We live in a world where moms are constantly questioning themselves, wondering whether it’s possible to ever be good enough, having to listen to the media telling us it’s unrealistic for us to want to have it all. Despite this, some moms have made peace with themselves, ditched other people’s expectations of them, and found a way to actually enjoy mamihood. In fact, I’ve found more than a handful of happy moms!
It’s empowering to realize you can really be happier as a mom if you set your mind to it. As Dr. Christine Carter—a parent coach and the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps For More Joyful Kids And Happier Parents—says, happiness is a skill and therefore can be learned.
If you are feeling less than stellar these days, I did some homework for you and found out what the happiest moms on the block have in common. Here are the top 10 tips from happy moms:
1. Focus on the effort, not the result.
Eliana Tardío, mom of two children with Down Syndrome, put it this way: “Learn to dream new dreams and how to reward efforts rather than results.”
2. Expect the unexpected.
“My secret to being a happy mom is learning the art of letting go…of ideals and perfection…when I am cognizant of the fact that things will almost never go as perfectly planned, I can stare into the eyes of surprise and giggle instead of get angry,” says blogger, former teacher and mom of three Jenny Ingram.
3. Be patient.
“My secret to being a happy mom? Patience. I don’t always exercise it, but when I do, I find things go smoother for both my children and I. A smooth day makes for a relaxed mind, and in turn, a happy mom,” according to blogger and mom of two (a girl and boy) Melanie Edwards.
4. Pick your battles.
“We can control so few things in our life, knowing when to let things go is the key to knowing that imperfection and chaos are what make life worth living,” summarizes teacher and mom Elena Sonnino.
5. Focus on the moment.
“Many times we are so busy thinking about what we have to do, where we have to go, what we need to do, etc. that we don’t realize the blessing of what we are living in that particular moment. Stop and see your kids smile, look at your husband, sit down and take a deep breath…. It’s the small things that feed your soul and give meaning to our lives,” believes blogger and mom of two Silvia Martínez.
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6. Stop competing with other women.
“The more women continue the cycle of female or mommy competition the less chances we have to build a universal female support system,” says Kimberley Clayton Blaine, author of The Internet Mommy & The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children and mom of two boys.
7. Remember there’s always tomorrow.
Or as writer Carrie Ferguson puts it: “No matter how long, exhausting or challenging a day of mothering my fast-talking, hard-headed child may be, I cling to the truth that tomorrow is a new day, a chance to make it all better—and it usually always is.”
8. Look at the big picture.
“One of the most valuable secrets to my personal happiness as a mother, was taught to me by an older mother/mentor. ‘The days are long, but the years are short,’ she said. The days of diapers and whining and sacrificing would not last forever. The lasting impact my choices would have on those young lives, would. I made it my mantra as they grew up. It has made all the difference,” explains mom of four and blogger Marta Darby.
9. Celebrate the small achievements and embrace your mistakes.
“You are teaching your kids amazing things when you tell them that mom made a mistake this morning when she yelled at you, because they need to see that it is okay to make a mistake, they need to see what you learn from it,” explains Dr. Carter, who is also a sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
10. Enjoy being a mom!
“I feel the whole trick to parenting is not just to be a good parent but also to just enjoy parenting,” says Dr. Carter.
So no more excuses, y ¡que vivan las mamás felices!