When was the last time that you got butterflies? You know, that fluttering in your stomach, that queasy/excited feeling of anticipation? Maybe not in a while, and that makes sense. Generally, people associate falling in love with getting butterflies, or that kiss that left you weak in the knees, or the first time you hooked up with someone who knocked your socks off. But once you’re a parent, it might feel like getting butterflies got up and flew out the window. After all, the monotony of marriage, dirty socks strewn everywhere, breastfeeding babies and lack of sleep (and sadly, sex) can do that to ya.
It is possible to find those warm fuzzy feelings in your everyday life — if you know where to look for them. Because according to research, butterflies aren't just a byproduct of love, they're a signal from your belly and brain that something is triggering your nervous system into action, as Greatist explained. Technically, "butterflies are part of the body’s fight-or-flight response when there’s a threat to survival." In prehistoric times, your ancestors might have gotten "butterflies" when there was an actual threat to their lives. In modern times, anything from the unpleasant (a dental appointment) to the very pleasant (a post-work massage) can trigger that bubbly tummy feeling.
For me, I start getting tingly for solo Target runs. Just getting into the car without any babies to strap into car seats, no fights to referee between my two teens, sitting in my SUV alone, just me and my car keys truly gets my engine going (pun intended). It’s in those moments that you realize that getting butterflies isn’t just reserved for romance, but those seemingly simple everyday activities that you might take for granted. These are just some of the times that you can experience that "just as good as getting butterflies" sensation.
1. Receiving A Handwritten Note
Writing something by hand is truly becoming a lost art. Getting an “I heart you” emoji in a text just isn’t the same as seeing someone’s penmanship on paper spelling out just how they feel about you. So save those special personalized handwritten notes expressing love, thanks, or appreciation.
2. Getting Flowers
Sure, you can walk into any store and snag yourself a bunch of floral happiness, but it’s so much more exciting when you unexpectedly receive some sweet stems from someone you love.
3. Buying Yourself Something Special
Let’s say that you’ve had your eye on a pretty ring. Splurging a little bit and buying yourself something special not only makes you feel good, but it reinforces the fact that you do deserve to come first, even if it happens once in a while.
4. Eating Breakfast In Bed
Scrambled eggs and buttered toast taste totally different when someone else makes them for you — and you’re eating them in bed, still in your jammies, and watching your favorite TV show at 11:00 a.m.
5. Trying Something New
Whether it’s learning a new language, trying out a cooking class to perfect your crepe game, or planting a real vegetable garden, picking up a new skill can be satisfying and also boost brain endorphins, increasing that butterfly effect.
6. Accomplishing Something On Your Bucket List
Maybe you want to jump out of an airplane. Or perhaps you want to ride a horse bareback on the beach in the Bahamas. Checking off an item from your bucket list can make you feel amazing, and encourage you to take on your next adventure.
7. Getting That Job Offer
You might not necessarily associate working with butterflies, but girl, you’ve got bills to pay. And when you’ve been out of work for some time, hearing those two words (“You’re hired”) can induce intense feelings of happiness. And at the other end, though, there’s….
8. Quitting A Job You Hate
Just as much as getting a new job can be super exciting, so can quitting a job that you no longer love, but rather loathe. You might even start feeling downright giddy when you walk into your boss’ office and tell him in the most professional way possible that you’re giving your two weeks’ notice.
9. Being A Do-Gooder
Studies have shown that doing something good for others not only helps the other person, but it also makes you feel amazing in return, according to The New York Times. Being altruistic builds on our innate sense of community and taking care of others. So help your elderly neighbor take out her garbage, or donate to your local food pantry. You’ll be surprised at how great you’ll feel.
10. Doing Date Night Differently
Date night (if you’re lucky enough get one) might consist of dinner, movie, and done. But breaking free from that ho-hum routine and shaking things up (think taking a salsa class or checking out that cool art exhibit) can inject some newfound joy into your relationship and remind you of the days when simply holding your sweetie’s hand was flutter-full.
11. Planning A Trip
I don’t know about you, but for me, just planning a vacation is fun. You start thinking about where you want to go, map out fun things to do, and bargain hunt for the best hotels and packages. And the countdown to vacation time can be equally as exciting as the trip itself.
12. Clearing The Clutter
There’s a reason why decluttering expert Marie Kondo and others like her have a cult-like following. It’s because clearing out the clutter and making space in your home is addicting—in a good way. As your home starts to breathe with its newfound space, it helps clear the cobwebs in your own mind and allows for greater creativity and calm in your life.
13. Getting A Mani/Pedi
Your hands scrub pots, wipe butts, and work work work all day long. Why not reward them by putting pretty polish on them? And seeing your tootsies looking sassy in your sandals can put an added bounce in your step — literally.
14. Slipping Into A Smaller Size
You’ve been rocking a size 8 for some time now. So when you dare to try on a size 6 (and it fits!), that might have you leaping for joy in the ladies’ fitting room. Feeling good in your body is something so many moms struggle with, so finding a pair of jeans that fit or getting into that smaller size after eating a healthy diet and exercising can feel like a huge accomplishment.
15. Seeing Your Kids Sleeping
Aren’t kids just more adorable when they’re asleep? Maybe it’s just that they’re not annoying you or fighting with each other, but seeing them peacefully sleeping with their little mouths open, and knowing that you can finally get to sit down and watch TV for a few minutes before crashing on the couch can bring a tear or two to your eye.
16. Getting Your Hair Done Professionally
When you sit down in a salon to get your hair done, it’s at least an hour of total pampering. Not only do you get to have adult conversation (woohoo!), but you also get the added benefit of having your hair brushed, which is so incredibly relaxing. And getting a glimpse of yourself after your hair has been blown out and looking beautiful can remind you of how gorg you really are. Boxed dye, be damned.
17. Hearing That First “I Love You” From Your Child
Of course, you remember the first time that you and your sweetie said I love you to each other and the sexy feelings that surely ensued. But there’s nothing (and I mean nothing) more magical than that first time your baby garbles “I wuv you” to you. No matter what kind of day you’re having, when your child says those three words, you’re going to feel like your heart is about to explode from happiness.
18. Eating Something Decadent
For a lot of moms, mealtime consists of cold food eaten in between incessant sippy cup refills. So when you get to eat something delicious and just for you, it can make you feel like doing a happy dance. Bonus points if you don’t have to share it with any of your clamoring kiddos.
19. Getting A Massage
With your kids hiking all over you all day long like you’re Mount Fuji, it’s nice to be touched in a way that’s relaxing and not stress-inducing. From the yummy-scented oils to the warm, dimly lit room, to the soothing way your masseuse works out the kinks in your aching back, well, that’s as close to heaven as you can get.
20. Having Some Time Alone
Yes, you adore your kids, but there’s nothing quite like having some alone time. No having to buy a bribe candy or tiny toy to keep them quiet while you’re in the store, or having to struggle with a car seat. Just you and you alone. Cue the bliss.