Tagged: parenting Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 09:00:31 on 2018/10/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , , KJ Dell'Antonia, parenting,   

    “Worrying About Something You Fear Doesn’t Prevent It; It Does Keep You from Enjoying What You’re Doing Right Now.” 

    Interview: KJ Dell'Antonia.

    I've known KJ for many years. We first met when she was the editor of Motherlode, the New York Times online section devoted to "adventures in parenting" -- a section that  evolved into Well Family, where she was also a contributing editor.

    While she was there, KJ was my editor when I did a short Motherlode series about my love of picture books -- ah, what a joy it was to write about my favorite picture books! You can read what I wrote about Little Bear, Blueberries for Sal, The Little Engine That Could, or about the picture books that fill me with dread. And after my commentary, you can read KJ's commentary.

    Along with writer, teacher, and education expert Jessica Lahey, KJ also is the co-host of a terrific podcast #AmWriting, all about writing and getting things done. (My sister Elizabeth was a guest on an episode, and so was I.)

    As if all this weren't enough, KJ just published a terrific book: How to be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute.

    I couldn't wait to talk to KJ about happiness, habits, and productivity.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple habit or activity that consistently makes you happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative? 

    KJ: I’m a planner. For example, I write every day. I plan when I’ll write the day before (it’s usually first thing after I drop my kids at school in the morning which isn’t really first thing in the morning). If I can’t write then, I decide when I can write. I do the same thing with exercise (I don’t do much but I do it every day). I even block in space for little tasks. Right now, I need to decide how much my car is worth as trade-in. That’s minor and not really work, but it has to get done, and it won’t get done unless I plan a time to do it and then do—so I do.

    Possibly the most relevant side effect of this is that if I don’t plan a time to do something, it probably wasn’t important to me in the first place.

    Gretchen: What’s something you know now about building healthy habits or happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old? 

    KJ: I didn’t know anything about being happy when I was 18 years old! I thought you found happiness in other people, which, not surprisingly, never, ever worked. So the list of things I know now that I didn’t know then is long, but here’s a favorite—worrying about something you fear doesn’t prevent it, and it does keep you from enjoying whatever you’re doing right now. Plus, when things do go wrong, all we ever want is to be back in our nice cozy ordinary lives again—the ones we spent worrying about things that might go wrong! So, don’t do that.

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What has surprised or intrigued you – or your readers -- most? 

    KJ: My research is in the area of what makes parents happier, or less happy, and most people are surprised by what a consensus there is around what we most hate doing—which is disciplining our kids. Enforcing the rules, getting them to do chores, dealing with them when they screw up—we don’t like that, and we also don’t feel like we know how (which always makes people less happy). I don’t think our own parents felt that way.

    Gretchen: Do you have any habits that continually get in the way of your happiness?

    KJ: I stew. I pick something I’m worried about and then I worry it to death, or just go over it and over it and over it, especially on a long drive. I just soak in it. I had one setback, two years ago now, that I will STILL sometimes stew over when my brain just needs something to grab onto. Knowing I do it helps, but not enough.

    Gretchen: Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    KJ: I plan our entire week every Sunday. I have four kids, I work 30-40 hours a week and I help to manage our horse barn, so our weeks tend to have a lot of moving parts. Planning what’s going to happen when, who’s going to get who where and what we’re going to have for dinner every weeknight is key to my happiness. I’ve learned that I hate it when I feel rushed or harried, and I always feel harried without a plan. That said, it has to be MY plan. Unless I’ve already taken a deep breath and made a decision to just go along with it, I don’t usually like other people’s plans. My plans are better.

    Gretchen: Have you ever managed to gain a challenging healthy habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?

    KJ: I run a mile every day. I hate running. I hate mandatory exercising, really. I hate having to do anything physical, I hate having a plan to meet someone to work out or a scheduled class. I get bored with nearly every physical activity in about 25 minutes. But obviously I need to do something.

    My husband has a treadmill, and I ‘d been reading about interval training, and I thought, well, I’ll run for three minutes four times with a minute in between. Anybody can run for three minutes, right?

