6 small steps to becoming a happier mom

Maybe you've heard the quote "a mother is only as happy as her least happy child", but I really believe a mother's and father's happiness affects the whole family too.  So I'm starting the year off with my own little happiness project.  To be clear, I have nothing really to be unhappy about.  We've been very blessed in our life.  It's just the little day-to-day things that I sometimes find mundane, enjoy less than I should or wish were a little different/better.  So recently I decided to focus on the things that DO help me appreciate what I have a little more.   Here is what I've discovered so far:

1.  Make the bed.  I heard this somewhere a few years ago, started living by it, and it seemed to work!  But then, with 2 small boys at home, it was happening less and less.  I found myself feeling overwhelmed every time I walked into my room, saw the messy bed and thought about all the unfinished business I had for the day.  Over the last couple of days I've been making a conscious effort to just make the bed first thing in the morning and it's working!

2.  Find something you're good at, set a goal around it and check it off the list:  Whether it be an exercise goal, learning to cook something new, writing, organizing etc., find something that you enjoy doing without the kids and work at it.  I've decided to get back to writing this blog because I needed something else for myself besides just what's at home.  I'm not sure where all this will go or what exactly my long-term goal is yet, but I know that I feel a sense of accomplishment with each new post, the "checked it off the list" kind of accomplishment that's often hard to achieve in this long-term project of raising kids.

3.  Know that most frustrations are a phase and will pass.  We all have our little obsessions or things we like to be just so.  Whatever it is, try to put it in perspective: how long will this last and will my obsession be worth it in the long run? One frustration for me is getting my kids to eat well.  Sam's almost 4 and used to be a pretty good eater, but lately wants almost nothing to do with vegetables and even fruit.  As a nutritionist, this was really worrying me.  As a mother and slight control freak, it was making me mad.  I worked so hard when he was a little guy to introduce him to lots of different foods.  I was feeling like a failure.  What I've begun to accept lately is that I can't force him to eat anything.  All I can do is try the tricks and tips for getting kids to eat their veggies, set a good example, make eating together a positive experience, talk about how foods nourish us in a positive way and know that he will most likely grow up to appreciate food and what it can do for his body.  So the boys and I went out for burgers and french fries recently with not a veg in sight. I just let it go and we had a really great time.

4.  Enable your children:  Sam will be 4 in April so I'm beginning to get a little stricter about picking up his toys at the end of the day, putting his dirty clothes in the hamper or wiping up a spill.  These little things will hopefully add up to make my life a little easier in the long run.  Sometimes as a mother I feel taken advantage of and this should help alleviate that, allow me to relax and do something for myself at the end of a long day and make him a more capable, self-confident person.

5.  Consider your partner's happiness:  Parenting isn't always great for a marriage.  Obviously kids are amazing, but they're a lot of work.  No one wants to change the diapers, deal with the tantrums or do the laundry.  In the chaos of raising 2 boys, I sometimes forget about the happiness of the person who has helped make this whole life possible and so amazing.  I've been reading that when it comes to marriage, don't forget the value of the little things: smile and kiss when he gets home from work, buy his favorite ice cream, tell him he's a great dad and husband, and try not to keep score.  By making him feel good, I really do feel better too.  I have to remind myself of this one often, but I'm working on it.

6.  Go out with the girls: This is probably the easiest and quickest fix of them all.  We all know the therapeutic value of a few hours spent with your friends complaining a bit and laughing, eating and drinking a bit more.  Just don't forget to spend a little time talking about your blessings.  Gratitude is one of the most well-documented secrets to happiness.

It's all a work in progress...  Wish me luck!

What are your tips for a happier motherly existence?

photo by erinkonrath.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...