Have you wondered what prevents you from being a happier mom and enjoying the enriching motherhood experience? Motherhood fills your days and nights with countless moments of sheer pleasure, utter happiness and pure bliss. But apart from a thanklessly rewarding experience that motherhood is it also comes with its fair share of discontentment, frustrations, anger and bickering. Though most of the times the joyous ride of motherhood overtakes the chaos which motherhood brings with it, there are times when ‘unhappiness and despair’ hidden in those dreamy moments can pop its head outweighing the happiness and can rob you of the otherwise rich and rewarding experience. The stress of responsibilities and obligations might start to rob you of the joy of motherhood and a big chunk of your happiness as a parent and a mother might go missing. But, happiness is an elusive state which is more than the simple fleeting positive emotions and a smiley face. Rather, happiness is a state of well-being which encompasses a good, satisfying life with a deeper meaning and purpose making it worthwhile.
My kid gives me the greatest pleasures of my life, but raising a happy kid entails a lot of chaos and drama along with a heap of laundry and other responsibilities. But I want to keep it real; I have been that mom where I was losing the joy of motherhood in the shuffle of the obligations and the jumble of stress. I was beginning to lose my calm and poise due to being worn out both physically and emotionally. And an irritable and impatient ‘me’ was taking over an otherwise calm and composed ‘me’. But don’t we all know that only a happy mother can raise a happy baby and I do not want my relationship with my kid to suffer because I am not happy. The innocent smile on my child’s face gives me more happiness goals than anything or even anyone else for that matter could ever give. And that is why I make conscious efforts not to let some pointless unhappy moments to take away my happiness and ruin my motherhood journey.
So here are some tips and learning which have helped me maintain my happy, become a happy person and an even happier mom and make motherhood more enjoyable and enriching:
1) Learn to value yourself and your motherhood
The responsibilities that come along with raising a baby can sometimes feel like drudgery. Doing heaps of laundry, wiping noses and bums and cleaning after the baby day in and day out was feeling a lot like drudgery to me and was getting to wear me out. And so the first and foremost step that I took towards becoming a happier mom was to learn my value and the value of what I was doing. It is very important to understand that whatever you do for your child today, whether it is cooking a meal, kissing boo-boos, reading stories or playing hide and seek, goes a long way. It has a deep impact on the connection that you have with your child. It not only adds up to develop a strong, healthy bond between the two of you but also helps you become a happier and effective mother. Being positive with motherhood brought meaning to my life and gave it a new dimension. I just had to believe that even when I wear pyjamas or yoga pants I was still amazing for my kid and family who couldn’t do without me. Each little thing I do for them, which may seem insignificant and invaluable is in fact very crucial to bring me closer and make them feel secure and happy.
2) Label your feelings and admit when stressed
Labelling my emotions and feelings and admitting when I was stressed actually solved half of the problem. When I started to label my feelings and describe in a word how I was feeling it not only helped me to identify my emotions but helped me to also deal with it better. Stress, frustration and anger are common emotions that go hand in hand with motherhood. It would be a big fat lie to say motherhood is all fuzzy and rosy the entire time. But it becomes easier when you accept the reality. It will be a lot easier if you know that it is perfectly normal to feel stressed, or frustrated or angry. The feelings these emotions doesn’t make you a bad mother. Rather, when you accept and label them it helps you to overcome them easily.
3) Sort your priorities
Being a mother is not easy. From the instant you open your eyes in the morning and to the moment you close your eyes at night there are endless tasks and chores you need to get done in the limited hours you have. Most days I found the time insufficient to complete all the chores and they just keep on piling. That’s a pretty common picture of any household with small kids and mine is no different. But despite knowing that it can become easily daunting and get you overwhelmed. So in order to become a happier mom, what came handy for me in this scenario was prioritizing my chores. Some things need immediate attention while others can wait for the next day or even two. Also, how much of each work needs to done can also be prioritized. Don’t let the surmounting work come in the way of watching and enjoying your little miniatures grow and turn into amazing human beings. Because the time that you spend with your children is the one that’s going to matter and not the time you spend doing laundry and dishes. At the end of the day it is how you spend your time with your family making memories that is going to count.
4) Appreciate and savour the moment
Motherhood is a thankless job, but its beauty lies not in being a nitpicker, but in appreciating the things as they are and savouring those moments. Believe me when I say you can save a lot of your sanity by just doing that and inch a little closer to become a happier mom. When you have small kids, those toothless or toothy smiles, those wet kisses and those soft cuddles are the sort of thank yous you’re going to get. Rejoice in the beauty of the moment. Savouring those little moments and creating beautiful memories out of them is what you will look back and cherish. The life of a mother is difficult, I totally agree. But finding your perfect moments in those imperfect moments is the art that you need to master to keep your happy. Life will give you lemons, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to cringe on them or prepare lemonades. It’s not always easy to nourish and propagate positive emotions, but a little effort towards it goes a long way. And don’t you think it’s all worth it?