    That turned out to be about a mile, and after a while, the walking minutes in between started dragging the whole thing out. So I decided the mile was my goal. That was a little over two years ago, and now I’m a little compulsive about it. I get up every day and just do it first thing, and then I’m done for the day—and even if I don’t get out of my chair for the whole rest of the day I’ve got that going for me.

    Gretchen: Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger

    KJ: I’m a Rebel, although because I’ve held down jobs (maybe for not very long) and obviously I can get my writing done, it took me a while to figure that out—but nothing else fit. Then I remembered how, even as a kid, I would say to myself “I don’t have to do that (homework, show up to class, not steal stuff). I just choose to, because I don’t want the consequences.” And once I knew, it was so clear—and it really does help me to know. Now, when I actually want to do something, I make sure to remind myself I don’t have to, and I usually don’t set a time. I also use the strategy of making it part of my identity—and I also rebel by defying other people’s expectations that I can’t or won’t do certain things.

    I credit my dad for helping me be a successful Rebel. He’s one himself (with a big Questioner bent), and he’s always setting out to prove people wrong. You say I can’t put myself through college? The hell I can’t! Say I’m not good enough for that job? The hell I’m not!

    It’s kind of a combative approach to life but it works for him. I’m less combative about it, but it works for me, too.

    Gretchen: Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    KJ: If I don’t run first thing in the morning, it’s hard for me to do it at all. (If I’ve planned on a time, I usually can, but if there’s no plan beyond “I’ll do it later” it’s not happening. Similarly, If I don’t meditate right after I run, I almost certainly won’t. Clearly pairing works well for me!

    Gretchen: Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you made a major change very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.? 

    KJ: In one of Laura Vanderkam’s early books, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, she reminds us that most of what we do every day involves some kind of choice. You’re “too busy” to chaperone the field trip but not “too busy” to drive 5 hours round trip to pick up a kitten your family has been waiting for—because you choose the kitten, but not the field trip. (That might just be me.)

    So I stopped saying I was “too busy,” ever—because I’m not too busy. If I want to do it, I’ll find time. If I don’t, I won’t. For the most part, with some exceptions, it’s that simple—and recognizing that changed how I looked at my time, which I think changed my life.

    Gretchen: Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”) Or a quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?

    KJ: “Decide what to do, then do it.” That’s one of my mantras for parental happiness, from my book How to Be a Happier Parent—but I find it generally applicable. I often feel frozen at the beginning of a project or when faced with a lot of choices. “Decide what to do, then do it,” reminds me just to pick a road or a topic or a small piece of the job and start. You can nearly always change course, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t start.

    How to be a Happier Parent

     
  • feedwordpress 09:00:32 on 2018/06/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Father's Day, , parenting   

    My Father’s Advice for Being Happier and Forming Habits 

    Here in the United States, Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 17.

    I’m a big fan for using dates as milestones, as prompts for self-reflection or for action. People say Father’s and Mother’s Days are Hallmark-driven, consumerist holidays—but I think it’s nice to be reminded to think about my father, and to remember everything he’s done for me.

    Ditto with Valentine’s Day, January 1, spring cleaning. I find it very useful to be prompted to take a moment to celebrate the people I love, and to take stock of how my life could be made better.

    As I was thinking about my father, I reflected on all the good advice he’s given me over the years—both for helping me to be happier at home and at work, and helping me to develop good habits, especially the habit of exercise (which doesn’t come naturally to me at all).

