Relax with these feel-good strategies for weary parents
Published: April 28, 2022
By: Sarah Lyons
We have all heard that motherhood can feel like a rollercoaster ride. There are highs and lows along the way. While that is a true statement, there are also many days when things feel mundane and repetitive. The ride can feel less like a rollercoaster and more like a slow-moving monorail. Whether you feel like your life is a rollercoaster or a monorail, every mom wants to be happy and a positive influence on their children. Is there a secret to being a happy mother? While no one can be happy in every moment, here are some tips to keep smiling and feel contentment during the highs, lows and mundane days of motherhood.
Take care of yourself. When flight attendants review safety information before a flight, they remind passengers to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting others. As moms, we often put others’ needs before our own. The same idea can be applied to motherhood. While moms can’t always put themselves first, it is still important to make sure your basic needs are met. “I’ve made self-care a priority,” says mom, Bekah Bayer. “I go to bed early enough that I can wake up before the boys do. This gives me time to drink my coffee and start my day off in a peaceful way.” Get adequate rest, eat regular healthy meals, exercise regularly and take care of your mental health. Assuring these basic needs are met will help you feel healthier and happier so that you can take care of your loved ones.
Schedule time for you. “I like to get up before the kids for quiet time alone with my coffee,” says Liz DeArmond, a mom of three. “I also make sure to give myself time for running, reading or sewing, all my favorite things, at some point during the day. I feel it’s important to model this for my kids.“ Allowing your hobbies and interests to develop and allowing yourself time for them can boost your mood and help you feel happier overall. “I love having time away scheduled, so I have something to look forward to during the hard times,” says parent, Kara Thomas. “My rotations include lunch with friends, pedicures and book clubs.” Give yourself permission to do the things you enjoy both with and without your children.
Enjoy your kids. One secret of happy moms is they enjoy their children. “Allow yourself to relax and have fun with your kids,” says mom of three, Heather Lewis. “Include your kids in the things that make you happy.” Choose an activity that brings you joy such as gardening, cooking, reading, sports or travel and show the kids why you find it fun. “Ask them to help you and then let them do it their way. It will build their confidence and give you a break from feeling like you have to do it all.” Try not to compare yourself or your kids to other families and enjoy your own circumstances.
Let it go. Try to pinpoint what is bringing your mood down. If it is a messy house, have the family pitch in and help you clean it up. Don’t expect it to be perfect and try to appreciate that everyone is pitching in. If getting them to help is a battle, leave the house for the day and do something fun. The mess may be waiting when you get home but your mood may be lighter and it will seem easier to tackle after you’ve had a break. Try to remember that your relationship with your kids is more important long term. You may find your mood is improved just by taking time to play, laugh and be silly with your kids.
It is an unrealistic expectation to be happy every moment of every day but you can have a general feeling of contentment with your life as a mom. If you are having feelings that seem out of control or hopeless, seek professional help. Not all sadness can be simply brushed away, but for many moms simply slowing down to appreciate how great your children are while also taking time to take care of your own mental and physical health can make all the difference in staying happy and healthy.