Getting S’more Happiness

 So, it’s been a little more than a week since I decided to apply Zappos’ core values to my own family. (see previous post here) It has been both fun and frustrating. I decided to lure the restless natives in by toasting marshmallows over the flame on my stove and making S’mores. This is, in and of itself, an act of love since I’m not a fan of S’mores (I know, it’s very un-American of me) and cleaning sticky marshmallow in the house…yay. (Sometimes it’s even hard for me to believe that I used to be a fun mom)

I talked to the kids together and separately about my crazy plan to improve our happiness. I’m not sure how much they retained since my son insisted on making strange noises and tapping his foot against the island while I was speaking. I quickly moved on to such important topics as seeing the good in others even when you want to hit them with a rubber mallet. They seemed receptive to my suggestions (or maybe they just wanted me to shut up). Not a bad start, I thought.

Then reality set in. Within the first week of our search for a culture of happiness, the kids got sick, I got food poisoning, we had days off of school both planned and snow days (not a nice thing if you are autistic and love your schedule), and there was a full moon (trust me, it matters). God really has a sense of humor!

Our team spirit has suffered a lot through the years as a result of issues related to tough life beginnings for my kids and personality conflicts. You know how they say everyone has baggage? Well, my kids were pretty much beating each other over the head with their baggage. One child’s love of all things clean clashes with the master of messiness. One’s unpredictable behaviors set off someone else’s PTSD. And so on. The end result: one boy against two girls with one peacemaker thrown in for good measure.

I decided to lean on my family’s work experience to get us started. Because I’m a single mom, my kids have had to be a part of everything that I do around the house. They’ve been with me through plumbing disasters, fixing the house, cutting and splitting wood, and a whole lot more. We usually work well together (provided my two hypoglycemic have eaten recently, it’s not “that time of the month” for anyone in the group, and it’s not a full moon) and, over the years, we’ve always ended our work by admiring our accomplishment and cheering, “Go Briars!”

So Team Briar attacked some projects together with a focus on building a better team as opposed to completing the project. Some days, trying to build a positive team and family spirit with tween/teen hormones was like swimming with piranhas. But I put on my swimmies and dove right in. I’d like to say that the effects were miraculous and immediate but they weren’t. As with all things, change takes time and dedication.

My takeaways from this first step on the journey:

  • Having sickness and schedule upset probably worked in our favor since I tend to over-analyze and over-prepare (kind of hard to do when you just want to curl up in a ball and die from food poisoning).
  • My kids’ attitudes are directly linked to my own attitude (nothing like a little pressure to bring my A-game).
  • As a family, we thrive when troubleshooting and working. Even something as simple as making our own bread or cleaning products increases our team spirit.
  • I have allowed my own exhaustion and stress to steal away my happiness and enjoyment of my kids for too long.
  • I have really great kids!

I’ll keep you posted on our journey! Have a wonderful day!

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