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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

3 steps to deciding what’s important: Priorities, Perspective, and Probabilities

setting priorities

“Do less!” is a popular chorus these days – but it’s easier said than done. Perhaps the hardest part is choosing what to do…and what to let go of.  And then not feeling guilty or less-than when the stuff that doesn’t make our “most important” list seems so important to everyone around us.

With the early arrival of spring – okay, summer! – weather, my imagination has been full of big plans this week – and it’s not always easy to decide which of those plans to act on now, and which to put off until later (or shelve permanently). I wrote this post last year and thought I’d republish it today in case some of you are feeling that way, too.

Part of aiming low and going slow – one of my 10 principles to happier motherhood – is knowing where to invest your (precious) time and (limited) energy. We can’t do everything well. In fact, we can’t do everything, period–at least not all at the same time. In The Happiest Mom I laid out the “Three P’s” that can help you figure out what you want to do right now–and what you can let go of, even if temporarily:

Priorities

Maybe you admire the mom who frolics in fields of flowers with her children. Maybe you admire the mom who takes beautiful photos of her children frolicking in fields of flowers. Maybe you admire the mom who works hard all day so that she can afford to live in a neighborhood with plenty of fields of flowers for her children to frolic in. But as much as we might like to do all of those things, the bitter truth is that it’s pretty much impossible to work, frolic, and take photos at the same time. (I’d like to see you try.)

My point? Those are all admirable things, but that doesn’t mean you have to–or can, for that matter–do them all. Or at least, not all at the same time. So what are your top priorities? Remember, you aren’t locked in forever. Maybe right now, the personal satisfaction–or paycheck–that comes with having a career outweighs flower frolicking. Maybe, as much as you’d love to have professional-quality photos of your kids to show off later, right now the thought of lugging a camera to the park just makes you tired. Go with what’s really important to you in this season of your life. You can always change your mind later, or add on more goals if you are feeling particularly energetic.

Perspective

  • What’s the worst that could happen if…you can’t find that library book before preschool tomorrow?
  • In ten years, will anyone still remember that… you forgot to add the fabric softener?
  • Is there a possible upside to… the fact that you neglected to run the dishwasher last night (like, gasp, your kid might have to wash a dish by hand?)

As humans, we’re guaranteed to make lots of mistakes–and very few of them are tragedies. It’s pretty rare that our missteps and screw-ups are worth the mental energy we pour into them. Ask yourself the above questions in italics whenever you’re fretting about something late at night. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

Probabilities (instead of possibilities)

It’s great to aim high. It’s great to aim higher than high. But when making your to-do list, I recommend focusing on a few things you know you can accomplish with a reasonable amount of effort, especially when you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed by life. That doesn’t mean you never reach for the stars, but build a ladder that can get you there instead of trying to launch yourself with a makeshift catapult a la Wile E. Coyote. Got a big dream? Break it into steps. Now break those small steps into even smaller steps: ones you know you can pull off (you’ll know the steps are small enough when you don’t feel like hyperventilating just writing them down.) Move through them at a reasonable pace, checking off one action and moving on to the next. Going slow and steady you’re much more likely to get there than if you try to do too much at once, get overwhelmed, and fizzle out.

Do you ever find yourself trying to be too many different people at once, worrying about things that don’t really matter, or making “wish lists” instead of reasonable to-do lists?

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