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How to get happy...or at least feel better's been a tough couple of days. Mentally, physically, emotionally draining. Big Daddy and I stayed home together both Monday and Tuesday, just to get our heads back on and to spend time healing our tender family. Here's what we learned is the best way to shake away the blues:

1) Crank up the oldies station. Play it louder than your parents ever did. Motown is therapeutic. As are the BeeGees, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Earth Wind & Fire, and Prince. Sure it's tough that some of the songs from our own childhood are now played on the oldies station. But we love those songs! So turn it up, man. And dance til your old knees hurt.

2) Go out to lunch at your favorite pub, for which you happen to have a gift card, and drink a beer in the middle of the day. Even though you're certainly of age and you have no obligations to stay sober on a mental health day, there's still a little thrill that comes with drinking beer at noon on a Tuesday (a la Cheryl Crow).

3) Nap with your Sweet Boy in your arms. Breathe in his smell -- that special combination of outside air, earth, peanut butter, and baby shampoo -- and let him burrow his little body under your chin. Even when your arm falls dead asleep under his shoulders, you will feel good.

4) Play outside until it's too dark to see. Run in your yard with a soccer ball, let your husband tackle you into the mushy pile of leaves you didn't get around to raking up in the fall -- then beat him at a game of one-on-one in your driveway. Take photos of you and your husband and your kid making silly faces in the shadows of the giant oak tree. Draw fabulous gardens full of sidewalk-chalk flowers until every inch of your clothing is covered in pastel dust. Let the cool spring air purge all the badness away.

5) Eat ice cream for dinner...or whatever kind of junk food makes you happy. And let your child eat it too. In fact, just open the carton and each of you grab a spoon, then snuggle on the couch, licking your lips and making "mmm" noises.

6) Read your favorite picture book in your little guy's bed, kiss him goodnight, hear his little voice say "I love you, Mommy," and know that he means it more earnestly than anything that's ever been said before. Right then you'll know that you're going to be ok.


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