Some people are just born happy. Others have to work at their happiness. Some succeed in their efforts while others try and, unfortunately, fail.
For some women, they think that just being a mom will automatically bring them joy. And while that’s often true, simply raising a child will not necessarily make you wake up with a smile on your face. On the contrary, having kids can bring an inane and — perhaps — surprising amount of stress and sadness to your life.
Which isn’t to say that being a mom isn’t a glorious and heartwarming endeavor. But doing it and being happy at the same time often takes a ton of work.
Here are 10 things happy moms do differently that can make the whole parenting process an eminently better one — and the greatest part? For the most part, they’re really just subtle changes that can yield big, bright results.
10 Things Happy Moms Do Differently 1 of 11
Make Fewer Excuses 2 of 11
As if parenting wasn't exhausting enough, fewer things will drain you faster than making excuses for what you do — or don't do.
Your house may be messy. Your meals may be microwaved. Perhaps your children's hair hasn't been washed in more days than there are Kardashians on the planet.
But you know what will only add to your woes? Making excuses for each and every one of those things.
If you do it — or don't, as is often the case own it. You don't owe anybody an excuse. Maybe you're not doing it because you're busy working. Maybe it's because you're too tired, you forgot, or maybe you just didn't feel like it. Whatever it is — who cares? If someone's going to judge you for it, they're either lying about what the insides of their own closets look like or they have way more money and time on their hands.
Your kids may want to know why they're having microwaved chicken nuggets for the ninth dinner in a row, and maybe that's because you have failed to go to the store or simply refuse to serve them something yet again that they might potentially refuse to eat — but beyond that, stop explaining yourself to everyone. Not every day will be your best and there simply doesn't need to be an excuse for it. It just is. Admitting that fact to you and you alone could brighten your mood considerably.
Exercise 3 of 11
There's no question exercise is good for your body and your mind. You don't need us to tell you that.
But what exercise does for moms can go a bit deeper. It may not be so easy to find the time to do it — getting kids out of house in the morning, working, shopping, being a mom — but if you're able, it means you might actually have some time to yourself. And time alone is one of those things that not a lot of moms have, but the ones who get it might just appear to be a bit happier. That's because they are.
Time alone shouldn't be such a luxury, but if your time feels forever spent with others or even just doing things for others, taking some time for you and you alone — while also doing something that's necessarily good for you, just might have you grinning from ear to ear. And if you're pants are a bit looser, too, as a result? Bonus!
Date their Children 4 of 11
If someone tells you again that you need to schedule regular "date nights" with your husband, you just might hurl on their shoes, yes?
But perhaps just as important as special time with your spouse? Special time with your children.
Good moms spend time with their children helping them get ready in the morning, assisting with their homework in the evening and shuttling them to and from school, playdates and other assorted activities. Happy moms carve out dedicated slots to spend time with their kids when they're not doing anything else. Whether it's a special dinner out for a slice of pizza, a weekend-morning movie or an arts-and-crafts project that's just for the two of you, singling out each child for their very own hour, afternoon or evening will have you connecting with them on a level that can be tough to achieve after soccer practice and before the math tutor.
Accept Help 5 of 11
Somewhere along the way of the history of moms, we earned this reputation as superheroes.
And, yes, while many of us are amazing, we're still decidedly human. And running our own lives can be tricky enough. Throw in a spouse and a kid or two or three and that sh*t can get overwhelming in a hurry.
Sometimes a good person (or people) might sense that you're having a tough afternoon/day/week/month/year and extend a hand — whether it's offering to take your volunteer shift at school, pick up your dry cleaning or watch your kids on a one-off school vacation day. Accept the help. Specific offers like that usually aren't made in vain, and if it would ease your mind to get some relief, the trickle-down effect is often far and wide. It's a happy win-win.
Cook Ahead on Weekends 6 of 11
Maybe you're not the chef in your family, and if that's the case — bravo. Except that cooking can be relaxing, it can be a good way to ensure your kids are getting somewhat balanced meals, and having the satisfaction of knowing you're providing for your loved ones in such a primal way can be really, really nice.
