Ask a woman if she’s happier now that she has children and she’ll most likely say yes. But the day to day routine of a mom often doesn’t fit the ideal picture of “happiness.” In fact, motherhood itself can often be the root of a bad mood. Am I right? The good news is that you can learn to focus on the positive and make it a habit. You can be a happy mom!
- Admit when you’re stressed
It is normal to be stressed as a mom. I get stressed daily. House not clean enough? Oh yeah. Kids fighting? Check. Bills piling up? Bring on the stress! The funny thing about stress is that once you stop expecting motherhood to feel warm and fuzzy all the time, life as a mom gets easier. It’s normal. We’ve all been there.
- Get enough sleep
Here’s an area where I need a lot of work. I have to wake up every morning by 6:20 to wake up KitKat to get ready for middle school. So why is it that I frequently stay up until midnight? I know better. I know how I’m going to feel without a good night’s sleep. But I also crave that productive alone time at night. Let’s just say that this is an area that I know I could improve in.
- (Re)consider your priorities
As moms, we could fill every day with rather meaningless activities and never focus any of our time on things we enjoy. Don’t forget that doing things that you enjoy are sometimes just as important as loading the dishwasher.
- Go with the flow
Time seems to slow down when you’re doing what you enjoy. People who experience this level of engagement (which psychologists call “flow”) are happier than people who rarely do.
- Savor the moment
It’s ok to get on the ground with your preschooler and play for a while. As mundane as some of these “normal” motherhood moments may feel, they are precious. Sometimes after my “big kids” head off for school, I climb back into bed with AJ and read books together. Sometimes we lay down and snuggle. I love those moments.
- Take the long view
If the drudgery is getting to you, think about how empty your life would be without children. Think about what these moments mean in the long run. What are you creating?
- Reconnect with your spouse
I truly believe that a supportive group of friends is important for happiness as a mother. But what about Daddy? Friends can move away, interests and schedules can change, but Hubby is always going to be there (we hope, right?). Rely on each other. Talk with each other. I remember (vaguely) that time before we had kids when we would spend every evening playing games and talking late into the night. That became much harder once we had babies, but I haven’t forgotten how important that connection is.
- Say thanks
Kids do their chores? Say thank you. Husband pitched in and made dinner? Say thanks. I know that I feel so much better when I recognize the things I’m grateful for and vocalize it.
What are some of your tips for being happy as a mom?
This post was part of March Resilience Month in our house. These tips originally appeared in an article by Robert Barnett (from Parenting magazine—January 2007). They can be found, along with other articles and activities on resilience, on Fishfulthinking.com.
© 2010, Lolli. All rights reserved.