5) Feel grateful
Gratitude is a habit we all need to cultivate in ourselves. Why do I say this? Because gratitude forms the basis of my journey towards being a happier mom. There are going to be tough days, that’s true, but finding good in even the worst harbours positive feelings and opens doors to happiness and satisfaction. Appreciating and being grateful for the riches you have not only lets you live a fulfilling life, but also helps you maintain your equilibrium and sanity. When you have optimism embedded in your habit, you are less likely to get dazed and have a setback. Feeling grateful and acknowledging others for their good not only act as great mood busters but practicing gratitude also prevents the bad days from getting the best of you. Happiness then becomes a journey rather than a destination.
6) Don’t be harsh on yourself
Perfection is a myth and the sooner you kept abreast with this reality the sooner you reclaimed your happy. We all want the best for our kids and strive very hard to achieve that. And in the process, we set the standards so high that we become too harsh on ourselves. I can understand how much you love cleanliness, but sometimes it’s perfectly OK to let things remain messy if you are too much exhausted. I personally sometimes get exhausted to the bone and still have things that need immediate attention. But I let it go. I don’t push myself too hard and just let it go. But I have learned along the way not to get too obsessed and stress over it unnecessarily. So if you sometimes find my bedroom messy and laundry is undone, that’s because I have decided to go easy on myself. And I don’t find anything wrong with that if I can steal some happiness out of it. So whatever you might find causing you stress, you should let it go. I know it’s easier said than done, but you need to be reasonable with yourself just as you need to be reasonable with others. And this is what will take you closer to being a happier mom.
7) Reconnect with your spouse
My marriage and my relationship with Mr. Husband started taking a backseat since the moment we conceived. Because from that moment onwards anything and everything has been about the baby. And as a consequence our own love story became usurped by our baby love. But one thing I learned before my obsession with my baby could make a permanent dent on my relationship with Mr. Husband was to reconnect with him and keep strengthening the connection with small and simple gestures of love. It’s understandable that the early years of parenthood can be stressing for both the spouses, but it should also be kept in mind that to remain happier you need to keep working on your relationship with your spouse just as you need with the baby. Do not keep your relationship for some tomorrow and also do not let your relationship with your spouse suffer because of your relationship with your baby. Read more about how we kept our relationship alive after the baby as we started looking at our relationship in a new light in my earlier post “Are you ready for a new perspective in relationship goals?”
8) Find friends and ask for help
Motherhood takes up so much time and space of a mother in raising a baby that it begins to feel lonely and burdened at times. A mother needs help not only physically, but also emotionally. And who could better understand a mom’s problems than a fellow mom herself. Getting to share the mixed feelings and emotions that a mother feels, be acknowledged and truly understood requires a fellow mother who has gone or going through the same ordeal helps so much. The hustle and bustle of motherhood and be really overwhelming and a little help doesn’t hurt anyone. To become a happier mom you shouldn’t feel shy or guilty to reach out and ask for help and you will be surprised how good it can feel – to be connected and be happy.
9) Set up a routine and hack your sleep
I have said this before and I am saying it yet again, sleep is the first thing a mother sacrifices for her child. But it’s also true that a sleep-deprived mom is hard to be happy. Having a good sleep can absolutely make a huge difference in the way you feel. You must have got lots of advice from well-meaning people to sleep when the child sleeps, but I know it’s easier said than done. And being a mother you would rather choose to get some work done when your child sleeps. But believe me, if you are missing out on your sleep you are depriving yourself of enjoying motherhood to the fullest. This is where getting a routine in place helps. I feel setting up a routine gives me a sense of feeling organized, gets my work done on time and also helps me squeeze time to catch up on my sleep. Setting up a routine for the day not only makes you know what to expect from your day, but also makes it easier for my family and baby. Don’t let sleep stand in your way to become a happier mom, find the hack that works best to catch-up some sleep and recharge your batteries to be the supermom that your kid knows.
10) Make time to pursue your own interests
Making time to pursue your hobby is probably the best thing you could do to become happier. Being a mother does take up a major amount of your time, but it does not ask you to give up on things that you love and enjoy doing. It never asks you to give up your sense of self. You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself away from the baby. This would only bring you closer to being you and being happy without ripping you off your motherhood. Only recently I have come to this realization and you can read all about it in my earlier post “Motherhood might be my religion, but I am more than just a mother.”
Motherhood is a blessing, but it’s hard not to get consumed and lose yourself in fulfilling responsibilities. But there shouldn’t be any room for discontentment and motherhood should be enjoyed with a true motherhood spirit. This is the time to soak up these moments before they become memories and get your mom-groove back with these effective pointers.
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