Amid the hustle and bustle of running the kids to school and sports, grabbing groceries and working at or outside the home, do you ever stop to consider if you’re a happy mom? At the end of your busy day, do you feel fulfilled?
For Jennifer Alexander, a mindfulness coach and author, “Happiness as a mom is seeing my little man enjoying life. That makes me happy as a mom.” But is being a happy mom different than being a happy woman? Alexander points out that “Momma and personal happiness are a little bit different, although somewhat intertwined. My personal happiness comes from living authentically and honoring what is important to me — my family, my well-being and my dreams.”
“As a mom, you are the CEO or ‘Chief Everything Officer’ of your family and your household,” says Lara Galloway, co-author of Moms Mean Business. “It’s easy to get lost in all the roles and responsibilities you have and simply forget to take care of yourself. But it’s critical — and smart! — for every mom to find her happy place.”
The secrets to being a happy mom are surprisingly simple. “As long as we long externally for calm, we will be easily stressed out and dissatisfied with life. My mindfulness practice has taught me to be happy irrespective of life circumstances,” shares Alexander. “It makes sense that we have to model exactly this mindset for our children by taking care of ourselves and making our own happiness a priority,” adds Galloway.
Want to work on being happier? Here are 10 secrets that all happy moms should know:
1. Meditate in the Morning
Count 20 breaths as soon as you open your eyes and meditate for three to five minutes a day. Do this either on your own or with your littles.
2. Focus on the Best
Practice gratitude and talking regularly with your children about the “best parts” of your day. Life perspective is an essential part of happiness.
3. Get Moving
Find some way to move daily. Whether it’s a dance party with your little ones, a nature walk with them or some time to do something even more vigorous, such as a run or cross-country skiing, it’s important to keep your body active.
4. Feel Your Feelings
Really pay attention to how you feel, mentally and emotionally. If you’re running on fumes, honor that and do something as soon as possible — even if it’s small — to fill yourself back up.
5. Be Present
Practice fully showing up for your children. When you have taken some moments to center yourself, set aside your iPhone, step away from your computer and fully show up for them.
6. List Your Priorities
Pick three to five things that matter most. These are your priorities. At the end of the day, these are the things that you get done when you don’t have time to do everything. And when you spend your time doing what matters most, you wind up feeling happy.
7. Make a List
And put yourself on it! Most moms make long lists of things they have to do, and it’s easy to think that you’ll relax, take a vacation, spend time with a friend, read a book or go for a walk when you complete your to-do list — but that doesn’t often happen. “Why not add some quality ‘me time’ activities to your to-do list?” Galloway asks. “Scheduling that manicure is just as important as responding to work emails. Get it done!”
8. Create a “Hit List”
In her book, Galloway has “hit lists” for various things, for when you need a handy reminder of ways to productively spend your time. One of the most important is the “self-care hit list.” When you take care of yourself, even for just 10 minutes at a time, you take control of your happiness.
9. Say No
As a mom, you have lots of people who rely on you to take care of them. All the time. While you can’t say no to the little people who are telling you they’re hungry, there are many opportunities to say no when people ask you to do things for them.
10. Surround Yourself With Mom Friends
Seriously. When you’re tired or busy running around, it’s easy to cancel lunch plans with friends. But it’s a slippery slope. Don’t forget to keep your friendships strong. Have a standing weekly or monthly “friend date”. If you need of babysitters to secure this precious time, logon to Care.com. Or at least plan a time for a weekly call to chat.
The specifics of being a happy mom are different for each woman. It all comes down to honoring who you truly are and showing those around you that you’re accepting of yourself. “After all, we are modeling for our kids how to be happy, aren’t we? We want them to grow up knowing that their happiness matters and that they are the masters of their own destinies,” says Galloway. Your happiness matters. Embrace it!