Happiness is Living Through Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to everybody who is surviving the experience.

One of my earliest memories of motherhood was when my tiny little daughter who was too young to talk yet crawled all the way to the top of the stairs in the two seconds I took my eyes off her, and then when I called her name, turned to look and fell all the way to the bottom. My latest memory? Talking to her on the phone last night about surviving motherhood (hers) and life in general and hearing about her three terrific children, none of whom has fallen down the stairs that I know of. As if that weren’t enough on her plate, she mothers me. Guess she’s forgotten the stair debacle.

Call your mother, Argh. (Not necessarily the person who gave birth to you. You know, the person who mothers you. That one. Call her. Or him. Or them. Pick up that phone.)

+2

Working Wednesday, April 27, 2021

I ordered a whiteboard.

I’m so excited, I can’t stand it. I had several plans for how to mount one in my living-room-turned-office, but I finally just ordered a rolling one. Now I just have to keep working on the office so I can roll it in. (Well, I’ll have to put it together first, but you know what I mean.). And I’ll have a place to plot on again.

I have to go take another load of not-office-stuff out off the living room now BECAUSE I HAVE TO MAKE ROOM FOR A WHITEBOARD. Sorry. Very excited.

What did you work on this week?

+13

Happiness is Not $100,000

The Atlantic reports that a study done in 2010 found that while money can buy happiness if it’s lifting you out of worrying about bills into not worrying (which they defined as $75,000 or about $92,000 in today’s money) after that, it doesn’t make much difference to general contentment; another more recent study showed that more money after $100,000 doesn’t do much for your happiness. I’ve found this to be generally true depending on where I live; years ago as a single mother with lousy child support, every damn bill was a stress and I routinely priced out my grocery list before I went to the store and several times took a second job. And then my books began to make money and suddenly, paying bills wasn’t agony, I just wrote the checks. I went to the grocery with a list, but I could impulse things. I had a savings account for sudden disasters. I stopped doing a running calculus of how to manage money (although some things still stick: Every time the power goes off, I think, “Did I pay that bill?”). I wasn’t rich, but I was secure, and according to that study, secure was better than rich.

So how do you get happy after you hit security? According to that study, people. Connecting with people, having experiences with people, doing things for people. Share a meal or a vacation with people you love, pay people to do work you don’t want to do (thus freeing yourself and helping them achieve security), give to a charity you trust so you know you’re helping people. It’s people, not money; money just makes it easier to be with people.

Or, you know, start a blog so you can talk with smart, funny, kind people every week. Argh makes me happy; thank you all for showing up.

What made you happy this week?

+21

This is a Good Book Thursday, April 22, 2021

Just finished Crazy Rich Asians (yes, I am the last to read it) and the Murderbot short, and eh. Murderbot is always fun, but it read like some of Aaronovitch’s shorts, not really constructed as a story, more like outtakes. Still fun to read. Also some Michael Gilbert short stories that were well-constructed, and parts of Sh*t My Dad Says, which was funny, probably because I didn’t sit down and read it all the way through; it’s the kind of book you read a section in, laugh, and then go do something else.

What did you read this week?

+6

Working Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Krissie and I both need clean offices (she’s organizing the office she has, I’m making the living room into mine), so we agreed to start with pictures of the chaos. (No, you can’t see them, we have some pride.) Then we both agreed that we were comfortable where we were–she in her LaZBoy in Vermont and me in the guest room bed in NJ–so maybe later for the pictures . . . . I’m thinking this is going to take awhile.

What did you do this week?

+8