In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin accurately describes the way I’m feeling these days taking care of a defiant toddler and newborn baby – extremely happy, yet in a fog. It’s something she calls “fog happiness,” described as being the kind of happiness resulting from activities that, at the time, don’t seem enjoyable. Instead, feelings of happiness are delayed and appear once the fog clears. For example, hosting a party may bring happiness, but it’s not usually until after the party that we realize it.
This is exactly the way I feel about parenting; enjoying every single moment, yet not realizing much of the happiness until about 11 p.m. each night when the house has settled down. After watching and listening to coffee shop patrons, I found I am not alone. My favorite example of this concept was the exchange between a father and son one morning.
The man rushed in the front door, wearing a flannel shirt and stained jeans. His hair was fluffy and uncombed. At his side was his son, a toddler with curly blonde hair. The boy was fidgety and impatient until his Dad brought him a scone to eat. As most toddlers do, he wanted to eat the treat at his own pace, his own way.
The Dad, noticeably impatient, began helping the young boy.
“It’s OK if it’s broken; you’re only going to eat one piece at a time,” he said softly.
The boy didn’t seem to care and wasn’t ready to take the advice and instead continued taking his time.
“Eat it, throw it away, or put it in a bag to take with you,” the Dad said before picking the boy up and carrying him out of the building as if resembling a human airplane.
While the Dad might not have thought so at the time, I found his words to be helpful and applicable to parenting experiences. Accept them, get rid of them, or take them with you to look at once the fog clears.