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In this post, you will learn 10 ways to become a happier mom that are so simple you can start to implement them now and feel happier right away!
The first thing I want to do is define what it actually means to be a “happy” mom. The word happy is used so often I think its actual meaning is sometimes lost on us.
Well, I’m not a professional happiness philosopher or anything, but I believe happiness is:
A simultaneous feeling of peace and excitement. The absence of stress, fear, and anxiety. H
I believe that happiness is just moment you can only feel in the present and that “being happy” just means you are able to string together lots of those moments back to back.
So if we are talking about happiness in the context of motherhood, how can you become a “happier” mom? The answer – do everything you can to eliminate stress, fear, and anxiety from your life and do more things that bring you hopefulness for the future and an overwhelming sense of love!
If you are doing those things, you will create more happy moments, and the more happy moments you have the closer together they will become, and the happier you will be overall! Pretty simple, right?
Here are 10 ways to become a happier mom by eliminating stress and adding more hopefulness and love to your life:
1. Start a meditation Practice
One of the best things you can do to eliminate stress and anxiety
Science and evidence aside, meditation FEELS amazing! I’ve felt such an incredible difference in the way I parent since I started meditating consistently. Because I feel so much calmer and level headed, I am less reactive toward my daughter when she acts like, well, a two-year-old.
I can’t even tell you how great it feels to not be yelling at my daughter all the time over stupid things because I feel overwhelmed and stressed. And of course, when I am less wound up, my daughter feels that energy too. Duh, right? She listens better and is more loving and gentle. Win, win!
Starting a meditation practice doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. It just takes carving a few minutes every day out of your busy schedule to let your mind and body rest. Learn more about how to start meditating and why it’s amazing for moms here.
Easy Actionable Tip #1:For the next week, try to meditate every day for 10-15 minutes before your kids wake up. See how it makes you feel throughout the day.
n’t compare yourself to other mothers
You must stop comparing yourself to other mothers if you ever want to be a happy mama. I know you’ve probably heard this a million times and it just sounds like white noise by now, but comparison really is the thief of joy. Maybe read that a few more times and truly let it sink in.
How many times a day do you compare yourself to other mothers? How often do you find yourself saying things like…
She got pregnant so much faster than me, that’s not fair. Why are her children so well behaved and mine don’t even listen to me? Why does she look so beautiful after giving birth and I looked like I just got stung by a bee? Her house is so beautiful and organized. Mine will never be like that. Why was breastfeeding so easy for her and I’m having such a hard time!
Every time you say something like that you’re saying that who you are and what you have is not enough. And what happens when you don’t feel like you’re enough? You start to feel like shit! Mom’s who feel like shit
When you compare yourself to another mother you are simultaneously diminishing yourself. You cannot practice self-love if you are constantly
I know that NOT comparing yourself to other people is easier said than done. So every time you feel yourself starting to compare, I want you to do this: Look at your children and your family. Look at every blessing you’ve been given in your life and be overcome with a sense of gratitude. Sit in that gratitude as long as it takes you to snap out of the comparison game and realize how dang lucky you are.
Easy Actionable Tip #2: Start a gratitude journal. Every day write down 5-10 things you’re grateful for in your life. It doesn’t matter how big or how small. You might even be surprised just how many things you can list!
3. Flood your mind with praise
Okay, if you’re new to the whole thoughts become things belief, this might take a bit of convincing so hang in there for a second. Basically, I want you to start saying nicer things to yourself. Like really nice things all the time. Like your mind should be a positive affirmation warehouse. I want you to flood your mind with praise…for yourself!
As women, and then even more as mothers, we are constantly saying negative things to ourselves. We look in the mirror and think, “Ugh, you’re so fat. Those stretch marks are disgusting. Ewww what is going on with my hair?!” We yell at our children and think, “I’m the worst mom. I hate myself for this.” I can go on and on because I’ve been there — digging myself into and deeper and deeper hole with my thoughts alone.
Words are extremely powerful. If you have ever read The Four Agreements, you know that the number one agreement is to be impeccable with your word. The things you say to yourself in your head all day long are dictating your mood, your state of mind, your actions, basically
I recently watched a talk by the hypnotherapist Marisa Peer where she said that the thoughts we think all day become the blueprint of our lives, that we create our beliefs and then our beliefs create us. If we want to become happier mothers, we have to create better beliefs about ourselves. Creating a belief means ingraining a thought into our subconscious mind. One way to do that through repetition. Flood your mind with praise and watch how quickly so start to feel better about yourself.
Easy Actionable Tip #3: Write “I am enough” on every mirror in your house. Write it on paper and put it on your fridge, your front door, everywhere! Then, when you see it: Stop everything, take a deep breath and say it to yourself three times. The more you do it the better you’ll feel.
4. Ditch the mom guilt
As long as we are already working on being nicer to ourselves, let’s just ditch the mom guilt while we’re at it. In other words, let’s give ourselves a little grace. Okay? Good.
No more feeling guilty for letting your kids play with the iPad so you can get some work done. No more feeling guilty when your kids don’t meet milestones at the “right” time. No more feeling guilty for not breastfeeding at all or breastfeeding too long. Please no more feeling guilty for being the best mother you knew how to be up to this point.
I don’t know if it’s some kind of biological thing that clicks in our brains after we have babies, but suddenly we all feel like we need to be so damn perfect. Before we had kids we allowed ourselves to make mistakes without the weight of the world on our shoulders. But now that these little humans are relying on us to shape them and raise them to be flawless and perfect we are not allowed to falter without feeling enormous shame and guilt every time.
Mothers might be superhuman, but we are still human nonetheless. We cannot become happier moms if we hold ourselves to insane standards and beat ourselves up every time we don’t meet them.
Another point I want to make is that we cannot allow other people to set our standards for us. Every family is different, every child is different, and everyone has different priorities and ways of doing things. Do not feel guilty if you are not meeting someone else standards for the kind of mom you should be.
Easy Actionable Tip #4: List 3 things that you have felt mom guilt about lately on a sheet of paper. Then, look at the list, take a deep breath, forgive yourself, and let it go. Take a few moments to decipher why you felt guilty. Whose standards were you trying to meet? Become aware of where your guilt is coming from so you can recognize it if it comes up again.
5. Make time for your passions
One of the things that happen when you become a mother is that you become really busy focusing on your children’s needs. Children have a way of filling schedules and shortening days. With all of the chaos, making time for your passions is not a priority. But if you want to be a happy mom, it needs to be!
What were you passionate about before you became a mom? What were your favorite hobbies and activities? What was your “thing”? Maybe it was painting, playing an instrument, doing your hair and makeup, dancing, volunteering, or writing. Whatever that thing was, it was a part of you. An incredibly special part of you because it was something you did just for the sheer joy of doing it. Not making time for that passion after becoming a mom is like throwing that special part of yourself away.
Personally, before becoming a mom I used to
I was after that experience that I realized how important it is for mothers to make time for the things they were passionate about before motherhood. There is no way we can be truly happy if we don’t feel whole and complete. And there’s no way to feel whole and complete if we are leaving parts of ourselves in the dark, just because we “can’t find the time” to let them see the light of day.
Easy Actionable Tip #5: Think of one thing you used to love to do before becoming a mom that you haven’t done in a while. Something you were really passionate about. Now do it! Not next week or next month. Do it today or tomorrow. G
6. Make conscious food choices
One of the ways to become a happier mother is to make conscious food choices. Meaning — stop snacking on junk food because that’s all you have the time for or mindlessly reaching for candy when you feel stressed and tired late in the afternoon.
Food can have an incredible effect on your mood and mental state. For a multitude of complicated reasons that I won’t get in to, science shows that healthy foods have a positive effect on your mood and unhealthy foods have a negative effect on your mood. Basically, the more saturated fats, processed food, and refined sugar you consume, the more likely you are to feel stressed and depressed.
I know that eating healthy is not some magical new idea. Of course, we should eat healthy food. Duh. I am not even suggesting you radically change your diet or eliminate all junk food. What I am doing is challenging you to take a breath or two before you eat something and ask yourself, “Do I really want to eat this right now? Am I going to regret this later? Can I make a better choice?” And then make a choice mindfully.
I also suggest you check out this article Feeding Your Emotions with Whole Foods. Don Tolman is my favorite nutritionist and this article shares a lot of insight on how even the color of food can affect your emotions in specific ways.
Easy Actionable Tip #6: Write down on a piece of paper: Stop. Breathe. Make a conscious choice. Put that paper in your kitchen somewhere really obvious where you know you’ll see it. Slow down and think about how the foods you’re about to eat is going to affect your mood in the coming days.
7. Get more sleep
If you want to be a happier mom, you can’t be exhausted and running on fumes. You have to get more sleep! I know, I know. It sounds like a joke. I can hear you laughing through the screen. I didn’t say it was going to be easy.
Studies show that people who sleep less than 5 hours a night for a week experience more stress, anger, sadness, and mental fatigue. Another study shows that people with insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression. Basically, parenthood and its tendency toward lack of sleep leaves little room for feeling happy and clear headed.
