Mom’s ‘whatever makes you happy’ hour is a brilliant summertime hack—for kids AND adults

Jessi Meeks/TikTok
Jessi Meeks/TikTok

It’s summertime, the kids have been out of school for a good month or so, and we’re all looking for ways to enjoy the slowness of the season and relax. Except oops, we have kids! So that whole relaxing thing isn’t always easy to come by. Unless you try this mom’s genius hack to accomplish that very thing.

It’s called the “whatever makes you happy” hour, and it’s perfect for kids and parents alike, and the concept is going viral on TikTok.

Jessie Meeks, the mom who came up with the whole idea, explains it like this: “Whatever makes you happy hour is the time of the day where my husband and I sit back, relax, and let our kids be wild, free, and chaotic.”

In the video, we see her kids using giant bins of ice cubes and what appears to be food coloring as they “paint” away outside.

“Today, we started off with an ice cube painting activity that progressively got messier and messier,” she says. “However, this is typically the witching hour, so letting our kids be free, wild, and messy also helps alleviate our frustration if we just let it go, and we let them do whatever makes them happy.”

Often times, the simplest idea can be the best one.

After receiving a ton of supportive comments and questions about the “whatever makes you happy” hour, Meeks followed-up in another video. Basically, she says the hour is designed to “stop all attempts at parenting” and let the kids do “whatever they want” (within reason, sans screens). She says sometimes the kids wrestle, the whole family goes on a walk, etc. Are there messes? Sure. But for one hour, everyone’s happy and relaxed at the end of it.

The “whatever makes you happy” hour ends before dinnertime, and she and her husband clean up before bedtime.

I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely putting this into action starting tonight. Our family has just come off a week-long beach vacation and we’re in desperate need of both energy-burning activities for our children and energy-reserving activities for Mom and Dad. (Unfortunately, the things that make our toddler happy currently include chomping on chalk and taking apart gel pens all over the floor, but we’ll figure something out).

Now go forth and do whatever makes you happy! Like watching your kids use water to paint the fence while you and your partner kick back with a cocktail and uninterrupted conversation.

A version of this story was published in July 2023. It has been updated.