been so revolutionary for me, though, is that this information has helped me pin point the particulars of why being a stay at home mom can be such a struggle for me.
As much as I know I’m cultivating relationships with my kids, they are still very little and at this point and it’s still much more of me pouring into them than it is a mutually satisfying relationship. And, because they are so little, my daily experiences aren’t so much fun or meaningful adventures as they are, WORK.
Now, hear me out. I’m not saying I don’t love what I do, I’m just starting to understand that while being a stay at home mom is incredibly meaningful for me, it’s not necessarily the best way for me to feel….happy.
There. I said it. Are you going to hate me for it? Or maybe…you can relate a little bit to that confession, too?
The good news is, though, that now that I have this information, I can take simple and effective steps to making sure that my happiness tank gets filled even while fulfilling my full time gig as a stay at home mom! The answer for me is simple: adventures.
Here is how we adventure together.
I pick a town I want to explore. I look up a few things that might be worth visiting if we’ve never been there before. I pack up the van with changes of clothes, snacks, the stroller/baby carrier and of course – the children. Don’t forget the children!
We drive until we find something we want to see. We eat food at new places or we picnic somewhere scenic. Sometimes both, it’s our adventure. I talk to other adults. We walk and we explore. The kids run around and act all weird but I don’t care. I’m out among the people. I treat myself to coffee. I sit somewhere and watch the kids run around. We go into shops just because they look interesting. We find parks, lakes, streams or hiking trails. We do diaper changes in the back of the van or on a blanket under the tree. We share licks of ice cream cones and bites of tacos. The kids makes messes but we aren’t home so momma ain’t stressin.
We return home, with my happiness tank filled. I have had a great experience, but also, so have they. I’ve interacted with others, sometimes people I know and sometimes people I don’t. But I’ve also cultivated some of the relationships most important to me – the one’s with my kids. They might not be at the point where we can go super deep relationally – at least not in the way that a realtor needs to experience happiness – but these little adventures lay the foundation for what is coming.
Something we can all be happy about.
(These photos were from our latest adventure together where we found a new place for tacos, ice cream, AND coffee all in the same day. Oh and we stumbled upon a carnival. It was puuuuure magic. Not because it was perfect, but because it was perfectly us.)