I’ve always loved being a mom and as a teacher and therapist, I’ve always loved working with other parents and their children. I want everyone to enjoy motherhood and thrive on the fact that we have these few short years with our kids, so let’s make the most of it.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that happy moms are doing things differently. Today, Allison, the author of Secrets of a Happy Mom, shares her biggest tips for being a Happy Mom…
4 Things Happy Moms Do Every day
When my oldest son was four and my youngest was still a baby, I created four daily habits that I still practice today. I went from living for naptime and bedtime to actually enjoy day-to-day life with my children. When I neglect one of these habits, I usually become frustrated, which is a reminder to get back on track.
Happy Moms Set Realistic Goals
When I took an honest look at my life as a new mom I realized I was trying to do more in a day than was realistic. I had made everything a priority and was pressuring myself to do it all. So, I decided which things were non-negotiable – clean clothes, clean dishes and fed children – and I ignored the rest.
I didn’t let any other mom’s daily accomplishments sway me to add more to my list than I could handle. It didn’t take long before I felt lighter and happier. To my surprise, I found I could get a couple of extra things done most days because I felt better without the unnecessary pressure on my shoulders. When I didn’t accomplish more than the basic to-dos, I didn’t sweat it.
Don’t put more on your to-do list than you know you can accomplish. The joy that comes with crossing off the final item on the to-do list will go a long way toward creating happiness.
Happy Moms Assign Positive Intent
When my boys were little sometimes I felt like they were out to snatch every shred of sanity I had. When they would throw tantrums, misbehave or talk back it was easy to think they were doing those things because they were trying to be disrespectful.
In reality, most behaviors – even the annoying ones – are age-appropriate and part of how a child learns what’s socially acceptable and what’s not. Children need to test boundaries and express themselves in order to get feedback from their world.
Assigning positive intent to our children’s behavior gives us the freedom to remain calm while teaching them how to be good humans. A happy mom doesn’t assume her child is deliberately misbehaving or being disobedient, but instead, she knows her child is trying to find his or her way in a big world with lots of rules to remember.
Happy Mothers Stay Present in the Moment
As a mom who works from home, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that I can’t focus on my children and my work at the same time. Even before I began working from home, I’d find myself mentally pulled in two different directions. I’d think about the housework while playing a game with the boys. I wasn’t all-in while playing and the boys could tell.
When you’re with your children, be with your children. Don’t waste those precious moments thinking about the work you have to do. Be present in every moment.
I found when I was completely present at the moment with my children they were less likely to interrupt me when I was doing other things. Their need for quality time had been filled. You can’t spend quality time with your children if your mind is elsewhere.
Happy Moms Practice Self Care
Oh, mamas, I know this advice is given so often that you’re probably tempted to skip over it. It may be one of the best pieces of advice for moms ever given. You must take time each day just for you. When my boys were younger I felt guilty for taking time for myself. Both the guilt and lack of self-care contributed greatly to my unhappiness.
Self-care doesn’t have to be something costly or time-consuming. Self-care might mean writing in a gratitude journal once a day. It might mean getting up early to have a full cup of coffee before it gets cold. It might mean sitting in the backyard while the kids play and reading a book or scrolling Facebook. You need to do something every day that lights up the happiness centers in your brain.