Lately, my three year old daughter has been frequently asking me, “Are you happy, mommy?” Usually it’s when she’s done something wrong and knows she is in trouble and wants to know if I am upset with her. Other times, she will ask the question when me and my husband are engaged in a deep, heated discussion about something or other. And many times, she will ask me this question out of the blue.
It is a seemingly easy question to answer. I can easily just say “yes” and get her off my back. Yet, there are times when she asks me this question that she stops me in my tracks. It is usually those times when I am, in fact, NOT happy, stressed, or afraid. And I just can’t bring myself to say “yes.” If I say “No, mommy is not happy right now” I feel obligated to offer an explanation as to why without going into too much detail. It’s like I’m in a therapy session. Then I ask her if she is happy, to which I always get an emphatic and unequivocal “YES!”
I believe our children are born with little mirrors they like to frequently hold up to our faces to remind us to be happy and content with our lives as much as possible. They have that intuition that senses when something is wrong in our hearts. And they are not afraid to ask why we feel that way. It is hard to always rise above the daily demands of parenting, careers, and other stressors that are out of our control…but I have to do it not only for my daughter, but for my own peace of mind. I am a much better parent when I am happy.
I realize that happiness is something my child WANTS, not demands, from me. She always reminds me to be happy with what we have been given and to live life with: