It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Happiness Resolutions Follow-up: My surprise

A while back I shared my Happiness Resolutions for my work.

I’ve been implementing them with a respectable degree of consistency ever since. And the results?

It works! I’m feeling much happier at work. Fulfilling my Happiness Resolutions, Work Version, make me feel productive and professional. Those boring, motivation-sucking lulls are less frequent. For example:

— Getting out routinely means more exposure to sunshine (at the very least, daylight). That lifts my spirits in an immediate and positively tangible way. Really. I walk out onto the front porch, I feel a lift to my spirits, immediately.

— When I am happier and laughing more, the kids are happier and laughing more. Happy children are more fun to be around, which makes me happier. This is a virtuous circle, and we have one going most days now.

— Keeping busy means less down-time, less time for the dreaded doldrums to creep in.

And you know? None of that was really a surprise. I could have predicted all that. I pretty much did. There was one surprise on that list, though.

Hugs. I said I would hug each and every child once per hour. Frankly, I was unsure about that one. I mean, I knew it would be good for the children. They have a never-ending need to be physical… to a degree I find claustrophobic, frankly. There are caregivers out there who revel in having children climbing all over them all the time.

I am not one of them. I hug them, sure, pat their little bottoms, ruffle their hair, drop kisses on pudgy little bodies. But a hug an hour… that’s 9 hours times 5 children… 45 hugs a day. I confess I cringed a bit. It would be good for the children. It would make me feel more professional, like I was doing my Nurturing Duty. But, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it much. I feared that for my own tolerances, it would be a bit over the top.

Guess what?

Of all the resolutions I made, this one, Hug Every Child Once An Hour, has been, without qualification, the MOST FUN of the entire list. The absolute highlight. Because of those hugs, my whole day sparkles with joy.

All sorts of things can be used as triggers/reminders for a hug. I change the children on the floor, as you know. So when Daniel or Poppy have had their diapers changed, I pull them upright and then give them a hearty hug before sending them on their way. Arrival and departure are obvious times for hello and goodbye hugs. (Freebie Bonus: The parents love it. Of course. And it’s not that it never happened before, just that now it ALWAYS happens.) When we tidy a room, we get hugs. When we sing a fun song, we get hugs.

We’ve developed variations. There’s the regular hug, a quick squeeze. There’s the Squooshy Hug, an extra-long, extra-tight hug. There’s the Sandwich Hug: me, a tot in the middle, another tot on the outside. (The middle is the prime spot. Everyone takes turns being in the middle.)

If I’m approaching the end of an hour and realize I’ve forgotten and have some quick catching up to do, I’ll kneel on the floor, fling my arms out wide and call out “GROUP HUG!” Small bodies will hurtle from every direction, and fling themselves onto me, onto the kid on top of me, onto the kid on top of the kid on top of me. And everyone giggles into everyone else’s face, a writhing, wriggling, squirming heap of glee.


My Happiness Resolutions, all seven of them, have been really effective at increasing my enjoyment of my work day, and as a result, making me happier. But nothing sent the happiness skyrocketing past mere happiness and solidly into JOY the way all these hugs have done.

I didn’t expect it. It’s a gift, absolutely a gift. I’m loving it.

May 9, 2012 - Posted by | books, health and safety | , , ,


  1. YAY for joy and YAY for small huggy people. Big people are much less satisfactory to hug and much more inclined to be judgemental!

    Yes, I’m rather fond of small, huggy people, myself. Though, in fairness, my husband gives some of the best hugs going… at least to me. 😀

    Comment by anabels | May 9, 2012 | Reply

  2. Your first post about the Happiness Resolutions inspired me to try, and you’re right – on the days when I get outside with the kids, do a craft, sing some songs, I always feel less drained at the end of the day. And group hugs are a favourite around here, too. 🙂

    The respect I have for you and the wonderful job that you do grows every day. It’s reaching stalkerish proportions now. I mention “my friend Mary who runs a dayhome says…” at least once a week. So hugs to you! You push me to do better, and the littles in my care – plus my own kids – appreciate it. 🙂

    THIS is one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received. Thank you so much. It’s also such a lift to think that what I say here can be that helpful to you, whom I’ve never met, all the way over there. Ain’t the internets wonderful??

    Comment by Hannah | May 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. There really is nothing better than a hug from a little, my favorite is when they run to you and throw themselves into the hug. 😀

    Those are the ones we call “Commando Hugs”. Lovely if you’re bigger than the incoming hugger, a little unnerving if you’re smaller! 😀

    Comment by Melissa V | May 9, 2012 | Reply

  4. This brought tears to my eyes. I wish I had a jumble of toddlers to hug me once an hour; my boring old office job would surely be better for it! I don’t think my co-workers would really go for an Hourly Hug mandate, except probably that one creepy guy in IT.

    Comment by Leigh | May 9, 2012 | Reply

  5. I’m glad it’s working!

    Comment by IfByYes | May 9, 2012 | Reply

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