It was a Friday afternoon.
I was at work, trying to finish a document due first thing Monday morning.
Finishing it Friday afternoon meant saying no to working over the weekend.
Ty was already home after picking up both girls. Texting me cute pictures of them. Asking when I’d be leaving work. Saying he had a surprise waiting for me at home.
So I hurried.
At 5:09 pm, I shut my laptop. I loaded up with my laptop bag, my pump bag, and my purse. Then a quick stop at the fridge to get my milk cooler.
In the elevator, the bags started to slide off my shoulder. I heaved them back up with a super graceful grunt.
And then I was in front of the door to outside. I pushed it open, and…
72 degrees, sunny, and blue sky for miles.
That feeling of walking out of work on a Friday? You can’t beat that.
If I won the lottery, I’d still keep a day job just so I could get that Friday afternoon buzz.
(Just kidding. I’d totally quit and take Friday afternoon naps instead.)
What Was Waiting For Me
Earlier that week, I’d fallen in love with a new-to-me song. Riptide by Vance Joy.
But I hadn’t bought it yet. Ty buys all our songs on his Apple account, and we use the same iTunes for syncing our phones.
Ty bought Riptide the day I told him about it, and he’d been listening to it on repeat in the car and at his desk.
Me? I’d been listening to the iTunes sample on repeat.
Not quite the same effect.
Especially when you’re sitting at a stoplight, belting out the words to that 30-second sample and your phone signal drops, and you’re left listening to your own horrible voice a cappella.
I should have just shelled out the $1.29 to buy the song myself. But every $1.29 saved brings me 20% of the way towards a 6-pack of gluten-free cookie dough truffles from Whole Foods.
That Friday afternoon, I dumped my bags in the passenger seat of the car, opened the sunroof and all the windows, and queued up the Riptide sample on my phone.
But it wouldn’t load.
I couldn’t even get a measly 10 seconds out of the sample.
At every stoplight, I pressed stop and start to force the sample to reload.
By the final stoplight, I realized I’d spent the whole drive home monkeying with my phone and distracted myself from soaking up the most gorgeous weather of the year.
So I drove the final stretch in silence. I could have turned on the radio, but I wasn’t willing to take a chance of landing on Let It Go.
Instead, I pictured the girls at home, playing together and laughing. The whole weekend ahead of us. And what surprise could be waiting for me. Then I knew…
COOKIE DOUGH TRUFFLES.
Yes, it must be, I thought.
And drove faster.
A Feeling Like No Other
When I walked in the door, I threw my five trillion bags down in the kitchen and rounded the corner to the living room.
There was Ty, with Bailey in our trusty Stokke carrier, and Abby.
They all looked up and smiled big.
A warm feeling spread from my chest to my belly, and it was somehow stronger than the usual feeling of walking in the door on a Friday afternoon to my beautiful family.
And that’s when I realized what my surprise was.
The notes of Riptide filled the house.
I walked into the living room, took Abby’s hands into mine, and we all had a good old-fashioned family dance party.
p.s. I was wrong about the cookie dough truffles. But don’t worry – I just so happened to drink the last of the milk at dinner so we HAD to run to Whole Foods that night for milk…and other stuff.
12 Happy Songs: Dance Music for Kids and Parents, Too!
Here’s a playlist that’s fun for the whole family to shake their booties to. These contemporary, upbeat tunes have clean language, but unlike most dance music for kids, they’re not so kiddish that you’ll lock yourself in the bathroom til they’re over. Yo Gabba GAG ME.
Next time you and/or the kids have a bad case of the crankies, fire up a few of these songs and dance away the bad mojo. (Research shows that babies and toddlers get a big dose of happy when moving their bodies to a rhythmic beat.)
You’ll tire the kids out before bedtime, plus you’ll burn a few calories yourself. Which means you can skip working out, or at least skip feeling guilty for not working out.
1. When Can I See You Again? by Owl City
2. Hey Mama by Mat Kearney
3. Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson
4. More of This by Vetiver
5. Hey Na Na by Katie Herzig
6. Brand New Day by Tim Myers
7. Sleepy Tigers by Her Space Holiday
8. A-Punk by Vampire Weekend
9. Riptide by Vance Joy
10. The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti and Spearhead
11. Kids by MGMT
12. Black Horse & The Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall
How to Find Happiness in the Chaos of Parenting
After my family welcomed our third little one into the mix, we became a family of five with a second-grader, a toddler, and a newborn. Even though I could have used more sleep and way more coffee, we were happy. Then my husband’s paternity leave ended, and I was at home with the kids all day. As time wore on, my patience became razor thin. And one day, I just broke.
The shame burns my cheeks just thinking of that day, even now. But thanks to that experience, I realized I had to make a change. I threw myself into researching how to find happiness in the chaos of parenting. Something beyond “make time for you” and “exercise more.” Because when you’re overwhelmed and at your breaking point, you don’t need the “experts” telling you more stuff to do on top of everything else.
That’s how I discovered the secrets: 10 secrets every parent should know about being happy. After hearing from hundreds of parents in the same boat as me, I knew I needed to share what I discovered. And so I wrote a book: Happy You, Happy Family.
Click here to download a free excerpt and start your journey towards finding more happiness as a parent.
Because the truth is that happiness won’t come from a big promotion at work, or from winning the lottery, or from your kids all learning to put their toys away when they’re done playing. Because eventually, you just get used to all that stuff.
True, lasting happiness comes from a conscious effort by you to put the right habits in place.
For another fun family-friendly playlist, check out 12 Songs for a Carefree Summer.
To get even more ideas for family fun, follow my Pinterest board Playful Parenting.
What’s your favorite dance music for kids? Share in a comment below!