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What do you think of when someone says “happy mom?” Do you think of yourself with a smile on your face – laughing with the kids, playing with them, enjoying your time with them?

We are the busy-mom, the run-you-everywhere mom, the homework-helper mom, the cooking-dinner mom, the clean-the-house mom, but we deserve to be the happy-mom, too.

vacation with our family - hilton head island

The best thing that we can do for our kids is to let them see us enjoying their company.

I truly believe that the impact of that alone plays a huge role in the lives of our children. Think about relationships in your life. When you are with a friend, a spouse, your parents, your children, or anyone else – if they always seem flustered or distracted, would you want to be with them?

Would it seem like they want to be with you? Our children can read our emotions in the same way.

Habits of Happy Moms

It’s time to let yourself be HAPPY! Are there secrets to being a happy mom? Not secrets, but there are things that happier moms do.

Do they ever have a bad day? Of course!
Are they happy all the time? No, not all of the time, but a lot of the time – and you deserve to be happy a lot of the time, too! 🙂 We all do! A (mostly) stress-free parenting lifestyle is within reach.

There are certain things that happy moms do every day, but there are also certain mindsets that they have. I talk about this a lot in my post about why more having kids actually makes people have less stress.

1. They LOOK for Ways to be Happy (Don’t focus on stress or guilt)!

We have four kids. Every day, the six of us are home together – all day. We homeschool, run a business from home, and pretty much stay busy all day long.

Each day, I have a choice:

1- I can soak up that busy-feeling, let it overwhelm me, and turn it into stress. I can complain and be negative & pessimistic.

2- I can see each day as a gift that will not be here tomorrow (time does not stop for any of us). I can realize that I can’t do it all, and I can enjoy the things that I can do with my family. I can feel grateful & optimistic.

I have come to understand that it boils down to me and how I perceive things.

If you pick option two… great! It is a choice that you will not regret. Seeking happiness on a daily basis will benefit your entire family.

Let yourself have fun! Let yourself laugh, smile, try new things, and enjoy your day! Your kids will be happy because you are happy.

I read a study that said that the thing that kids want MOST from their parents is to SEE THEM BEING HAPPY.

Biking together - HAPPILY

2. Spend 1-on-1 time getting to know your kids well

I am happiest when I am with people that I know well, love, and enjoy being with.

The best way to enjoy being with your own children is to learn who they are on a deeper level through one-on-one time, so you can have great conversations and have fun together.

There is a reason that I say my favorite parenting years are the tween & teen years. I’ve spent many years working on connection, trust, and our relationship that these years, as they get older, are like the reward.

RELATED: If your kids are waking too early, read this post on teaching your kids to sleep later.

3. They aim for BALANCE, not PERFECTION.

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 worry about having the perfect dinner. Some nights we just don’t have a plan for dinner, but that’s OK.

PS- Here is a simple crockpot recipe that takes a few minutes to prepare (in the crockpot), and it is a hit for our whole family.

On those nights, when we don’t cook, our kids get an “anything you want, as long as it’s healthy dinner” night (usually on nights when we have a lot going on like sports, church, or a game).

They get to pick whatever they want- soup, oatmeal & fruit, a smoothie, or an apple with peanut butter. They love these nights. I would say about once every week or two, we have an “anything you want, as long as it’s healthy dinner” night, and I have delighted kids!

If you needed everyone to be quiet during your call or meeting, so you gave them their iPads (even though you were trying to keep up with your screen time rules), that’s OK.  It’s about balance, remember?

Everyone gets a “get out of jail free card” once in a while. (The ironic thing about that Monopoly reference is that I don’t even like the game! My brother beat me every single time we played… hahaha!)

Choose Happy  - our little girl on couch (life is all about balance)

+ Balance means you take a break if you need it.
What is the quickest way to let a plant die? Ignore it (well- or give it to me). When we ignore something, it doesn’t thrive. We can’t ignore ourselves, either. In order to help us be our happiest selves, we need to take care of ourselves. It doesn’t take much. A little self-care goes a long way.

I love my kids more than anything in the world, but I still love to have time with just my husband. I like to have time to myself, too. For this reason, I go for a walk at least four days a week (alone). I put on an audiobook or call a friend & I just walk.

I usually go for a (second) daily walk with one of our kids later in the day, because it’s when they do the most talking, so I make it a priority, too.

