Can We Waste Time to Get More of It?

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Happiness Project Lesson #2

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Remember, this is the Happy Trip. You are transforming the midwestern-crack-smoking-upbringing that taught us if we aren’t miserable, we really should not be satisfied… into luxurious happiness and contentment with life today. I am suggesting we make new habits based on Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, I am tailoring my blog to Anne’s Happy Needs rather than Gretchen’s. You can do it too. Click on the link, and you will get fed into her website, project newsletter, book snippets, and lots and lots of cool things.

Happiness Project

Giving is my focus for the month of December. I want to write about it, think about it, quote about it, and inspire it. The more we give the things we want from life, the more we will see them already in our lives. The more we foster generosity, the less lack we will feel. The more we give to our children, the more generous they will become as adults. The more abundant we feel, the more abundant the world will feel. We are blessed and can give back blessings to the world.

I want to give a lot of: Time, Love, Money, Acceptance, and oh yeah, Gifts.

Today is Time: I am learning (painstakingly slowly) that the more I rush around to get more time, the more precious time I lose. Like you, I want more time with my kids. So I rush around with our chores and order them around (as if they would actually act like efficient soldiers and not sneak off to log in to their FaceBook account).

The (false) focus is to rush through and get the jobs done so we can have some fun time together. But the more I rush, the more I miss out on the play and fun time. Sunday afternoon, while I was considering this point, I wanted to order them to finish decorating the tree. That was “the plan”. They started wrestling and then she was giggling and laughing uncontrollably. Soon after, he was skipping around the house singing with glitter garlands falling all over the carpet. That was not “the plan” and was “wasting time”. But if I were too focused on the plan to beat the clock and get the job done so that we could relax, I would have missed out on the fun time. I won’t lie- I did not in fact join the giggle-fest garland game. All I could do was breathe deeply (but not sigh!), and realize how screwed up I am that I could not enjoy it with them.

Huh. So the new goal is to slow down, and realize the Time I want to give my kids and I (and all of my relationships) is now, while I am folding the laundry, not after it is folded. It is now, during the only afternoon off to decorate the tree for 2 weeks. It is now.

New Habit for busy and crazed parent lifestyle: We will insert more time into our life with loved ones by choosing to do or join in on time-wasting behavior with them– We will sing while doing dishes, dance while walking around the house, and put down laundry to hug her and sit down to listen in the middle of a task. Then we get to mark it on the Happy Calendar every time we do this new habit (waste time with them). Wasting time with loved ones each and every day is the goal. I know it will be a terribly difficult new habit, but I think the rewards of learning to enjoy that time with our kids on their level will add a new dimension to our relationship, and therefore to our happiness!

*I am still creating this “Happy Calendar”; am not sure how to fit all these new habits in, but as soon as Delia and I figure it out, I will share it with you!


  1. I laughed out loud when I read the part about the efficient soldiers! It’s encouraging to know other moms feel the same way I do!
    The courage it takes to admit what you have admitted and the desire to change how you spend time with your kids is truly remarkable. Bravo! I am so inspired.

    1. Thank you Sara- We inspire each other to keep pushing ourselves to higher levels of loving and “showing up”.
      (Maybe we were drill sargents in another life and that is why we get so… with undone Christmas trees?!?)

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