Are you Happy, Mommy?

My little girl, who is a month shy of three years old, is sugary-sweet and firecracker combined into a 30-lb package.  My hopes and dreams for her span far and wide.  She’s taught me things that no one else could.  She thinks I hung the moon.  She’s a “Mommy’s girl” through and through.

Lately, she’s been asking me this question a lot:

“Are you happy, Mommy?”

Usually it gets asked after her or her brother have been disciplined.  Sometimes she asks me in the darkness of the night, when her little voice has called me to take her to the bathroom.  But once in a while it’s an out-of-the-blue, regular conversation question.

Most of the time, my answer is yes.  And it’s a genuine yes; I’m blessed to live a happy life.  But sometimes the answer is no.  No, I’m not happy that you just had a temper tantrum about which pants to wear.  Or threw your fork across the room.  Or hit your brother.  In those instances, I explain that I’m not happy about what’s just happened.  But what about the times when I’m just having a tough day and she can read it on my face?

From time to time, I struggle with my answer.  Her bright eyes peer at me, her head tilts, her concerned brow questions.  Am I happy?

  • Do I shield her two-year-old heart from negative emotion and keep her safe and secure in a world of only happiness and good outcomes?
  • Or do I show her the real-life stuff and teach her that emotions, both good and bad, can ebb and flow?

I choose the latter.

I think it’s important that children see their parents be sad and disappointed and frustrated.  Upset.  Worried.  Troubled.  And yes, even angry.  But I think it’s even more important that children see their parents handle these emotions constructively.

My kids see me cry.

My kids see me get excited.

My kids see me yell.

My kids see me laugh.

Emotion is a part of life, so it is the process of learning to deal with that emotion that will serve them well.

“Are you happy, Mommy?”

Yes, my sweet girl, more than you’ll ever know.

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4 thoughts on “Are you Happy, Mommy?

  1. I love this! Both of my boys struggle with their emotions, and I try to explain to them that it’s normal to feel sad, or upset, or angry, but it’s how we cope with the emotions that count. I’m trying to encourage them to talk through it if they need to, letting them know it will help! Great post 🙂

  2. Brian says:

    I”m happy you posted this! Love your posts Ashley.

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