These 10 secrets of a happy mom are ones that I have realized over the years… with four young kids, I have come to understand that it boils down to me and how I perceive things. Today I am sharing these secrets with you…
Do your kids see that you are enjoying being their Mom?
Do they see you enjoying your day, being care-free?
Do they see you smiling & laughing?
If you read my post on the #1 that kids said that they want most from their parents, it will come as no surprise that being stress-free is the key to a parent’s happiness, as well.
I try to follow in the footsteps of my own mom. She is such a happy person, because she loves her family. So much like my grandma. I really love being a Mom. I have wanted to be one for as long as I can remember and although it can be stressful, there are so many ways to minimize that stress and maximize your happiness.
I USED to stress about SO MUCH, but these days, with four little ones, I just try to sit back & enjoy the ride! This is a really fun time for us and I want to soak up these memories right now, without stressing or causing our kids to have stress. I have narrowed it down to these 10 secrets of a happy mom…
1). Relax a little
I have to say that although I feel busy a lot of our days, most of what we do is for fun. I do not like to put a lot of things on our plate, because I don’t like to feel rushed and I don’t like to pass that feeling of being rushed or stressed onto our kids.
For example, yelling at the kids to “hurry up” while getting ready for church in the morning is really sending the opposite message, isn’t it? Whats the big deal if we have to go to the 10:30 service instead of 9:00? Is there really anything wrong with that? This goes for just about everything: when you feel stressed, say to yourself “Ok- whats the big deal if I ____? As long as you are taking care of your family, you don’t really have to stress over much else.
Take it easy on yourself. Let things go just a bit!
2). Simplify your schedules!
We have four kids. I am sure that they will each want to do activities as they get older. Right now our rule is one sport (or activity) per season, per child. I plan to keep it this way. I can not have them in boy scouts, baseball, soccer, gymnastics… I would go crazy! The true point of being a Mom is to keep our kids healthy and by rushing them around everywhere, I would be placing stress on them because I would be stressed.
I would rather our kids be home, playing outside and having dinner as a family instead of being in many activities. I am finding that even one sport takes up several nights a week. Don’t worry about “keeping up with the Jones'” to have your child in this activity or that activity, just because you think that you should. Let them pick on thing & do just that. Youth group? Great. Soccer? Great. Karate? Great. Just make sure that it works for your schedule. There is a soccer group here that plays on on Sunday. That works great for us! Our weeks are free, which I love, because the kids go to bed early (which is not the case, we are finding, with baseball)… which brings us to # 3.
3). Time to yourself!
It is so important to have time to yourself and time with your spouse. For this reason, from the time that our first son was born, we had him in bed by 7:00. Now that we have four kids, we try to have them all in bed by 7:00. Our younger kids go to bed at 7:00 and our older kids go to bed around 7:30. (They all go up to bed at the same time, but the older kids read in bed for 30 minutes) My husband and I have from around 8:00-11:00 (or whatever time we decide to go to sleep) to ourselves. This is really a great chance to either relax or clean or prep food/lunches for the week, etc…
PS- here is my post on teaching your kids to sleep later.
4). Take care of yourself and your kids
If you kids aren’t feeling well, there is nothing like a hug from Mom to make them feel better. (This was actually shown in a study.) The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are inspired by all the things Moms do, from quick family meals to keeping the kids entertained on rainy days. They said “Moms may not always realize it, but they are amazing in so many ways. Moms are on call day and night and have so much unique knowledge that can really help other moms.” I totally agree… how did you get so smart? (that’s what we ask our kids! haha!) I learned these lessons from my mom… taking care of your kids is so important.
5). Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your kids (make dinner easy).
Sometimes I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves and our kids to be perfect. So many people worry about having their kids in the best sports and at the best schools and I can’t say that I don’t stress about this, as well. The same thing goes with meals. Don’t stress about having the perfect dinner. If you make chicken nuggets for the third time this week, that’s OK! As long as you are giving them some fruits and veggies to go with it, what does it matter? We all need a “pass” and some nights we just aren’t feeling up to making a great meal. Our kids love when they get a “free dinner” night (usually on baseball nights). They get to pick whatever they want- even oatmeal and fruit or pizza & an apple. They are really so excited over this! I would say about once every week or two, we have a “free dinner” night and I have very happy kids!
Here is a simple recipe that takes a few minutes to prepare (in the crockpot) and it is a hit for our whole family.
6). Everyone helps
Getting your family to help with the chores is important! You can not do it all and if you are doing it all, you are not teaching your kids to be responsible. If they are not responsible kids… guess what? They won’t be responsible adults! You are not here to make your kids happy. Yes, it is more work to enforce this now, but in the long run, it will be worth it! (“Hey kids, no TV until your chores are done. Love you!” I bet they will be done faster than you know!)
In our house, a messy house makes me feel a little anxious, which is not fun for anyone. I like to have things cleaned up, for the most part, so that we can get on with our day and enjoy it! If I have dirty dishes in the sink & clean dishes ready to be unloaded, it just weighs on my mind until I get it done. Luckily, I have some great helpers! If you haven’t read my series on decluttering or on organizing in 40 days, that is a great place to start. (See age appropriate chores here )
7). Get out a little!
I love to get out, even if its just taking a walk. Just put everything on hold & get out. Run to the library, go to a play ground, sit and read at Barnes & Nobel while the kids play with the kid toys, run & get yourself a coke at a drive-through, get outside & kick the ball around with your kids. Play dates are great for this! Call up a friend & ask them to meet you and the kids at the park or meet at a walking trail. Sometimes, its just nice to have a change of scenery.
According to Harvard Medical, “regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression. It also may play a supporting role in treating severe depression.” Exercise = Happy Mom! So get out there and play with your kids… play tag, take a walk or take a hike…
8). Focus on the positive
We ask our kids at dinner “Tell me one good thing that happened to you today.” Or “Tell me your favorite part of the day.” We never ask them about their worst part of their day, because we want them to focus on the positive. It makes you see things in a better light. You, as a Mom, need to focus on the positive, too. I read once that you should keep a journal of good things. Make a list of three things every day that made you smile that day.
Try out this reward system, if you are looking for a way to focus on the positive. It works WONDERFULLY in our home.
In my opinion, routine is the key to any successful day! Our kids know just what to expect from our day and it makes things so much easier! I do not need to remind them to “come downstairs for breakfast” after they get dressed or to “get into bed” after our book at night. These things are just natural. Just as you would wake up, brush your teeth and get dressed, the kids have come to learn their routines and do the same thing. They know what will be happening next. It makes life so much easier to be on a schedule, in my opinion, as long as your are OK to be flexible when you need to be! Being prepared makes things easier, too… like school mornings.
10). Get lots of hugs, kisses and quality time!
How many times have you hugged and kissed your kids today? Doesn’t it make everyone happier? How many times have you told them that you love them? What about telling them that you are proud of them? My brother tells his kids every day that he is proud of them for something specific and the reason for it. An example of a simple time to tell them that you are proud is when they do something nice… “I am proud of you for picking flowers for your Mom. That makes her happy.”
I make it a point to tell my kids that I love them, a lot! Every day I will say something along the lines of… “Oh my goodness! Come here! I have something SO important to tell you!” To which they will say “I know, Mom… you love me.” When I ask “How did you know?” they say “Because you tell me every day.” Music to my ears… I just love these kids.
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