Kids, Lifestyle, Motherhood

Happiness Project | Don’t expect praise or appreciation

March 1, 2015

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In our pre-marriage counseling class at church we studied the love languages and I learned that the number one most important language for me was…

….words of affirmation. I like gold stars. Always have. I used to rock that Pizza Hut Book It program, reading non-stop to add stars to my reading card for the free personal pizza. Yum yum! I guess it also explains why I’ve always loved working in sales. My success was directly linked with how many gold stars I received from closing a deal. When I first decided to be a stay-at-home Mom, my need for gold stars wasn’t being fulfilled in my new job like it was in sales. Unfortunately, there isn’t a diaper fairy handing out gold stars for setting the record for most diaper changes in a day or a tantrum fairy handing out a star because you figured out a way to get your kid to calm down after refusing to her wear the Tinker Bell costume to church. Don’t get me wrong, these little parenting victories feel really good. But dang it, I still need the star. So as a result, my dependence on getting gold stars from the hubby surged post-baby. And I can honestly tell you this directly impacted the overall happiness of our marriage.

Now that I’ve parlayed blogging into a part-time job, the need for the stars has definitely diminished, but it’s still a love language that needs nurturing. Example, once or twice a week I’ll run around like a chicken with my head cut off making sure the house is spotless when B comes home (trying to make this tidy routine more regular, thanks to January’s happiness resolutions). From the second he walks in the door the countdown is ON. Hand out that star or I’m going straight into resentment mode. And from that my friends, no good shall come. After really looking at this behavior, I realize it’s crazy town. Happiness resolution: “Don’t expect praise and appreciation.” If I’m going to clean the house, I’ll do it because I want the house to be more zen. If it’s a new recipe I’m cooking for my guy, it’s because I want to make it for him. So I’m making myself happy by having less clutter in the house and a new yummy meal to enjoy with B. Rather than anxiously waiting on a star the entire meal. Disclaimer: the majority of the time, B is really good at showing appreciation for my cooking. I know he fully grasps how hard it is to juggle kids and cooking something that doesn’t involve the microwave. Although my Grandma somehow seemed to do it effortlessly with SIX kids. My hero!

What’s your love language? What’s the most important love language for your significant other?


photo by Traci Ling


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