That being said, trying to cook after school and during the prime meltdown hours before bed is more of a nightmare than not.
Which is where cooking ahead on the weekends comes in handy. Making a few meals on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon that can be frozen and heated up during the week is ah-mazing. If your husband or partner doesn't work on the weekends and can watch the kids while you go to the store alone? Even better. Making a few meals at once can eat up some of your time, but if that means it's less time you're spending doing it during the week, it's hard to argue it's not time well spent.
Pick Their Battles 7 of 11
Kids annoy their parents. It's their job.
Parents nitpick their kids. It's their job, too.
However, getting on your kids' case about every little thing makes no one feel good. While there are days when every little thing your little ones do gets on your nerves, deciding which irritating traits to call them out on and which to let slide — and you really need to let some or lots of them slide — will make everyone happier. After all, happier people are often prone to be less annoying, which is the best kind of vicious cycle there is, no?
Make Lists 8 of 11
Writing things down on a piece of paper shouldn't be a secret path to happiness, but it is. Of course it's a little deeper than just pen to paper — although surprisingly, not by much.
You're not alone if you spend the hours you should be sleeping sitting and figuring out how you'll be getting from Point A to Point R while also managing to make it to Point G at the same time you're supposed to be at Point Y while simultaneously locating your reading glasses, saving for college and putting gas in the car.
Writing down everything you need to do is a way of de-cluttering your mind and looking at everything with organization in mind. And putting a voice to a plan is the first step in actually making a plan. Making a plan means having a plan to actually implement, which means being able to cross things off your list once you get to do it. Having fewer things to do can mean a sigh of relief — and sighing with relief is always a good thing, isn't it?
Take Perspective 9 of 11
This is not to diminish real, every-day concerns and troubles, but the happiest moms know what it means to take perspective, and they do it regularly.
Your kids' homework needs to get done. Your family needs to be fed. You need to work and pay bills. Someone puked on your new sofa. The car needs to go into the shop for a week and they're not coughing up a loaner free of charge. The plane on your vacation is four hours delayed. That all stinks.
But there really are families who are a lot worse off. They don't have a car or their house is in foreclosure. Someone close to them is so sick they will not make it until next year. Their source of income is in jeopardy. Their kids are being bullied.
No one's saying your problems aren't real. But take a closer look at them from time to time or even a bit more often and realize it could always be worse, and be grateful that it isn't.
Have Someone Else Clean 10 of 11
A wise person once said that a housekeeper is cheaper than marriage therapy, and truer words were perhaps never spoken.
That being said: Not everyone can afford to pay someone else to clean their home.
However, you don't need a regular cleaning service to get someone else to clean for you. Cleaning your home can be the very, very bad tasting icing on your already-stressful day or week. Which means it shouldn't be left to just you to do. Your husband or partner should be assigned some chores. Your kids can pitch it. Don't put it all on yourself to make sure the bathrooms aren't gross, the kitchen isn't a pig sty and the bedrooms are a certified-disaster area. This isn't 1950 and you're not June Cleaver. Everyone can and should do their part to keep your home up to your standards, whatever that means. And when it's not all left up to you, that should give you at least one thing to smile about, yes?
Keep Track of Finances 11 of 11
Amazingly, it's not just in ominous online articles and on Lifetime movies that women wake up to find their bank accounts are empty because they made a careless mistake or were swindled out of their life savings by a stranger or, worse, someone they know.
We've already established that we're 60+ years beyond Leave It To Beaver, which means even if our husbands or partners are the ones in our families in charge of the finances, we should know what's going on with them, too.
Whether you have separate checking accounts or it's all in the same pot, you have a right to know where every penny is going, and even if you're not keeping track to a detailed extent, you should be aware and on it regardless. No matter how solid your marriage or relationship, knowledge is power, and not having financial power isn't something that's going to make you very happy in the present day or the long run.
Photo credits: iStockphoto
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