Of course, all moms are happy when they’re thinking about their kids and with their kids (except, maybe, when they’re fighting with each other over whose turn it is to take out the trash). Truly happy moms, however, are the ones who are so content with their lives that they find happiness in the little things instead of letting stress take over.
Moms are judged all the time and stretched to the max. It’s no wonder that many of us don’t always love the mom thing – at least if we’re being honest with ourselves. We all want to though. If you’re struggling to find your mom glow while shuttling the kids to practice and grocery shopping amidst meltdowns, then take these pointers from moms who make happiness happen.
1. They Make Time for Themselves
I know you’ve heard it before: you can’t pour from an empty glass. 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 Never 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.
Moms who are happy in their lives 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.
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!
Amy is a mom of two, freelance writer, and blog manager who works with family-focused businesses to improve their content strategies. You can find her published work on Reader’s Digest Online, MSN, Niche, Frugal For Less, and other lifestyle publications.