I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but there is no 3 step process to being a happy mom. Happiness isn’t a destination, it's a feeling, an emotion. Like the mindfulness author Thich Naht Hahn says, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”
Happiness is a positive emotional experience that brings about feelings of satisfaction and joyfulness. In more simple terms, happiness is a good feeling you get from doing something.
Over the course of a day a mom can experience moments of remarkable happiness, and yet in the same day she might find herself in the midst of feeling grief, anger, sadness, etc., etc.. The point is that no one is happy 100% of the time. I think it is healthy to feel every emotion in it’s deepest form. I have definitely been in the motherhood pit of doom before, but even those of us who spent time in the pit of doom come up for air eventually. No matter what your mom struggles, every mom is worthy of feeling happiness.
It is our values and also our daily habits that contribute to our happiness. As there is no switch that will turn you into a happy mom. The self-awareness of your mindset and habits that we focus on will expand. If we focus on values like, generosity, humor and compassion, we have a better chance of feeling happy more often.There is a happy mom quote out there from an anonymous author that states the obvious so perfectly, “Your kids don’t want a perfect mom, they want a happy mom.”
What makes a mom happy?
Every mom is different. What makes me happy won’t necessarily make you happy. I took some time to reflect on the things that make me the most happy and I am sharing them with you in this post today. I hope you can relate to some of my tried and true happy habits in no particular order.
Redirect to avoid saying “no” all the time
Rules are great. Rules are important. Rules can suck moms into saying “no” way too much. This is for good reason, but on occasion moms would much rather be able to say yes. I know, shocker, mom’s actually want to be a fun parent sometimes. In recent years I’ve made a conscious effort to not always say the word “no” even when the answer is actually “no”. If I redirect the kids to another option that is similar to what they want, but not the exact thing they are asking for, then we have a more positive interaction. Everyone seems to walk away from the interaction with pleasantries instead of tantrums which is a win for mom. Constantly hearing negative verbal cues strengthens the negative language development of a child’s brain. We want to teach our children to be able to think positively so they are more resilient so we should be strengthening those muscles instead.
You need an identity outside motherhood
Establishing an identity is important and we all had one before we were moms. Suddenly when we became moms, our identity changed. Maybe like me, you didn’t know it would change you so much. I think a key to being a happy mom is to maintain a sense of identity outside of motherhood. It doesn’t have to be anything magnanimous, but something that builds a skill or requires social interaction is ideal. This will give you something to say during the group ice breaker game other than, “Hi, my name is _____ and I am a mom.”
Laugh and laugh and laugh until you cry or pee!
The giggles are the guaranteed way for moms to feel the fuzzy happy mom feelings. To a kid, seeing their mom laugh is almost as uncommon as taking a picture with their mom. A laughing mom is a happy mom. Kids and spouses really want to see their moms laugh. Us moms, we can be very serious and this is exactly why moms need to laugh more. We can’t take ourselves too seriously though or we will miss out on sharing common ground with the people around us. Being able to laugh at yourself, not in a demeaning way, but in a way that brings people together through vulnerability will deepen our relationships and create a sense of trust with those people who love us the most.
Play with your kids.
Being a kid is awesome. When you can access your inner child and for brief moments allow yourself to remember what it is like to be a kid you can access all kinds of joy and happy mom vibes. Playing with our kids bonds us to our children by creating more intimate relationships with them. We can treat them with compassion if we are able to understand how their brain processes play, traverses through curiosity and overcomes fear.
Be in the moment.
This one is really tough for moms especially. For some reason moms are always thinking of the next 5 things they have to get done. I call this the “open tab syndrome.” I know I’m not the only mom out there who suffers from “open tab syndrome”. The “open tab syndrome” is when you have a million and one different search tabs open all at once. Too many search tabs open creates a very distracted mind. Moms tend to allow themselves to have lots of open tabs — the weekend plans, the school fundraiser, what’s for dinner, who’s driving the kid to gymnastics. These are all things that need attention and they may need attention simultaneously. It’s a lot. That’s why it is so important to try and be in the moment. Whether you need to focus on yourself, or something for someone else, a distracted mind is not attractive and it’s not a good model for your kids. I’m just as guilty as the next mom of ignoring my kids or giving them less than 100% of myself. The famous “ watch this mom” phrase comes rushing to my mind. I tell my kids I’m watching, but am I really present in the moment with them giving them my full attention? Remember, the devil is in the details. Noticing where you are, who you are with, and what you’re doing together will allow you to savor each moment. Focusing on the little things will make whatever it is you are doing that much more wonderful. When I think about savoring the moment with my kids I think of reading books out loud, playing with them on the swing set and snuggling with them after a nap. These precious happy mom moments don’t come around twice so you have to take it while you can get it.
Sing and dance
Whatever the mood is in the house, a quick song and dance can always jazz up our spirits. I guess some people might go as far as to call this exercise and yes, exercise does also help bring about the smiley face emojis at our house too. Singing and dancing in all forms and in all rooms of the house really gets the kids excited about hanging out with their boring old mom. Singing and dancing gets the happy juices flowing every time and makes us laugh together. When I am a laughing mom I can make a nice deposit in my happy mom bank.
Be a generous spirit
Like Francis of Assisi said, “It is in giving that we receive.” Being generous is not unfamiliar to moms. Moms are givers and I think most moms understand that when we give we might not receive anything in return. I think generosity is a value that makes moms happy because moms understand that at any point in time for literally any reason we could be the one who is in need. Douglas Abrams, co-author of The Book of Joy, writes “When we have a generous spirit, we are easy to be with and fun to be with. We radiate happiness and our very company can bring joy to others.” He goes on to say “There is a humility that recognizes our place in the world and acknowledges that at another time we could be the one in need whether that is material, emotional, or spiritual.” Let’s not forget though, that it helps no one if your happiness is sacrificed because you are so consumed by other people's problems and suffering. Those people who give so generously must be joy filled first, so that others can see that being generous is not a burden and does not come at the expense of oneself.
“In fact, taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life.” -- Dalai Lama
Involve your children
Our house has a “we” frame of mind. We do things together as a family even if the activity is generally considered an adult activity. We go on bike rides together. We clean up the toys together. We do yard work together. Usually, mealtimes are a family activity. We cook dinner. We set the table. We say prayer. We eat together. We clean the kitchen. Mealtime is not just a mom activity. It is a family activity. I definitely do the lion’s share of the work, but I most certainly delegate responsibilities so that each person contributes. For example, I often let the kids pour the noodles in the boiling water when we make spaghetti; they get to crack open the eggs when we bake; shaking the salt and pepper shaker is still one of the most coveted jobs in the kitchen with mom. Doing things together for the benefit of us all makes us happy.
Observe the ebb and flow of energy in your house.
Go out when you need to go out and socialize. When you observe fatigue, stay home and recharge. If you respect the ebb and flow of human energy you can build a trusting relationship between yourself and your body. Let your body rest when it needs rest. Work your body when you feel restless or excited. Our body sends us signals and it is up to us to honor our bodies needs.
When enough is enough
Join “Mom Coach - On Demand” to access our program along with wellness challenges, exclusive blog access and much more. Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome. If I do this I will be happy, if I don’t I wont. It is a pro-quo. This standard is very difficult to maintain because we continue to raise the bar up when we do feel happiness. Happiness is result based. It is demanding. I challenge you to explore JOY. Joy is not a response. Joy is always under construction. Enjoying the complexities of the motherhood journey from season to season.
About The Author
Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. As a mom of two she gets it. Join NOW "The Mom Coach - On Demand" for the proven program to "stop existing, start living."
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