Is a mother only as happy as her unhappiest child? Kind of, yeah. How do we find happiness in the daily slog? Our guest KJ Dell’Antonia, author of How To Be a Happier Parent, says the key is finding simple, concrete solutions for what isn’t working.
Is a mother only as happy as her unhappiest child? In our experience, yeah, pretty much. And studies (referenced below) back that up– although they also suggest many parents also derive their greatest happiness from their child-raising.
So how do we separate out our own sense of well-being from our children’s struggles? And in a more everyday sense, how do we find happiness in the daily slog?
We talk it out with guest KJ Dell’Antonia, former lead editor of The New York Times’ Motherlode blog and author of the brand-new book How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute. KJ says the key is finding simple, concrete solutions for what isn’t working– and letting go of some of the rest.
As KJ puts it:
When we’re not putting all our energy into getting our kids to eat and study and do everything exactly the way we want them to, we can put it into a much more positive place.
Nobody’s saying that you have to live in denial of your kids’ reality. But we think disengaging from our children’s struggles just enough so that our happiness isn’t directly pegged to theirs is the key to happier, more effective parenting.
Here’s links to other research and resources discussed in this episode:
Jordan Schrader for Alcalde: Parents’ Happiness Linked to Their Least Happy Child’s
Claire E. Ashton-James, Kostadin Kushlev, Elizabeth W. Dunn: Parents Reap What They Sow: Child-Centrism and Parental Well-Being
Julie Beck for The Atlantic: Study: Parents Only as Happy as Their Unhappiest Child
“Welcome to Holland,” by Emily Perl Kingsley
and Shakespearean voice teacher Patsy Rodenburg’s book The Second Circle, which Amy says has influenced her more than any book she’s ever read. Read its excerpts on parenting here.
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