    Some highlights:

    1. "If you’re willing to take the blame when you deserve it, people will give you the responsibility." This advice from my father is the best advice for the workplace I’ve ever received. I think about this all the time.
    2. "As a parent, at some point, you have to switch from being an advisor to cheerleader." (If you want to hear me talk about this advice, you can listen to this short episode of "A Little Happier.")
    3. "Alas, there are no wizards." My father reminded me that it can be tempting to believe that if I could just find the right helper, the right adviser, the right person to do a job, all my problems would magically be solved, and I wouldn’t have to be worried or involved with a project any more. But while there are smart and capable people, if something’s important to me, I have to stay involved. I can’t just delegate to some wizard.
    4. "Energy." My father always stresses the value of energy. In large part because of this, the first chapter of my book The Happiness Project is devoted to energy. (Here are nine tips for giving yourself an energy boost in the next ten minutes.)
    5. "Enjoy the process." My father always emphasizes that if we can enjoy the process, we’re less concerned about outcomes, and we’re less devastated if our efforts end in failure or frustration. That's a big help in the world. It also makes for a much happier, more mindful life.
    6. "All you have to do is put on your running shoes and let the front door shut behind you." Back in high school, when I was first trying to get myself in the habit of daily exercise, he gave me this advice. It’s an excellent mantra for all couch potatoes trying to pick up an exercise habit. Just put on your shoes and step outside! It’s one of my Secrets of Adulthood: It’s enough to begin.
    7. "Go to the library." When I was growing up, my father—and my mother, too—often suggested making a visit to the library. This family habit meant that I always had plenty of books to read, of whatever kinds of books I wanted at the time. Many of my happiest and most vivid childhood memories involve the Kansas City Plaza library. But more than giving me good advice to visit the library, my father also set a good example by reading books all the time, himself. Example is more persuasive than precept.

    Speaking of books, if a father in your life might enjoy a book for Father’s Day, might I suggest my short, unconventional biography, Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill? Judging from the emails I receive in the weeks following Father’s Day each year, I’ve concluded that many people give it as a Father’s Day gift.

    Or if a father in your life is working on an important habit, consider my book Better Than Before, which explains the 21 strategies we can use to make or break our habits. It turns out that it’s not that hard to break a habit, when you do it in the way that’s right for you.

    Fun fact: in book publishing, Father’s Day is a major event, because so many people give books as Father’s Day gifts.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:02 on 2018/06/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Pam Lobley, parenting, ,   

    “Let’s Take the Pressure Off, and Enjoy the Passage of Time.” 

    Interview: Pam Lobley.

    Pam Lobley has been a columnist and writer for many publications, including the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, BlogHer, and others.

    She's also the author of the book Why Can't We Just Play?: What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too Busy.

    Pam Lobley's work reminds me of my one-minute video about "The days are long, but the years are short." You can watch it here.  It also reminds me of my resolution in my book Happier at Home, to "guard my children's free time."

    I couldn't wait to talk to Pam about happiness, habits, and productivity.

    Gretchen: What’s something you know now about building healthy habits or happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Pam: When I was 18, I figured happiness would be found in grand adventures, success, and accomplishments. But I have found that my deepest happiness has come not from the extraordinary days, but from the ordinary ones. Big accomplishments and milestones do bring happiness, but they can also bring stress, change and pressure. A new job or a book publishing deal are wonderful, but they also can mean taking on new and difficult tasks and pressures. A fancy vacation is delightful, but the expense, scheduling and unexpected disappointments can diminish the joyful feeling - like the time we took the kids to Disney and they weren’t that interested in the rides. They just kept asking when could we go back to the hotel and swim in the pool!

    Running into a good friend while I’m walking the dog or driving to the orthodontist with my son and talking about his day ... these regular moments bring me so much happiness, notably because they are built in to my life and occur naturally. Realizing that they make me happy leads me to another realization - my life is a happy one! This kind of appreciation of the present moment would not have been possible for me to understand at age 18.

    Gretchen: Do you have any habits that continually get in the way of your happiness?

    Pam: I hate to admit this, but I am not that organized. I think I am, and I always have a to-do list, but in reality everything takes longer than I think it will, I let stuff slide left and right, and then I end up late and rushing. Rushing kills my joy every time. That feeling of being behind and trying to finish a few things before time runs out is so distracting and defeating. The rushing itself makes me unhappy, then it compounds itself because I tend to make bad decisions or feel irritation when I am rushed - and that leads to further unhappiness.

    Gretchen: Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    Pam: I need 7+ hours of sleep a night, I exercise several times a week, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and I get outside for some time every day. Without these things I am super cranky and definitely not creative.

