Raising Happiness, is a blog authored by Christine Carter, Ph.D., sociologist and happiness expert as well as author of  Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Parents and Happier Kids. She studies the sociology of happiness in children and she shares her science-based parenting advice with us. With posts like Bad Mother: Real-Life Tales of Imperfect Parenting and Confessions of a Selfish Mother, she lets us know that it’s okay to make mistakes as a parent.
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Her latest project, The Raising Happiness Class, is a fun online class designed for busy parents, teachers, and caregivers. The focus is on developing happiness habits: practices, beliefs, and behaviors likely to bring more joy into our own lives and the lives of our children.
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Christine took some time to chat with Red Tricycle about her own secrets to happiness and life with the family in the San Francisco Bay Area:
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RT: What is your favorite family ritual?
I love snuggling in bed with my kids at night and having them tell me “3 good things” about their day. In addition to hearing all the great, often funny, things that happened at school during the day (and, randomly, often the things they are excited about for the next day) I love ending each day on a positive note.
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RT: What’s your favorite “escape hatch”—a way to put in some “me” time to recharge?
I’m a big fan of date night to escape a little; fortunately I’ve got a guy who’ll go see a romantic comedy with me and treat me to a great dinner out.  (Anything romantic works for me, come to think of it.)  When there isn’t any romance on the horizon, I recharge by reading fiction in bed, in the morning, preferably with a latte.
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RT: What is your favorite pearl of wisdom for a frazzled new mom to find her happiness?
Take at least a half hour for yourself every single day–even if it means that dishes pile up in the kitchen sink, or that you can’t attend to your visiting mother-in-law.  Take a guilt free nap; read a junky magazine; gab on the phone with a friend.  Remember, your happiness is very important for your baby’s happiness and well-being.
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RT: Why do you think the Bay Area (and your neighborhood in particular) is a fantastic place to raise kids?
I love Berkeley because we have such diverse, interesting, and friendly neighbors.  Our neighborhood congregates each evening before it gets dark at our corner park, when people of all ages come out to walk their dogs and say hello.
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Christine and Red Tricycle have also paired up to bring you Happy Mom Mondays!  52 tips for fostering one year of a happier you.