Pants are optional. Always.
In general, my son is a pretty happy dude. Sure, he’ll throw himself to the ground screaming in frustration if he ever catches me hiding in the kitchen sneaking chocolate, but overall he seems pretty satisfied with his life. What makes his life so great though? I mean, besides having me as a mother? I thought I’d take a look at what he appears to value and come up with “a toddler’s rules for a happy life.”
Keep the ones you love close
If I’m on one end of our living room working and my son’s toys are on the opposite end, you can bet your last dollar he’ll be at my feet or on my lap. If I’m working out, he’ll be the one sitting on my face during sit-ups and sprawled across my back during push-ups. You have to hand it to him — he knows the importance of spending time with loved ones.
Get outside as much as possible
Get out there! Explore your neighborhood, soak up some sun rays, and let your child get out some wiggles!
Let yourself be silly
Life can be stressful. Whether it’s jobs, schedules, keeping the house from its natural slide into entropy, or the fact that your kids need to eat even though you just fed them yesterday, there will always be something to stress you out. But you know how if you make a goofy face, your face might stick that way? If you hold onto that stress, you just might stick that way. As difficult as it can be, try to let yourself relax and be silly every once in a while.
Find pleasure in the simple things
Not only is my son perfectly content playing with cardboard boxes and sticks, but he gets super excited about fuzzy blankets, chin tickles, and stairs. Also, he makes “yummy” noises when he eats, which is just the most gratifying thing ever. I’ve found that when I follow his example and let myself get excited by the small things, I find more and more things about my life that I love.
Learn new things every day
Granted, this is a little easier when you’ve never before had the dexterity to work a zipper, but it’s still possible as an adult. For example, I recently learned the secret to awesome chocolate chip cookies (corn starch, chilled dough, cold baking pans). While Pinterest can be a torture device if used incorrectly, it’s also a cornucopia of knowledge. Just …maybe double-check those sources.
Nothing is more honest than a toddler. Who else is going to let you know that your butt is jiggly when you walk? Okay, maybe don’t be as honest as a toddler, but be honest. When you appreciate something, let it be known. When you’d like your partner to complete a chore, don’t just drop hints. Be upfront and ask them for help.
Do your thing
Again, this advice needs to be followed within reason. Maybe you want to ditch your kids and live life as the Mexican outlaws Raul and Consuela (high-five if you got the reference), but that’s not the responsible thing to do. However, if you want to wear yoga pants to the grocery store, go for it. If you want to feed your kids mac ‘n’ cheese, feed away. Toddlers aren’t afraid of other toddlers judging them — why should we care what other moms think?
Pants are always optional
This article originally appeared on Babble. For more like this from Babble, try:
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