You can’t make everyone happy. You are not pizza.

A whole lot of the pain in my life has been because I try to make everyone happy.

But I can’t make everyone happy.
I am not pizza.

But I can’t make everyone happy.
I am not pizza.

But still I try.

Take dinnertime at my house.
Last night I slaved over a hot stove, planning, purchasing and preparing a meal that will make everyone happy.
Spiral sliced honey baked ham, pierogis, green beans and salad. What’s not to like? It’s a mini Thanksgiving.
It’s everyone’s favorites.

I got one measly, “Thanks”.

What I really want is a standing ovation.
Small handmade gifts.

You can imagine what response I get most nights when dinner is less exciting: There is much rolling of eyes and heavy sighs.

But these guys… my family… are experts, dare I say masters in microexpressions of disapproval and disappointment.

The small millisecond of a grimace.
The barely whispered sigh.
The silence.

I am trying to make them all happy. And that’s impossible. And yet I keep doing it. Because I think it’s the right thing to do… to make them nourishing food that they are excited about.

In reality, the only thing I really have control over is if I’m happy.

And I’m not.

I’m stressed and feel unappreciated.

So I have some choices. To make me happy I could…

A – Stop cooking dinner (happy dance)

B – Serve them pizza every night (yum!)

C – Cook dinner and detach from their approval

Well now, to cook and not care what they think would be delightful.

But how?

Start by answering the question,
“Why is it perfect that they aren’t thankful?”

My answer: It is perfect because…

  • They are teenagers. This is what they are supposed to do.
  • They are teenagers. Their palate isn’t as developed as an adult’s. This is just part of the process.
  • This is the reminder that I still have a job as parent… helping them grow in caring for their bodies.
  • If they were “perfect”, they would be adults and living on their own, not teenagers and still needing the guidance of their mother.
  • If a fifteen-year-old boy didn’t prefer soda and chips, THAT’S when something would be out of kilter.
  • I have trained them to show me displeasure because I reinforce it by trying to make them happy.

If you are playing along on the home version, the more answers you can come up with here, the more you can detach from wanting approval.

In many ways their reaction is perfect.

In fact, it would be a little creepy if they were happy about everything I do.

It’s not that I don’t care about them.
I am not becoming a cold-hearted bitch.
My values are the same.

It’s just that trying to please them is doing them (and me) no favors.

With a happier, healthier, less stressed Mom, they will be more inclined to appreciate the food in front of them.

This harried Mom is consciously not giving a crap. And we are all better for it.


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