+ Balance means you make a schedule that works for you.
Another thing that we have done since our kids were born was to have a consistent bedtime for our kids. It worked for us and that’s what’s important.
When our kids were younger, they went to bed at 7:00. They did this until they were about nine years old.

Once they were older, we were able to move their bedtime back while still keeping it consistent. If they want to stay up later, the older kids can read in their beds).

If you find yourself too exhausted in the evenings, try to spend time alone in the mornings.

+ Balance means you take the time to recharge.
No matter how you break it down, you need to give yourself time to recharge. Either at night, in the middle of the day, or even early in the morning.

Wake up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else to sit on the porch in silence, watch the morning news, drink your coffee without someone bumping your arm while you drink it, check your emails, message your friends online… however you enjoy time to yourself, take a few minutes each day for it.

Becky reading emails early in the morning.

4. Everyone Helps Out

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 as adults!

You are not here to make your kids happy, but you can teach them how to make the right choices that will bring them happiness: hard work, good friends, family time, etc.

Yes, it is more work to enforce this now, but it will be worth it in the long run!

Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey kids, no screentime until your chores are done. Love you!” I bet they will be done faster than you know!

No Screentime until Chores are done

A messy house makes me feel a little anxious, which is not fun for anyone. I like to have things tidy – not perfect, but still clean (I use this list as my guide), 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 a list of age-appropriate chores here )

5. Get Out of the House (with the kids)

Sometimes, it’s fun to put everything else on hold so you can get out for a little bit. Run to the library, go to a playground, sit and read outside while the kids play, kick the ball around with your kids, play tag, go outside & paint with the kids.

Kids can’t be expected to keep all of their energy in, so as parents, it’s up to us to give them opportunities to get outside & get it out. It works out better for all of us.

Take them for a bike ride, a walk in the neighborhood or a nature-walk to collect stones on a walking trail.

Sometimes, it’s 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! (Even if it just means having a dance party on the back porch – find time to move.)

So get out there and play with your kids

A person in sunglasses sitting in a park, with Car

6. 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.” 

encourage them to be grateful, and I expect the same of myself. 

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. I even use this reward system to focus on the positive. 

It works WONDERFULLY in our home. I used it in my classroom, as well.

Moms need to focus on the positive, too. Our kids use gratitude journals, but it’s equally important for the parents to express gratitude. Maybe even keep a journal of good things. Make a list of three things every day that made you smile that day.

7. Keep a Routine!

When I lose my cool, it’s always because I didn’t prepare well enough. I strayed from routine and everyone else did, too.

In my opinion, the routine & plan 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 you are OK to be flexible when you need to be!

8. Hugging Is IMPORTANT

If your 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.) HUGS ARE PROVEN TO HELP OUR KIDS… DO IT MORE OFTEN.

Our family together on a  rock after biking

Plus, hugging raises endorphins in both you & your child, so you both end up happier & less stressed. I learned these lessons from my mom… taking care of your kids is so important.

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?

Spend time with them, just listening and talking. Draw pictures together. Go on a walk & talk- bake cookies with them.

9. Say I Love You.

Say I love you… often. Everyone needs to hear that they are valued and loved. Make it a point to remind your kids every single day (and throughout the day) that being with them makes you happy.

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.”
I’ll ask, “How did you know?”
They always reply, “Because you tell me every day.” (music to my ears)

Oh- hey. I need to tell you this, too.

If you are reading this, chances are you already know this, but I’ll tell you anyway. Motherhood isn’t always “rainbows & butterflies.” I know there are some times when we are tired, annoyed, or just done with the day by lunchtime.

That’s ok.

I know that there are parts of motherhood that make us want to throw in the towel (although, chances are if you throw the towel, you’ll be the one picking it up again in ten minutes).

A girl with her hands over her ears.

I know there are times when we are cleaning up the living room, again, only to look up and see the kids running around you, leaving behind a trail of their happiness, which happens to be in the form of toys, shoes, and snacks.

Or, worse, when the kids are arguing and you just want to yell, “STOP! Don’t you see that you have a built-in best friend?! Why are you arguing?”

And – Oh. Those days when you are ready for bed, but it’s only 6:00 and if you go to sleep now, no one will be around for the actual bedtime.

So, on those days, just remember that even if no one tells you today – you made a difference to the lives of those who love you. You deserve to be a happy mom.

You are appreciated.
You matter. It is YOUR smile that lights up your kids rooms and hearts.

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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