Being a mom is a lot harder than I imagined. I pictured myself being a happy mom, who played with her kids and cherished the little moments. I never imagined that I would be the angry, yelling mom.
With a never-ending task list and four kids who don’t always listen to what I have to say, the picture of motherhood I had in my brain didn’t turn out to be true. I wanted to be that happy mom, but I was losing myself in motherhood.
My entire life – day and night – revolved around being a mother, taking care of the kids, changing diapers, making dinners, and trying to keep a reasonably clean house. Instead of enjoying my kids, I found myself exhausted every day.
There has to be more to motherhood than this.
I have friends with 7+ kids and they seemed happy. What was I missing? There had to be something that I wasn’t doing right.
So, I did what seemed like the right decision, and I asked my friends how they became a happier mom. Believe it or not, they all have the same answer, and I’m going to share it with you.
The 1 Secret to Being a Happy Mom
What did they all tell me was the top way to become a happy mom?
Don’t Forget That You’re an Individual As Well
Well, of course I know I’m an individual, but I’m a mom. It’s kind of hard to separate the two, right?
I had to do some soul searching and further discussions with my mom-friends to see what I was missing but I realized something.
I felt guilty whenever I pursued activities that were for me only, and I believed that I had to give to my kids and not myself.
It was simple things really, at least at first. I didn’t buy myself a new shirt that I thought was adorable because that outfit for the baby was way cuter. Then, I stopped doing my makeup because I didn’t have the 10 minutes to do it.
But Then It Went Further
I stopped going out with my friends. Leaving my kids with my husband made me feel guilty, even though he told me to go out as often as I needed to get a break.
I spent every waking minute on something with the kids. If they wanted to watch a movie, I would turn off a show I enjoyed. If they wanted to build a LEGO castle, I would put down the crochet project I enjoyed.
Over time, I stopped even trying to do those activities and solely focused on the kids. I felt guilty doing things that were for me, and I found out I wasn’t a happy mom at all.
Ladies, It’s More Than Self-Care
I can preach to you all day long about self-care, but it goes deeper than just needing a good bubble bath and pedicure. Now, I don’t discount those things, and I encourage you to find the time to take for some pampering.
It’s the belief, whether culturally or socially, that mothers have to be everything for their kids and forego things that matter to them.
We don’t put those same restrictions on fathers. My husband goes out with his friends, heads to the gym, and has a volunteer position he loves. I never thought to question those because he had things he liked to do outside of parent as well.
Yet, I couldn’t connect that same line of thought to myself.
Ladies, we are individuals and worthy of all the happiness in the world. We can take care of ourselves and pursue interests that don’t involve our kids.
How to Become a Happy Mom
Once you really accept this and release any kind of guilt surrounding it – that takes some time – you have to think about what to do. Sometimes, budget issues that don’t allow us to have babysitters often. That doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to be that individual you are inside.
Here are some simple ideas.
- Take a walk, with or without the kids, if you enjoy it.
- Try a yoga video at home – streaming has plenty available.
- Try your hand at having a vegetable garden. Start with these easy veggies to grow.
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook
- Listen to podcasts. I’m a true-crime podcast fanatic, and I listen to homeschooling and homesteading podcasts.
- Put the kids to bed earlier, giving yourself more time alone.
- Watch one show each day that you like.
- Ty some new hobbies. Crocheting, knitting, needlework, painting, or whatever strikes your interest.
- Take some local classes at centers.
- Join a book club.
- Meet up with moms in the area more often.
- Get up earlier than your kids and enjoy a cup of HOT coffee alone, even sitting outside.
These are just some ideas. Start slow. You don’t always need a babysitter to invest in yourself, and your partner, if you have one, needs to be willing to help.
For me, I need to go out with friends once or twice a month. I’ve been investing in some new clothes and trying new makeup sometimes, but I like it. I garden, crochet, read, listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and love to watch movies.
Finally Being a Happy Mom
I do these things because I’m an individual and I’m more than a mom. My kids are my heart, but I’m still a person who deserves to have interests, hobbies, and do things that make me happy. They don’t have to make my kids happy or my spouse happy; they just have to make me happy.
Of course, being a happy mom involves more than just painting your nails. It starts with an internal shift and realizing that it’s okay to separate yourself from your kids. You don’t have to be one unit with them all of the time, never doing things without them or that aren’t for them.
I want to hear from you. What do you do to be a happy mom? What makes you happy? Let me know in the comments!