“If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

This popular older saying is funny, full of questionable grammar mistakes, and at times, so very true. As mother’s we consistently put everyone’s needs before our own. Unfortunately, as we juggle work, relationships, carpools, serving dinner, and tantrums, it doesn’t take much to find us unhappily at the end of our ropes. Sometimes, the best thing mothers can do for our families is to take good care of ourselves. When we are happy, our kids benefit in numerous ways.

The following five tips can help you be a happier mom:

Take care of yourself. There is a reason airlines always tell parents to put on our air masks first, before our kids. If we don’t tend to our needs, we won’t be able to care for our children. Take this advice and make sure to tend to our own needs: mentally, physically, and spiritually. In the long run, we will be happier and better able to care for our families. It might seem overwhelming to fit one more task into our days, but making sure we take care of ourselves helps us become more understanding, forgiving, and patient. Find ways to get a good night’s rest, exercise, find a hobby, relax, or enjoy a hot bath and spa day at home. Reconnect with your partner, family, and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Stop comparing. As mothers, it is far too easy to compare ourselves and children to other. Accepting ourselves is freeing. It allows a person to focus on their family, find what works for them and overcomes the desire to be just like everyone else. We might see a friend who consistently creates spectacular Pinterest projects, has immaculately well-behaved children, always has dinner prepared, or can afford expensive shopping excursions every week. Unfortunately, the comparison doesn’t stop with us. We also compare our kids. It’s difficult not to look at a star pupil, musically inclined child, or sweet-tempered kid and ask ourselves, “Why can’t my son or daughter be more like them?”. We need to give ourselves permission to embrace our own families- and that means our imperfections as well. Do you.

Take time to slow down and smell the flowers. Research has uncovered flowers and green spaces actually give us a variety of health benefits. These side effects range anywhere from improving our overall well-being, brain function, stress levels, anxiety, and happiness. By simply heading outside, we can harvest this flower power to increase our happiness. Step in your backyard or purchase a cheery bouquet to take advantage of Mother Nature’s happiness booster.

Let it go! A great step in being happy is to realize that are going to make mistakes here and there. It’s no secret that “life happens when you’re making plans”. Unfortunately, that might entail mistakes along the way. We are human and that inevitably means we will make mistakes. We will lose our tempers, feel tired, or be sick. We can’t beat ourselves up for the past or our mistakes. We won’t always be able to get all the chores done, make every soccer game, or craft the perfect birthday party. Take a deep breath and forgive yourself. Focus on living in the moment, because our kids are only young once. If we are too stressed about dirty laundry piles or spilled milk we might miss these years and regret it later.

Be thankful! As a mother, it might be difficult to find the good sometimes. However, research is finding that being grateful can cause a big difference in our mood and lead to happiness. Instead of always seeing the glass half empty, strive to find something to be thankful for in every situation. If a child is talking back, be thankful that he is healthy and can talk back. If you’re struggling to finance a new roof for your house, be thankful you have a house. Switching our mindset is a natural way to be happy, because it allows us to see the positive. We might not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Experts encourage us to find 3 to 5 things we are grateful for every few days to help boost our health and happiness.

How do you become a happier mom?

Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

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