Finding Happiness @ Home

Let’s cut it to the chase.

Most of us are overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with life, with the children, with our husband, with ourselves, with our jobs, with our boss, with our bills.

Life just happens and you feel like you can’t even take a grip of it. Most of the times we just fall prey into the routine and motion of our day without much thought put into it.

Most of us here are mothers, stay at home or working. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like I’ve had enough of this life or when will this madness ever going to end. When will I stop getting pregnant? When will the workload ever ease out? When will the children stop fighting? When will there be an end to the noise and chaos in the house? When will my bills stop stacking up? When will my husband come home early enough to help me out with the kids and the housework? When will he ever measure up?

We have tons of questions like these going through our mind every day. Sometimes thinking about them is exhausting enough.

My husband often asks me “Are you happy with your life?

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His question never failed to make me think.

What is there to be happy about when you can’t even have a 5-minute uninterrupted coffee break?

FINE.

Well, despite all these seemingly insurmountable odds, I have good news for you, for us.

We have at the very palm of our hands the recipe for happiness.

Motherhood is divine.

That sleep you had to interrupt in the middle of the night to attend to your child who is sick, that dinner you lovingly prepared for your husband, that moment you bit your tongue so as not to unleash uncharitable words to your child who can’t eat fast enough in the morning or who woke up the baby for the nth time, that time you organized the living room for the third time during the day. All these little, unnoticed and often unappreciated things if we supernaturalize it, if we offer it to God, if we do it for and with love, it acquire a full and deeper meaning.

Either we find God in our ordinary everyday life or else we shall never find Him. – St Josemaria Escriva

Motherhood = Life of Service

Service is royal.

Why? Because Christ served and is still serving through us. It is pleasing to God.

The essence of our lives is to love. To love is to sacrifice. To sacrifice is to give-up one’s comfort, one’s self to make another happy.

Victor Frankl, an Auswitz survivor and a pyschoanalyst wrote in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, that “Those who have a “why” to live can bear with almost any “how”.

The one question we should always be asking in everything we do is “Why am I doing this? Is it for Christ?”.

Christ gives a deeper meaning to the things that we do. Our work becomes a smile of God. Affection will grow in the family.

Pope Paul VI (Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete in Domino (On Christian Joy)) Happiness is a spiritual thing, it is a gift from God. Happiness is a consequence of self-surrender. Happy people know that their joy stems from a heart that knows itself to be loved by God and which in its turn is madly in love with Him.

Remember, we are God’s project, His masterpiece.

Isn’t it true that you feel joy even after a long hard day of work? You are happy to see your children eating healthy food, enjoying each other’s company and growing in virtues. You are recognizing the impact of your hard work in their souls. Don’t you feel elated when your husband praises and thanks you for the meals you serve, for keeping the house warm and for being around and taking care of the children? Don’t you feel satisfied after you have performed your duty with your utmost best? Don’t you feel rewarded with the peaceful silence at the end of the day or a good night of uninterrupted sleep? These simple joys are the fruits of your demanding sacrifices.

Once we have experienced this joy, how do we ever keep it?

(1) Through prayer.

St Josemaria said” Prayer is all powerful.”

“Apart from me you can do nothing”.

Mental prayer is nothing but a friendly conversation in which the soul speaks, heart to heart with the One who we know loves us.

It is a loving conversation.

You pray in silence “Lord, I can hardly get up today and I don’t want to leave my bed. The baby barely slept last night and the rest of the kids are sick. I don’t know if I can through another day. I think it’s too much.”.

Then the Lord may answer, “Just breath. Carry on. Take it one moment at a time. Don’t even worry about the rest of the day. I will be your strength.”

(2) Go to the Sacrament of Mercy

It is difficult to experience God’s love if you haven’t experienced His mercy yet. The other name of God is Mercy.

We are not perfect and we make mistakes all the time. We carry that burden of guilt unnecessarily.

We have to lighten our load by going to Confession. Let Christ through the priest show us His mercy, His love.

(3) Another way to keep our happiness is through mortification or sacrifices.

Our lives as mothers and wives provide sufficient opportunities for self-denial. We don’t even have to invent, they come in naturally and profusely.

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Another difficult but fruitful sacrifice is loving our better half for who he is and not for who we want him to be. To renew our marital vows everyday. Most of us are overwhelmed with family responsibilities and commitments and we always expect our husband to help as much but sometimes they fail to meet that.

In this year of Mercy, Pope Francis is encouraging us to avoid judging people. The less we judge, the more we forgive. The more we forgive, the more healing takes hold in our marriages, in our families.

In his Catechesis on the Family (Wounds of the Family), Pope Francis emphasized that parents should focus more on the needs of their children and not to think obsessively of their own need for freedom and gratification. Children hurt more in silence and are spiritually wounded when husband and wives hurt each other in whatever way.

Let’s always think of the children.

(4) Rest.

Yes, we all need it. If I can take an hour afternoon naps with 6 children around me, I think anybody can. When our body is rested, our soul sings.

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I noticed that even if I was faithful to my schedule of prayer, if I don’t get enough rest, I still snap.

It is important that we do something different or creative even for an hour. Write. Read. Try a new recipe. Volunteer. Jog. Knit.

Make time to meet up with a friend. Many people around do not suffer from material poverty but spiritual ones. People need someone to listen to them, to counsel them. This is one of the spiritual works of mercy.

If we know of a family who is going through an extremely difficult time (i.e. the mother is ill, a child is hospitalized), a pot of hot meal will definitely help and go along way.

Old people in our parishes will certainly light up with a visit from a family with young children.

We cannot remain blind to other people’s misery.

(5) Fill your life with gratitude.

Thank God for your husband who puts up with your defects and strives to love you more. Be grateful for your children. They give your life a deep meaning. They help you mature spiritually. Be grateful for the house you live in, this is your children’s school of love. Be grateful that you can afford to stay home with your kids.

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Count your blessings and don’t focus on what you don’t have. The less you need, the more you have.

(6) Last but not the least is through divine abandonment.

Our brother or child who is in an inappropriate relationship, our best friend who can’t find a job, our old and sick parents, our disabled child. After we’ve done our best, let’s leave the rest to God. Let God do the worrying. Allow God to surprise us.

They said that women worry a lot. They worry more if there is nothing to worry about.

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Let us go through life completely convinced that we are daughters of God.

We have every reason to be happy.

So to answer my husband’s question.

I am happy with my life because I have him and it is grace filled.

St Therese of Lisieux said that “Everything is grace”.

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