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Awesome Sauce: Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Self-help fans rejoice. A new book just came out that’s just as good as Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It’s her latest release called Happier at Home. The book hit stores yesterday, but I’ve been carrying around my dog-eared review copy for the last month. I mean, I’ve taken it everywhere and read it twice. Rubin’s warm, doable and sweet tips seem small when you check them off one by one. But the advice, added together, is a big ball of happy.

What I liked most: I could pick and choose the advice that excited me and start working on it as soon as I put the book down. All I had to do was interact with my husband and children in Rubin’s inspired ways. The Happiness Project was very similar–that book involved making small resolutions to improve how you feel and operate. In Happier at Home, Rubin tells readers how to do more of the same with an emphasis on the home. She specifically targets our possessions, marriages, parenting, interior design, time management, bodies, families and neighborhoods.

Rubin quotes research, experts and hallowed people on her subject. One of my favorite lines from the books is from Saint Therese: “It isn’t enough to love, we must prove it.” Rubin says we should shut off our computers and listen to our children. “Enter into the interests of others,” she writes. She connected with her daughters by asking about their music, TV shows and favorite books. Kids want their moms to be involved in their lives, especially when they’re young. Rubin even set aside special time once a week to take her daughter on Wednesday adventures.

One last bit of brilliant advice before you go off and read this book yourself: Return bids for affection. Whenever a child says hello or goodbye, slow down and greet them back. Reward every hug or “I love you” with more hugs and “I love yous.” Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Yet I was being an idiot. Too often I was busy writing, reading, cooking or whatevering, and I didn’t stop to listen to or acknowledge the compliments my family was giving me. I didn’t realize how disappointing that was to the people I love most. By simply returning their affection, I have greatly improved the happiness in my house. Everyone’s mood has lifted just because I’m being nicer to them.

Every mom will find gems in this book. I know I could use the gentle reminders to ease up, back off and never criticize (or at least try). Gretchen Rubin is a genius for putting the information together in this handy book that could also be titled: Super Easy Ways to Live a Better Life.

See for yourself–how cute is this book trailer for Happier at Home?

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