Choosing joy and what it means to me

April is turning out to be a rather reflective month for me. I’ve been intentionally reading more, which is one of my priorities this year, as part of carving and creating more time for myself.

It’s also been a joyful, happy and encouraging month. Thanks to all the photos I’ve seen under the #ichoosejoy initiative. Have you seen them yet?

As I looked through all the light and cheery pictures, I saw some common themes arising.

Many posted playful, fun-filled moments.

Loving family moments.

loving family moments

 Yummy moments. 

Beautiful and inspiring moments.

inspiring moments

Even the mundane, not-so-joyful, moments made it into the list.

And finally…heartwarming seeds-of-friendship moments.

friendship moments

If you look through the pictures again, you’ll see that they are filled with our favourite little people and places, and plenty of those warm fuzzy moments. Things that we can’t really put a price tag on, except maybe the food bit.

When I embarked on this project, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was just hoping that it would encourage others (and myself) to look for joy in our everyday moments. Even amidst the highly-stressed and fast-paced lives we now lead, I thought that surely we would be able to find something fun, funny, delightful, and joy-giving.

Just as this quote goes, “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

One mum and fellow blogger commented at the start, that even though she finds that her life is not quite full of joy now, she will give it a try.( I was glad that she did, and not just one picture too.)

For me, it’s also helped change my focus from the difficult days I’ve been having with the kids. As most of you would know, life with a headstrong, I-want-it-all-NOW toddler can be quite taxing, and it’s been the case for me.

I was struggling to choose joy, and to just enjoy my children just as they are.

But as I saw the beautiful moments captured here, I was forced to change gears a little, and to look at my temporary pains in greater perspective. To look at the bigger picture.

It helps to know that I’ve gone through these pains before with Vera, and she’s now more mature, and more able to listen, more able to love and give some thought to others.

It helps to know that there are many other parents and mums like me, struggling quietly in our little corners, and yet we have that ability to choose our feelings and to let joy and hope rise up in ourselves.

This is what #ichoosejoy is really about. So thank you. And please don’t stop choosing joy, chasing it, and capturing it here.

Do connect with all the awesome mums on instagram (user nicks shown above), and hashtag your pictures #ichoosejoy to make a difference in our community. 

#ichoosejoy

As a twenty-first century parent, stress comes in myriad forms.

From worrying if junior is doing well in school, to missing your little one who’s just started childcare, to juggling work demands with kiddy demands while working from home.

Stress also comes in the form of toddler meltdowns, of which we are thick in the middle of due to JJ’s entrance into the “age of unreasonableness” (otherwise known as the terrible twos).

Or sibling fights, which we’ve also become well-acquainted with of late.

Some days, I morph into a crazy / naggy / barking /complaining / frustrated / tired mum, or all of the above.

I wish life doesn’t have to have so much drama, but I guess we all have our fair share of bad days. Where small things can suddenly take on catastrophic proportions, and I start to act like Chicken Little.

When the day’s over, I would heave a sigh of relief, make mental notes about what went wrong and what not to do again, and snuggle under my safety blanket, praying for a good night’s sleep.

Just for that day or those few hours, I am unable to think of the joys that my family and children bring.

It’s a mental block.

What amazes me is how easily the kids seem to find joy. They bounce back to their original state of happiness, even after a massive meltdown, in a wink of an eye.

Look at JJ. Even after he’s been wailing for a good 10 minutes, if we manage to turn on the “calm down” switch through various ways like a change in environment, distraction, food (which often works on this greedy fella), he’s as happy as a lark the next minute, shouting “mommee” and waving the food bribe in my face with glee and grin.

I wish I could say the same about myself. After each meltdown episode, I feel like I need a really strong cup of latte (I don’t drink beer) and a walk in the proverbial woods. Alone.

It’s a daily clamber back to joyfulness. Parenting days have their fair share of joy and goodness and love and cuddles, but on such days, boy is it a struggle…

This is why I’m embarking on #ichoosejoy, a little picture project to remind myself that happiness is a choice we need to make daily.

And I’m inviting you to join me.

How?

1) Capture life’s everyday joyful moments on instagram.

2) Hashtag your photos #ichoosejoy, and tag me @june_yong (so I know you’re on this joy project with me).

3) You can also email me a joyful photo of your family, kids, or just the little things that bring you joy. And let me know if you would like to include a caption or quote to accompany the pic.

Why?

Because some of the happiest people I know are not those with smooth-sailing lives. They are those who deliberately choose joy and gladness in spite of their circumstances.

Because you might see some of the pics featured on the blog, or on the Facebook page! (If you’re happy for me to do that of course.)

Because it would be great to build a little joyful community. And to spread some cheer around.

If you’re wearing a happy outfit, #ichoosejoy

Your baby taking his first steps, #ichoosejoy

Brother and sister walking hand-in-hand, #ichoosejoy

Catching up with an old friend, #ichoosejoy

Each time you hashtag a picture with #ichoosejoy, be sure to do just that.

Choose joy.

And let’s watch it multiply. 😉

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