    Gretchen: Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger

    Pam: Questioner! Questioning the conventional wisdom of raising children today is what led me to write my book Why Can't We Just Play? What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too Busy. I asked myself, "Why is our family life so overscheduled, and when did parenting get to overwrought and frantic?" I answered it by removing all our activities for an entire summer, and letting my sons, ages 8 and 10 at that time, "just" play. Because we had NO scheduled activities, no camps, no classes - nothing but play and free time - I wryly referred to that summer as "a summer from the 1950s" and read and researched that era as the weeks went by. Adopting the 1950s mindset offered sharp perspective of current family values. Was that decade a better time to raise children? Well, it certainly was a simpler time. People did not check emails at midnight or enroll their 12 year olds in travel baseball leagues with 4 games a week.

    We think of the 1950s as a time when conformity reigned supreme, but there is plenty of conformity in this era as well. The pressure to control and improve your children, and to micromanage their days is true for the vast majority of middle class families. Once I got off that merry-go-round, I saw my kids more clearly. They needed tremendous amounts of down time, and they were growing up in a world which provided almost none. In addition, I became aware that the more we rushed around, the faster I felt they grew up, and the less time I had to enjoy simply being with them. Being a Questioner is the reason I had the idea, and then the stamina, to carry out that experiment.

    Gretchen: Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to "Be Gretchen.") Or a quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?

    Pam: I love that line from the James Taylor song, "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time..." I’m somewhat obsessed with the passage of time. I am constantly aware of how precious our time on earth is, how quickly kids grow up, how life can change in an instant, of how memories we create are kept alive. Resisting the urge to do more, building free time our family’s schedule is something I strive for daily, though not always successfully. Savoring days when the kids are growing up is especially important to me, but every stage of life has its treasures and opportunities, and I don’t want to blur past them. A phone call with my sister, planning a party with my husband, shopping with my teen for his prom tux ... rather than pressing through those tasks, I remind myself to take my time. Let those moments be ones of happiness. Let things take longer. Let’s take the pressure off, and enjoy the passage of time.

    Why Can't We Just Play? by Pa m Lobley

     
  • feedwordpress 12:00:14 on 2018/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , book recomendations, , , , favorite books, parenting   

    My Favorite Books About Parenting. 

    Mother’s Day is coming up, so in honor of the holiday I decided to make a list of my favorite parenting books. I’ve read many parenting books, but there are a few that really stand out to me – in many cases, I’ve read these books several times.

    One thing I've discovered is that when a parenting book is truly excellent, its advice is just as helpful for dealing with adults as with children. Children and adults are more alike than we sometimes assume. For instance, when I was researching habits for Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I did a fair amount of research on the design of pre-school and kindergarten routines.

    So after reading these books about parenthood, I’ve applied most of what I learned to my adult relationships, with equal success:

    1. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

    How I love this book! It has helped me tremendously as a parent – and in every other aspect of my life. In fact, I probably think more about its lessons in the context of adult interactions that I do of child interactions. I've read it at least five times. It’s very wise, and it’s also a very fun read.

    One of the most important lessons I learned from this book? Make people feel happier by acknowledging that they’re not feeling happy. When we acknowledge the reality of other people’s feelings, they know they’re being heard. Instead of denying feelings like anger, irritation, fear, or reluctance, we do better to articulate the other person’s point of view. It turns out that when people’s bad feelings are acknowledged, those feelings dissipate more easily.

    This was a giant revelation to me. It really, really works. If you’d like to read a post I wrote on this subject, it’s here.

    2. I also love Faber & Mazlish’s book Siblings Without Rivalry.

    3. Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum.

    I love this book, in part because it’s a terrific book and in part because it was written by two people whom I really like and respect. In fact, as I describe in my book The Happiness Project, I played a small role in the book’s inception. (You can also read that story here.)

    If you want to listen to a two-minute episode of "A Little Happier" where I describe one of the many wise things that Nancy Schulman said to me, it’s here.

