Motherhood is far from sunshine and rainbows 100% of the time. Kids sometimes fight with siblings, refuse to listen to us, and sometimes test our patience to the max. But for every rough day, there are hundreds of amazing ones waiting for us.
The key to finding the good in motherhood is being happy, which, admittedly, can be tough when you’ve had to remind your child to brush their teeth, like, ten times already. But when you’re happy with your life overall, you end up being a better mom. Seriously. Studies show that happy moms can influence their children’s behavior and emotions and might even have an impact on their children’s positive mindset.
If you’re struggling to find your mom glow while shuttling the kids to practice and grocery shopping amidst meltdowns, then try these tips to reach happy mom bliss.
1. They make time for themselves
You’ve heard it before: you can’t pour from an empty cup. It makes so much sense, yet many of us (raises hand!) ignore it every single day. You can’t expect to be there for your kids, spouse, co-workers, and anyone else who needs you if you’re not there for yourself.
Women who truly feel content as moms are that way because they make time for themselves. They read their favorite books or magazines. They drop the kids off at Grandma’s for a few hours on the weekend so they can go get pampered at the spa. Happy moms pursue their dreams of going to college and finishing or getting a new degree. They may even escape for the weekend with their girlfriends and leave the kids at home with Dad.
None of it makes them bad moms. In fact, these women are smart. They’re the ones who know that, once they’ve had their break, they’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on the world.
2. They aren’t afraid to ask for help
Happy moms ask for help when they need it, plain and simple. In the famous words of The Temptations, they ain’t too proud to beg! Every mom needs help at some point. But you’ll notice a difference between the moms who ask for help and the ones who don’t.
Not asking for help with carpooling, babysitting, fundraising, or even cooking a meal when you’re just too damn exhausted to do it all is a recipe for disaster. Get your partner involved more, ask trustworthy friends if they can lend a hand, and take advantage of free or discounted babysitting times through your local YMCA or church community.
3. They celebrate their accomplishments
There is no harm in being proud of yourself, mama! One of the most important habits of happy moms is that they don’t feel like they’re being cocky or self-absorbed when they do something great. Happy moms celebrate it all.
I remember taking myself and kids out to dinner when I earned each of my college degrees. My family didn’t live nearby and I was a single mom, so it was up to me to celebrate if I wanted to. I worked damn hard for those degrees, spending my time at home writing papers after putting in a full 8 to 10-hour workday 5 or 6 days a week and single-momming it up the whole time. I deserved those dinners, even if I did have to pay for them myself.
Don’t ever feel silly for celebrating something you’ve done, no matter how large or small. You deserve as much praise as you’d give your kid for his little accomplishments.
4. They enjoy the little things
Moms who know how to enjoy life’s little moments – the tickle fights before bed, the sweet brother-sister hugs without either one having to ask for them, and the messy but creative fingerpaint contests – are the ones who know how to just relax and let life sink in. Let yourself go and be silly right there with your kids. Guaranteed, you’ll find yourself feeling happier in no time.
5. They take time to boost other moms
Judgy moms are the worst. No mom (or person, for that matter) is perfect, and therefore none of us are more welcome to judge than another. I love how mom Brene´ Brown tells Psychology Today:
If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because were using each other as a launching pad out of her own perceived deficiency.
DING, DING, DING! Those who judge aren’t confident in their own abilities. Moms who don’t judge other moms instead harness their energy to lift other moms up because that’s exactly what they’d want to be done for them. If you’re a judger, focus on shifting your mindset from, “Wow, what is she doing?” to “She’s having a tough time. I wonder how I can help her out?”.
6. They don’t compare
Pitting yourself against other moms will never make you feel confident. You’ll see the Pinterest-loving mom who can turn everything she touches to Pin-worthy royalty. John’s mom spends a minimum of 2 hours a day teaching him Spanish. And then there’s Claire, who sometimes continues to look pulled-together after working overnights at the hospital 3 days in a row, taking the kids to school, and snagging only a few hours of sleep before picking the kids up. Meanwhile, you’re over there struggling to get dressed out of your pajama pants and into regular jeans and figuring out how you got drool in your hair.
These thoughts just bring you into a downward spiral. Happy moms know that, as long as they’re doing their best and they’re happy with their own parenting skills, that’s all that matters. Be THAT mom.
7. They raise happy kids
Your mood will affect your kiddos. That doesn’t mean that you have to be all cupcakes and rainbows all the time so that your kids don’t get down in the dumps. Your kids absolutely should see you struggle; that’s part of life. It’s the way you handle those challenges that makes the difference.
Happy moms don’t dwell on everything that could go wrong. They live in the moment and show their appreciation for everything that’s good. In doing so, they teach their kids to do the same and to lead a life of happiness and fulfillment. It’s one of the best gifts you can give them.
8. They learn to say no
One of the best forms of self-care and happiness is saying no to things you don’t want to do or don’t have time for. And there doesn’t need to be an explanation (you don’t owe one to anyone!). Happy moms learn to say no, even if they don’t really have a reason behind it. Check over your calendar and make sure everything you’re signed up for are things that you really want to do.
9. They work out
Getting the motivation to exercise can be a task in itself. But once you get that 30 or 60-minute workout done, don’t you feel refreshed and accomplished (pay no attention to those pained thighs, and think about how you feel inside)? Working out can do wonders for busy moms. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise affects your mood and can have a positive effect on anxiety and depression.
A personal note: I began working out routinely a few years ago, and it’s now become a must-have part of my day-to-day life. I don’t always feel like doing it, but once I do, I’m so glad I kicked my butt into gear and got that workout in. Some days, it’s the best form of stress relief I can find.
10. They have hobbies
This is one I’ve struggled with for a long time. When someone asked me what hobbies I had a few years back, I realized I couldn’t name any current ones other than spending time with my kids (FYI – that’s not a hobby!). In all my years as a mom, I lost a piece of myself and forgot what I used to love to do. After that, I made it a point to get back into painting and crafting, two things I love doing when I have some downtime.
To be a happy mom, it’s important to find things that make you happy and make you feel like a person outside of just, “Mom,” no matter how grand that title is. Get outside and garden, read a new book series, or tinker on your car. Make some time each day for whatever makes you feel like you – the person, not the mom.
What’s your biggest struggle as a mom (we all have them!)? Are any of the above habits difficult for you to master? I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below!