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Happy Thoughts

Bandwagon Happiness

Bandwagon Happiness

by Jessica Lyonford

A month ago


It's a thought that passes through my mind multiple times a day and one I'm sure you've thought as well – "Everyone else is doing it, so maybe I should, too."

It's the idea that if everyone else is happily doing something, you'd be happy doing it as well. And in that brief moment the thought appears, your purpose and intent can be shaken. 

It's hard enough to avoid as a person – to choose authenticity over trends, to value your story over your things – but as a parent? Well, as a parent it feels near impossible. 


Every other mom has their 5 year old enrolled in sports...
Every other girl is doing dance recitals...
Every other kid collects this thing or watches that show...
Every other family summers at their lake house...

The mirage of Bandwagon Happiness has programmed our default mindset to be rooted in the constant comparison of others – if every other family is doing it, then we should be, too. And yet, we all know (or at least have been told) that comparison is the thief of joy. 

Here's why that statement is true, based on science. Because understanding this can help keep you focused on your family's goals and not chasing Bandwagon Happiness. 

The Eight Pillars of Happiness tell us that happiness as a parent (and as a person) comes from:

  • Being true to yourself. (Authenticity)
  • Knowing that is enough. (Confidence)
  • Staying intentional about your values. (Purpose)
  • Giving thanks for where you are. (Gratitude)
  • Seeing the good in what you are doing. (Optimism)
  • Helping everyone do what is best for them. (Compassion)
  • Honoring your feelings. (Emotional Control)
  • And forever questioning the world around you. (Curiosity)

Our default as a parent navigating this world should be "It may seem as though every other family is doing it this way, but is that way right for me and my family?"

Bandwagon Happiness wants you to skip past The Eight Pillars of Happiness and conform to other people's version of happiness. But your happiness is tied to your story and so you must stay rooted in the pillars to live it. 

Parenting is hard without the constant comparison to the outside world. Our kids don't need bandwagon happiness anymore than we do. They need us. 

The next time that thought enters your mind, acknowledge it. Question it. Ask it if it aligns with your version of happiness, with your family's goals. If it does, then go ahead and hitch a ride. But don't jump on just because it shows up. Not every bandwagon is headed in the direction you want to go.