    4. Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children by Michael Thompson.

    I’m a giant raving fan of Michael Thompson’s work. It’s practical, realistic, and insightful, plus it’s written in a very engaging way.

    Here’s a post I wrote about a passage from the book about why it’s a bad idea to "interview for pain." Again, this principle is just as true for adults as for kids.

    5. I also love Thompson’s book Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems. If you want to hear "A Little Happier" episode where I talk about one of the most important lessons I gleaned from that book, it’s here.

    6. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel.

    This is a very useful book that emphasizes why it’s important to let children make mistakes, suffer consequences, handle disappointment, and deal with boredom as part of their growing up.

    What are your favorite books about parenthood? I’d be especially interested in any recommendations aimed at parents of twenty-something children. My older daughter isn’t twenty yet, but she will be, before I know it. The days are long, but the years are short.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:37 on 2018/02/06 Permalink
    Tags: Anya Kamenetz, , parenting,   

    “I Can Be Critical, Yet Also Defensive (I Can Dish It Out, But I Can’t Take It.)” 

    Interview: Anya Kamenetz.

    I got to know Anya Kamenetz through a writers' group to which we both belong. Among other subjects, such as education and student debt, she writes about something that's of deep interest to just about everyone in the world today -- how to use technology to make our lives happier, healthier, more productive and more creative, and not to let it get in the way of those aims.

    Technology is a good servant but a bad master -- so how do we master it?

    Her new book just hit the shelves: The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life.

    This is an issue many parents face -- how to think about and manage children and screens. One of her great conclusions for how to think about screens: "Enjoys screens. Not too much. Mostly with others."

    I couldn’t wait to talk to Anya about happiness, habits, and productivity.

    Gretchen: You’ve done fascinating research. What’s the most significant thing you’ve concluded?

    Anya: I think we're going to look back on this first decade-plus of the smartphone era and it's going to be like smoking, or riding in the car without a seatbelt, or drunk driving. Like, WHAT were people thinking? And there's going to be a massive citizen movement, public health interventions, and maybe some litigation before things get better.

    Gretchen: What’s a simple habit that consistently makes you happier?

    Anya: I don't regularly meditate, but I stop and take deep belly breaths throughout the day, especially before I pick up the phone, go into a situation that makes me anxious, or go to bed at night.

    Gretchen: What’s something you know now about happiness, health, creativity, or productivity that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

    Anya: You don't have to be friends with people who don't make you feel good. The world is full of plenty of wonderful people who will love you and want to spend time with you.

    Gretchen: Which habits are most important to you? (for health, for creativity, for productivity, for leisure, etc.)

    Anya: A habit I started after doing research for The Art of Screen Time was to keep my phone out of the bedroom. Sleep researchers believe that some of the worst problems we see in children and adults in connection with technology, from obesity to anxiety, stem from excess exposure to blue light interfering with melatonin production. I also watch less TV than I used to, limiting my screen time overall.

    Gretchen: Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?

    Anya: I'm a Questioner all the way.

    Gretchen: Have you figured out any strategies to help harness the strengths of your Tendency – or to offset the weaknesses or limitations of your Tendency?

    Anya: I have to do tons of research before I commit to a strategy for self-improvement, and it also helps if I have others with whom I can discuss ideas for positive change--not necessarily to hold each other accountable but to stay inspired.

    Gretchen: What’s a complaint that others often make about you? What’s your response to that? (e.g., you’re too rigid, you ask too many questions, you never take time for yourself, you never listen.)

    Anya: I can be critical, yet also defensive (I can dish it out, but I can't take it.) What often seems to help is to shift the conversation into a problem-solving mode, so that it's less about blame for what's happened in the past and more about how we can both make it better in the future (whether that's a hug or a new family or work habit to follow).

    Gretchen: Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits? (e.g. travel, parties)

    Anya: Since 2016 the biggest interference has been an adorable baby girl who gave me insomnia as a fetus, didn't sleep through the night as an infant and as a toddler likes to start her day at 4 or 5 in the morning.