There’s no trick here. We just have to get more sleep and that may mean being a little more strict with ourselves. For example, if you’re like me and look forward to your children’s bedtime because it’s your only chance for some alone time and freedom, you might have to give that up sometimes. Maybe pick a just a couple nights a week you let yourself stay up and the rest you go to bed early. Or maybe you just don’t stay up quite as late. Apparently, adults should sleep 7-9 hours a night for optimal health. That might be hard to accomplish, but the closer we can get the better!
Quick side note: If you’re in the newborn stage, you’re not going to sleep very much. There’s really no way around it. However, meditation and conscious eating will definitely help your energy levels. Also, if anyone offers to watch the baby so you can rest, by golly take the dang offer!
Easy Actionable Tip #7: Pick 3 nights this week to go to bed early. Look at your schedule and see which nights make the most sense to get a little more sleep and literally pencil it in. If you want to try more than 3, go ahead!
8. Take a mental health day
Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is nothing at all. Every so often, we just need to take a mental health day to relax and decompress. No cleaning, no projects, no working, no outings, no planned activities, no worrying, no pressure, no expectations! Nothing. Just one lazy day of being.
I actually can’t take credit for this idea, but I do think it’s quite genius. I first heard of it from a wonderful mother I follow on Instagram named Karla Reed. She said that every so often she just needs to give herself a break, so she has these mental health days where she doesn’t do anything but let the day unfold on its own. She doesn’t worry about the house getting messy, doing any work, sometimes she doesn’t even shower. She just gives herself a day to do nothing and feel zero guilt about it.
One word of warning is to not let one mental day turn into two, or three or worse a mental health week or month! The point is not to avoid your life or responsibilities. The beauty of a mental health day lies in the fact that it’s just one day every so often. One day to give your mind some space to breathe, catch up on much-needed rest, shake up your daily routine, and play with your kids!
Easy Actionable Tip #8: Pull out that planner again. Look at your schedule and pencil in a mental health day right now. You can make it on a weekend when it might be easier to clear the whole day. Or you can be really daring, do it during the week, and let your kids stay home from school and other activities!
9. Mindfully watch your children
Okay, this is probably the most simple yet effective way to feel happier right away. Just take a moment to watch your children. Don’t get distracted and don’t multitask. Just give your children your full attention for 15 minutes. Mindfully notice all the little things and feel as the smile spreads across your face.
Watch their minds work as they try to solve a puzzle. Notice how they use their little hands when they’re drawing a picture. Focus on the curves of their sweet faces and the length of their swoon-worthy lashes. Take in the brilliant color of their crystal clear eyes. Be completely present and absorb all of their pure innocent beauty.
I got this idea when I was playing with my daughter outside. I was watching her push her baby stroller around the backyard and suddenly found myself completely enamored. I tuned everything else out and I just stood there and watched her. How she walks, how she sings to herself, how incredibly beautiful she is when the light hits her face, how she solves problems like a little mini genius. I felt tears well up in my eyes and was so overcome with gratitude and love. Watching her felt like swimming in a pool of pure happiness.
Our children are so magical. They are curious, adventurous, excitable, innocent, sensitive, fearless, and unapologetically themselves. If you give yourself a moment to really take in who they are, their bright beautiful energy will rub off on you. You will feel instantly happier.
Easy Actionable Tip #9: Go watch your children right now for 10-15 minutes. If you’re not with them right now, then do it when you’re with them next. Watch them play, eat, sleep, whatever! I promise this will make you happy. You might even cry happy tears
10. Spend more time in nature
Do not underestimate the power of a little fresh air, flowers, trees, and sunshine. If you want to become a happier mom, spend more time in nature! And bring your kids along!
I know personally that just spending some time on my backyard can significantly decrease my anxiety. There’s something so calming about hearing the birds chirping and feeling the breeze and warm sunshine on my face. My daughter also acts so much calmer when we spend more time outside, which as a result helps with my own stress levels.
Personal experience aside, scientific studies show that there is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. The soothing sounds, sensations, and sights in nature actually calm the body’s fight or flight response and distract your mind from negative thinking.
Of course, the more
Easy Actionable Tip #10: This is a two-parter — 1) Spend 10 minutes every day in nature, even if it’s just in your yard. 2) Take out your planner again and schedule a family hike or picnic!
Happiness is a simultaneous feeling of peace and excitement. If you want to become a happier mom, you have to eliminate stress, fear, and anxiety so you can feel peace. You also have to do things that bring you a hopefulness for the future and an overwhelming sense of love so you can feel excitement. If you want to do that, the 10 things listed above are a great place to start!
I’m curious, how do you define happiness? Share in the comments below!