I experienced burnout and depression in 2014 and it negatively impacted my kids emotional and overall wellbeing.
I am writing this article because I want to help parents understand how to find happiness from within and how to raise happy children because I learned that only happy parents can raise happy children.
My burnout to bliss journey
There are days I feel depleted, demotivated and disappointed because I have deep unexplainable unhappiness and emptiness within.
My life seemed perfect from the outside but I was empty from within.
I dared not to even speak about it, that I am not okay because I have everything I have always wished for – an audit manager job in Dubai, a great husband, amazing kids and a comfortable life.
I always love my job.
I love my life.
I love my husband and 2 kids and it was tough for me to accept that something is missing in my life because my logic says that I have zero reason to be unhappy and empty.
The burnout negatively impacted my health. The suppression of my emotions resulted in mental, emotional and physical burnout. I was always sick for no reason and worst is that my kids get sick often a lot too.
Unfortunately, no academic education, corporate or life experience taught me about happiness, its real meaning and how to find it so I started to question everything including my own existence.
- What is happiness?
- What is success?
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- What am I meant to do?
Fast forward to today, I now have all the answers to these difficult questions about life, happiness, success and its meaning.
Now that I know the answer to life’s most difficult questions, I committed to help other moms overcome stress and burnout through Working Moms Academy because I know how moms, kids, husband and families suffer when the mom is experiencing stress and burnout.
If you are finding life challenging now, you are not alone.
Loneliness increased by 300% according to study, 264 million of people are suffering from depression and 84% of working moms are stressed.
I am writing this article because I want to help parents understand how to find happiness from within and how to raise happy children.
Here are 3 A’s Every Parent Should Know to Find Happiness and to Raise Happy Children:
1. Ask Yourself and Your Kids About Your Personal Definition of Happiness
Happiness means different things to different people.
Millions of people are suffering from depression because most people define happiness based on society’s definition and parents’ programming.
This is one of my biggest mistakes in life , defining happiness based on what my mom said and based on society’s conditioning – having a stable job, a family and a career.
If you want to find true happiness and raise happy children, I learned that you need to ask yourself and your children what happiness means to each one of you.
For me, happiness is when I see my husband, kids and family happy and when I get to share my life learnings with others.
For my children, I used to think that happiness means buying them toys, new clothes, shoes, eating outside, sending them to a good school and travelling the world with them.
Image from Shutterstock
To my surprise, the definition of happiness to my eldest daughter is very different from what I thought. Here is a 48 second video of my daughter when she was 6 year old sharing what happiness means to her.
“What makes me happy When I am with my mommy, when I play with her, when I go outside with her, when I am with my family, when we sleep together, when we play together, when we play fun games and when I am with my family and friends. You can find happiness from your heart and not from anybody else because it is your choice to be happy.”
If you want to raise happy children, help yourself and your kids find happiness from your heart by asking questions. Have a regular conversation about happiness because the definition of happiness changes at different ages and stages.
If your kids understand from childhood that happiness is something personal to them, there are less chances of them experiencing loneliness and depression because they know how to access the inner wisdom from within on what is the meaning of true happiness.
2. Actively listen to yourself and to your kids
Listening is one of the most powerful tools to be happier and to raise happy kids because being “heard” is one of the basic needs of every individual.
When was the last time you listened to yourself? To what your body was telling you?
I learned that my chronic sickness in 2014 is my body signal that I am emotionally, mentally and physically stressed but I constantly ignore and hustle everyday and that excessive stress unfortunately led to burnout.
If you want to be happier, listen to your body because it is speaking to you all the time. Watch this video now and learn more on how listening to your body can help you and your kids become happier, and healthier too.
Ask yourself this question too, when you speak to your kids, do you actively listen?
One of my biggest mistakes as a parent is that I am not an active listener. This results in miscommunication and frustration with me and my children.
My daughter once told me, “Why are you always right and why I seem to always be wrong Mommy.”
This conversation was an awakening call for me to actively listen because I was made aware that this has been my mental model “Hurry up and finish talking so I can tell you what I think.”
If you want to raise happy kids, listen like a sponge and hear what is said. Afterall, you are given 1 mouth and 2 ears so you can listen twice as much as you speak.
Listen more to hear what your children are telling you and I guarantee you that you and your kids will be happier.
3. Accept yourself and your kids
Love and belonging are two the basic human needs. You may know this principle already but how are you applying this to yourself?
- Do you fully accept the imperfect version of you?
- At times, do you feel the emotional guilt that you are not a good mother?
- Do you forgive yourself for the things you did wrong and for the things you failed to do?
One of the biggest mistakes I made is being too hard and impatient with myself. I constantly blame myself and feel guilty for being an imperfect mom, wife and person. When I learned to embrace the imperfect version of myself and the full acceptance that I am a work in progress every day to grow as a better parent, person and partner, I started to live life with ease and grace. Accepting and forgiving myself everyday helped me become happier too.
For your children, ask yourself…
- What is your immediate reaction when your kids have low scores in school?
- What do you do if your kids make a mess and make mistakes?
- What do you do if your kids are not listening to you?
Do you get irritated? Disappointed? Do you yell or frown? How do you express your disappointment to your children?
Expressing your irritation and disappointment is perfectly normal but are you aware that all of these messages are perceived by your kids differently?
I remember my youngest daughter asking me with a teary eye, mommy, do you love me even if my scores in the exams are not high? Mommy, is it okay if I make mistakes?
This taught me the lesson that my kids relate my actions and emotions on how I love them based on their academic performance.
So I responded and said “ Baby, I am sorry if you thought that mommy’s love for you is based on your grades, remember that I love you and I am always here for you no matter what”.
Remember to tell your kids, they are loved and accepted no matter what mistakes they make because this can help them become happier knowing they are accepted and loved unconditionally.
Wandalyn Tan-Calupig is the Founder of Working Moms Academy. After suffering from burnout in 2014, she is helping stressed and burnt-out working moms find balance and bliss, so moms can “have it all” – personal and professional success. Subscribe to Working Moms Academy’s Youtube channel (bit.ly/YOUTUBEWMA) and find 58+ videos and new content every week that can help you overcome the stress, demand and pressures of everyday life. Working Moms Academy is a platform and community that supports mothers struggling with stress and burnout by providing life tools that education lacks. It is one of the 20 finalists (out of 128 applications) of the Built to Last 2020 Hackathon, The First-ever Virtual Hackathon for Female Founders in South East Asia.