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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

Sunday Morning Tea: Re-Entry

Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it taught me or illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being a human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for rest and reflection, pour yourself a comforting beverage, and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

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If you’re curious about why this Sunday’s post is a few hours late, I can sum it up for you in one word: Re-entry.

This was my first full week back to Real Life after the winter break that wouldn’t end. My kids had three snow days the week they were supposed to return to school; the first morning they went back, Jon and I left right after to catch our flight to Las Vegas.

And though it was convenient and amazing to be able to escape Real Life for a while after such a long, cold, and rewarding yet chaotic period of togetherness, when we got home on Sunday we walked into a real mess.

The Christmas tree still up – and decorated; the huge mountain of laundry I’d neglected to keep up with over the holiday; and now with the addition of two suitcases lying side by side near the back door, waiting to be emptied and dealt with.

My physical self felt the strain, too. Two weeks of holiday eating plus three days of Vegas living; a messed-up sleep schedule, and not making it to the gym for almost a month left me feeling bloated, achy, and mentally foggy.

So what did I do? Well, on Monday – despite a huge backlog of shifted deadlines – I mostly “took to my bed.” I spent the morning answering emails and writing while in a reclining position, and by the afternoon, managed to make it to the grocery store and then cook dinner. 

Then I watched Downton Abbey. In bed.

By Tuesday I had made it through a couple loads of laundry – enough to keep the household going, anyway. 

On Wednesday I unpacked most of the suitcases and cleaned my office, which had become a dumping ground of gift receipts, wrapping paper and notes from school I told myself I’d “deal with later.”

By Thursday I finally had the gumption to start taking decorations off the tree, which was basically a six-foot tinder box by then. 

And on Friday, I finally – finally – made it back to yoga. My body thanked me.

I’ve learned over the years that re-entry can’t be forced. It’s tempting to say “Today is the day life gets back on track!” but if your body, mind and spirit aren’t ready to jump in with both feet, you’ll just end up curled up on the floor if you take it too fast. 

And I find that if I give myself a little patience and a lot of grace, all the things that must be done do, eventually, get done. When I allow myself to build back up my strength and efficiency and productivity gradually, I get back to the place I was before: humming along with energy to spare; Getting Life Did with relatively good cheer.

When I force it, tring to fill a single day or two with all the backed-up tasks that didn’t get done for two or three weeks, I resist and crash…and get very, very grumpy.

There are still holiday decorations to box up, there is still a backlog of laundry, there are still things in my suitcase that need to be put away. So today I’m in my slippers and house sweater, shuffling around the house slowly, getting things done but trying not to stress about them. 

Those “must-get-dones” aren’t going anywhere, and I’m working to feel no shame or anxiety about my plodding pace. One foot in front of the other, persistent, consistent: it’ll all get done, one way or the other, eventually. And in the interim, life is still for living.

All of it: the productive days, the holidays, and those foggy, messy, confused re-entry days.

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