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Pardon our dust! (And, yay for changes!)

We’re doing a little spring cleaning here at The Happiest Home! Sarah’s been working hard behind the scenes to switch us to a new theme that will make it easier for you to navigate content and discover gems that have gotten buried over the years. We appreciate your patience while we roll out the new changes, and – whoops! – apologize if some older content somehow winds up in your inbox along the way. Want to stay up to date on what’s happening here amid all the changes? Fill out the box below and we’ll get in touch with you via email

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Looking for inspiration and real-life connection? Join me at the BEYOND Retreat next fall.

You know one of the biggest benefits of slowing down and doing less? When you step off of the merry-go-round of doing, doing, doing just because it seems like, well, the thing to do, you suddenly have all this “new” time and energy and brain space to pursue things that mean a lot to you. For years I’ve been dreaming of putting together an event bringing together awesome women in one place to dream, plan, recharge and get inspired. And now it’s time to make it happen. In October of 2015 I’ll be hosting a small but mighty group of women (is

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“Fun Parent” vs. “Boring Parent” – It’s Not Fair! But Is It True?

My husband made this lunch for my daughter last week. I know. I should have known it was coming when I caught him poring over Bento box tutorials on YouTube, watching a woman meticulously arrange smiley faces onto tiny rice-ball heads, then cap them off with pita-pocket hats. The very next day, Jon made a special trip to the grocery store for supplies. And that evening, he and Clara hovered over the kitchen island for a good half-hour creating The Lunch To End All Lunches.  Heart-shaped salami framed by heart-shaped cheese slices, people. A tiny little star cutout peanut-butter sandwich with honey and sprinkles

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Delegate Like Downton: A Strategy For Managing Home Helpers

Imagine this: it’s a Sunday afternoon. One child just got done shoveling the walk, and another is unloading the dishwasher. You, on the other hand, are reading a magazine, sipping a cup of tea and enjoying the calm of a neat (enough) kitchen…that you didn’t even have to tidy up yourself. Sound like a fantasy? It’s not! It’s actually how my Sunday afternoon played out…and it’s a pretty common scenario around here. It hasn’t always been this way. Earlier in marriage and motherhood, I was surrounded by mess and chaos, and bogged down by resentment. Why didn’t other family members recognize

At Home with Meagan

5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools

I’ve been wanting to do a regular video series, like, forEVER. But when I had kids home with me during the day, I found it was just too difficult to find quiet pockets of time to shoot and edit regularly. A five-minute video may not seem like it takes much time to do, but there’s a lot of set-up and production involved, even in the most “candid” vids.  Now that my days are my own, though, I’m finding that I’ve got the space and quiet to take on some of those things I’ve been wanting to do! So, here it

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Whimsical Girl’s Bedroom Ideas

We’re moving! In less than two weeks my family is relocating to Southern California and we couldn’t be more excited. Our new house is ready and waiting for us and I’m itching to get into it and start settling in. One of the biggest differences between our current house and the one we’re moving into is the flooring. We have carpet now – lots of it – and we’re moving into a house with all hardwood floors. And while the new floors are beautiful, it’s going to be awfully echo-y in there until we get some area rugs down. One problem:

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Gardening with Kids, The (Really) Easy Way

I’ve always wanted to think of myself as the kind of mom who grows herbs indoors using a DIY seed-starting kit, turning toilet-paper rolls or egg cartons into frugal mini-gardens which nurture her child’s green thumb, creativity and resourcefulness. In reality, I’m the kind of mom who intends, every year, to start seeds indoors eight weeks before the ground is warm, or start a windowsill herb garden, but always forgets to gather the supplies or set aside an afternoon for putting together a system. So this year, I decided to skip all the usual “Oh man, I can’t believe I

a baby on my hip

I wrote this post a few years ago, but  I was reminded of it today…and think it’s especially apropos as I prepare for the launch of Beyond Baby, which is all about taking the time to think about how you want your life to look as you emerge from the intense stage of caring for babies. I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Recently I was reading one of my favorite home blogs, Young House Love, and saw a photo that made my heart give a little skip: a woman in a gorgeous white kitchen, getting a dish out of a cupboard, a chubby baby of about eight or nine months on her hip.

The photo, of course, was taken to show off the kitchen. And yet, though it was a beautiful kitchen, it was the mother and baby pair that caught my eye most. There is something about the sight of a mother with a baby on her hip that fills me with a wistful nostalgia, even though my youngest is still very much a baby and does often sit on my hip. The imagery feels so good and right and familiar to me, so quintessentially Mother. And while I’m still in the “baby on the hip” phase myself, looking at the scene with the mother-baby pair frozen in time forever, I was reminded that my life is not frozen in time at all. Whether or not Clara is really my last baby (and at this point, the consensus is that she is), at some point, all too soon, I will no longer have that baby on my hip.

It’s hard to imagine, honestly. It’s been part of my identity for so long, that newborn, or roly-poly monkey baby, or toddler taking lurching steps through the house. The longest I’ve gone between babies was four years between #2 and #3, and that felt like a long time.

Even as somebody who loves being a mom and feels very fulfilled by certain aspects of motherhood and homemaking, I still believe we need something else in our lives because these days, they are fleeting, and eighteen years from now when my nest is more or less empty, I’d still like to be a fully-formed human with goals and dreams and ambitions, not an empty shell wondering what happened to my purpose in life.

Not only am I quickly approaching a time when I no longer have a baby on my hip, sooner than I think I won’t have little hands to clutch while crossing the street, or a willing audience for picture-book reading, or a row of small mouths waiting for my killer PBJs. Thinking about what lies beyond is a little scary and a little sad, but it’s essential, because after my kids have grown, there will still always be me…and I’d better be interesting enough to keep myself entertained.

Whether it’s financial goal-setting, career ambitions or what our lives will look like when our kids are older, I believe all moms need to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, rigid, or permanent: just a general idea of the path we’re on, and the steps we’ll need to take to get where we want to go. We need and deserve the security of it, but also, the knowledge that life holds infinite possibilities for us outside of motherhood, even though our day-to-day lives are–for the moment–pretty wrapped up in it.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a plan for your life, now and in the future? What does it look like?

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