Thursday, March 20, 2014

Being the Happiest Mom You Can Be

If you ask a mom if she enjoys motherhood, she’ll probably say yes. She will probably tell you it’s tough but rewarding, that it made her life better and that her kids are the light of her life. And I’m not trying to suggest that she’s lying- because those things are all probably true. But most parents are hesitant to tell the whole truth, like it would be a crime to ever suggest that your kids don’t make you happier than before you were a parent. The rewards of being a parent have always been something people have never been afraid to share, however, talking about the difficulties that motherhood brings seems to be more of a taboo subject. Becoming a mother is a beautiful thing that opens up your heart to a kind of love you could have never previously imagined, but don’t have kids because you are trying to become a happier person…because if that is the case, you might be disappointed. 

Being a mother is a rich and rewarding experience, but it can also be emotionally taxing. Luckily, there are ways you can improve your level of satisfaction and happiness as a parent within your daily life. According to Karen Reivich, a research associate in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the first step to becoming a happier mom is to recognize how important your job as a mother is and to place a lot of value on it. And once you start acknowledging how you’re basically just short of a
superhero…you'll start enjoying your job more!

The next step to being a happier mom is to not sweat the small stuff. Don’t let yourself get really stressed over the little things, but on the flip side, when you are stressed, it’s okay to admit it. Being stressed out or having a bad day does not make you a bad parent, because we all know being a mom can be seriously stressful sometimes! Having a really bad day? Take a second to have your own private mommy meltdown, then let it go and move on! Reorganize your priorities because there are somethings that you go crazy over that at the end of the day just aren’t that important. If you can afford someone to clean your house, hire them! This way you can have a clean house and spend more time with the kids. A house cleaner doesn’t fit the budget? No big deal but ask yourself, is it really that important for the entire house to be spotless? You could spend the time you use obsessing over having every bed made playing with your kids and I promise you, that will be more fulfilling. 

Part of not letting the little things weigh you down is learning to go with the flow. Psychology studies on happiness have shown that people who can go with the flow and adapt tend to be happier people overall. And this idea can definitely be applied to parenting. So the trip to the zoo you organized isn’t going exactly how you planned…instead of getting stressed out over it, just go with it and make the most out of your situation. Kids can turn almost anything into a game, so take that idea and use it towards your own tasks or chores. Reivich uses the example of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, make it less boring and repetitive by turning it into a cooking show with the kids! It's an easy way to make the most fun out of the least fun situations.

Another key to being a happier mom is to appreciate the small things. Even if it is a ten minute cup of coffee to yourself each morning, savor and enjoy those ten minutes as your own personal morning ritual. Take up yoga as your form of exercise. Start a new hobby like gardening or baking. These things will help you to feel more relaxed and have a more positive outlook on each day. They will also help you to be ready to handle the stressors that will inevitably come your way. 

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