    Gretchen: Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you made a major change very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?

    Anya: I was a week overdue with the aforementioned baby, completely miserable, watching the runners of the New York City Marathon stream by in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. I suddenly said to myself, "Next year, you'll be running that course!" And, I did!

    Gretchen: I would also, of course, shine a spotlight on anything that you’d particularly like to bring to readers’ attention.

    Anya: I want people to know that they don't have to feel guilt or shame about their own or their kids' tech habits, but it's important to start talking about what is and isn't working so we can make changes.

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:34:42 on 2017/05/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , parenting,   

    A Little Happier: Some Sage Parenting Advice from My Father. 

    My father gave me some wise advice when he told me, “As a parent, at some point, you have to switch from advisor to cheerleader.”

    I hear advice all the time: “Parents need to let children make their own mistakes, let children fail, give them independence,” etc., but I understood that idea much better when my father put it into those terms.

    And thinking about my own experience as I was switching from law to writing, I realize how valuable it was for me — when my parents acted as cheerleaders rather than advisors when I was making a challenging decision.

    Now that I’m a parent myself, I realize that this is far easier said than done.

    Have you had to hold yourself back from giving advice to your children, or other family members?

     

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

     Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Some Sage Parenting Advice from My Father. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:56:26 on 2016/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: breakfast, , , , , , , , parenting, , , ,   

    I Forgot to Take My Own Advice. 

    barnabypumpkin

    Yesterday was Halloween.

    In The Happiness Project, I write about celebrating “holiday breakfasts” — when, for minor holidays, I make breakfast fun for my family by putting holiday decorations  on the table and using theme colors (I dye the peanut butter black, dye the milk green, etc.). I keep it simple, so it doesn’t become a stressful obligation.

    In the most recent episode of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, my sister Elizabeth and I talked about the fun of holiday breakfasts, and I described my Halloween traditions.

    One of the main themes of my happiness project is memory. Time is passing so quickly; I worry that I won’t remember this time of life, what it’s like to have children this age. My shorthand for this worry is The days are long, but the years are short (of everything I’ve ever written, my one-minute video, The Years Are Short, is the thing that resonates most with people).

    Celebrating minor holidays is one way to make time stand out. Because this day was unusual, it’s more memorable.

    Another theme of my happiness project is light-heartedness. Instead of marching around checking things off my to-do list all the time, I want to take time for silliness, for fun, for adventures.

    Holiday breakfasts are fun, make time special, and are manageable.

    But here’s the thing. I know all this — and yet yesterday morning, I completely forgot to celebrate the holiday breakfast! That morning, I realized that it was Halloween, but it never once occurred to me to set up the decorations.

    After all that discussion — I just forgot.

    I realized by mid-day, when my daughters were already at school, so I set everything up later.  But I’m still kicking myself. Breakfast is more fun than dinner! Sheesh.

    But oh well. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, I bet I won’t forget again. And I still took photos, and we got to enjoy the skeleton plates and pumpkin heads.

    As you can see in the photo, our dog Barnaby was very intrigued by the holiday breakfast dinner decorations.

    After the podcast episode, many people sent me photos of their holiday breakfasts, and I’ve loved seeing them (plus I’m planning to steal some of the ideas).

    Do you celebrate holiday breakfasts? Or do you do something similar to make time special — in a manageable way?

    The post I Forgot to Take My Own Advice. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 04:09:14 on 2016/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , contentment, , , more, parenting, , , satisfaction   

    A Little Happier: Having More Doesn’t Always Make Us Happier. 

    toycars

    I wrote about this story in my book The Happiness Project; its lesson is just as true for adults as for children.

    I’ve never forgotten about that little boy saying sadly, “I can’t love lots of cars.”

    If you like this story, and would like to hear more wisdom from the teacher who told it to me, you can check out the excellent book that she wrote with her colleague: Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years, by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum.

    If you want to get the  Moment of Happiness newsletter, where I email you a quote about happiness or human nature every morning, sign up here. I love gathering and sharing quotations.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Having More Doesn’t Always Make Us Happier. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel