It’s been 20 months since I last wrote a blog, and so before plunging back in to happiness talk, I wanted to fill you in on the major life changes that have happened to me since then.

My last blog was about whether children would make me happier.  In order to carry out thorough research on this, I’ve had not one but TWO children.  Grace was born in November 2017, and Leonard in January this year.  It’s been pretty intense.

I’m completely exhausted to be honest – the lack of sleep is no joke. But I’m also enjoying motherhood more than I expected. There are a whole load of new skills I’m learning and I spend much more time out of doors than I’ve ever done in my adult life. I’ve learnt about sleep patterns, circadian rhythms and how difficult it is to nap when you get the chance!  I’m also just starting to learn about temper tantrums and potty training with Grace.

The three things that previously underpinned my happiness have all but vanished – meditation, sleep and seeing friends.  I still do them, but there is a fierce trade off I’m constantly considering: Do I need sleep more than meditation? Do I need to see friends more than sleep? Do I need to meditate more than see friends? etc.

They key thing that underpins my happiness now is having help.  I genuinely have no idea how people cope with two kids so close in age without help, though I know many have. On the days when I’m on my own with the kids I end up close to tears and completely exhausted.  Being an older mum probably doesn’t help, but then I have two healthy kids (touch wood), and many people have had kids with disabilities or behavioural issues that make it all the harder.  I will revisit the data on kids and happiness at a later stage, but I suspect that having access to help explains a lot of the differences in parental happiness between countries.

Thank you all for sticking with me during this hiatus.  I hope the past 20 months have been fruitful and full of happiness, but if they’ve been difficult I hope you have met those difficulties with strength and compassion.

In other news, I’ve taken the advice given to me by many of you and updated the Gratitude Garden.  You will now be able to add as many gratitudes as you like, and there will be new gardens you can build with the freedom to move around plants and animals as you choose.  I hope you like it – more on the update to follow.

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