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Wondering how to be a happy mom? This post is perfect for you!
Motherhood is challenging in so many ways. From dealing with many firsts such as holding a baby, feeding it, changing diapers to dealing with toddler tantrums and disciplining older kids a mom has to go through a lot.
While trying to cope with the constantly changing phases of her child, a mom also has to make time to work, nurture other relationships and manage her household chores.
All of this often leads to irritability, stress, mood swings and a feeling of guilt for never being a ‘happy mom’.
Well, first of all, I understand! It’s not just you who goes through these feelings. So take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack.
However, that being said, there are always ways in which you could transform yourself into a happy mom.
(Caution – Some mothers, especially new mothers, often suffer from postpartum depression. This condition can require medical treatment. It is best to consult a qualified medical practitioner to determine if your condition needs medical treatment.
This post is not intended to be written as a substitute for therapy or treatment. It is only written to suggest ways that will work as ‘pick-me-ups’ for moms who aren’t feeling their cheerful best!)
How to be a happy mom – Simple & Effective Tips!
If there is one habit that has truly been a life-changer for me, it is the habit of journaling.
Journaling involves pouring out your thoughts on a piece of paper. According to the book ‘The Artists’ Way’, one should build a habit of writing 3 full pages (6 sides) of longhand, stream of consciousness writing ideally first thing every morning.
Thus, the ideal suggested way of journaling is to simply engage in a brain dump exercise. Pour out all your emotions and mental clutter on to the journal.
Don’t judge yourself while writing. Let your writing flow. Don’t go back and edit. In fact, don’t go back at all. Just write and forget about it.
You will be amazed to see how clear-headed you feel for the rest of the day. You will feel lighter, less irritated and more mentally available to deal with what life throws at you.
Now, I do understand that with motherhood getting in the way of almost all tasks that you set out to do, sitting with a notebook and a pen and finding those dedicated 20-30 minutes in the morning may not always be possible.
Therefore, the best way to go about it is to use the website 750words.com.
Why do I prefer this website over the physical act of writing?
- Finding a notebook and a pen is way more difficult than finding a device that can connect to the internet.
- The privacy offered by this website is way better than that offered by a notebook. The fear of someone discovering your notebook and reading your private entries often makes us conscious while writing and we don’t end up pouring out our heart.
- Who can even write for 20 minutes these days? My hands start hurting within 5 minutes!
That being said, you are free to choose a journaling style that suits you and that serves the purpose of clearing your head out first thing in the morning.
Also, let me be honest with you. I can’t do this every day. But I do end up doing it about 5-6 times a week.
Secondly, I can’t always start my day with journaling. But I do make it a point to write those 750 words or 3 full pages at some other time during the day.
Meditation is a powerful tool to help anybody feel centred. A few minutes of calm and meditation will go a long way in ensuring that you do not let your emotions get the better of you.
On days when you meditate, you will feel less stressed about dealing with your share of motherhood challenges.
Another point to note here is that there is no right or wrong way to go about meditation. Meditation is all about self-discovery. It is a practice that makes you more aware of your thoughts and helps you keep a check on errant feelings that can disrupt your peace.
The best way to start with this practice is by following a guided meditation. There are plenty of apps as well as videos available online that have meditations to help you cope with various mental issues.
However, if you are short on time, can’t find a good meditation online or are comfortable being in your own company, just sit down and close your eyes.
Observe the stream of thoughts without getting involved in them or flowing along with them. Just look at these thoughts from a third-party perspective. Open your eyes whenever you feel like you have reached a place of calm or if the thoughts become too difficult to handle objectively.
The simple act of meditating even for as little as five minutes can go a long way in ensuring that you stay happy for prolonged periods of time.
Never skip a workout
Exercising or working out instantly makes you feel better. Period.
We all know that exercise releases endorphins which are in essence like a natural pain-killer released by the body. These endorphins give you a feeling of euphoria and teach your body how to deal with stress in a better way.
Therefore, including some form of exercise in your daily routine is non-negotiable.
If you have the time, money, help and resources to go to a gym or join a fitness class, please do! If not, the least you could do is spend some time working out at home.
I am a big fan of home workouts. Home workouts are the best way to burn fat without fancy equipment.
I usually do about 30 minutes of a workout either in the form of Pilates, HIIT, Dance or Yoga!
Catch up with friends
Once you are a mom, it is very easy to forget your life outside of your family.
A day feels far too short and totally packed with things to do to even consider making plans with friends.
I remember how badly my social life suffered after I had a baby. While, initially it did not feel like an issue, over a period of time the lack of socialising started impacting my mental health in ways that I wasn’t even aware of.
That is when a psychiatrist friend recommended that I start meeting people other than my family more often and that I specifically fix days for it in advance.
Right after that first afternoon out with my friends, I realised how much I had missed that side of me. Catching up with friends was a delight.
That is when I understood how interacting with outsiders and friends helped me stay more cheerful in my interactions with my family.
Of course, do not do it to such an extent that you end up feeling guilty about ignoring your kids or about leaving them far too often with other family members. But if you have completely shut out friends from your life, bring them back into your life on priority!
In India, we are blessed to have easy access to the services of maids, babysitters and caretakers.
Therefore, let me repeat what I stated in my post on staying sane as a new-mom, if you have the means, hire house-help.
You need not necessarily hire someone to look after the baby. Instead, you could hire help to take up other tasks that eat up your time.
After months of trying to be a supermom, I finally let go and hired a cook. By merely relieving myself of that one task, I could manage to get one full hour of extra sleep!
Similarly, pick an area that least excites you and working on which bogs you down the most and delegate it to a house-help.
Having lesser tasks will make sure that you feel less bogged down. Consequently, you will feel more energetic and vibrant throughout the day.
As a mom, half of our irritability stems from the lack of proper sleep.
The best way to make up for it is to sleep as and when possible. Do not discount the importance of small naps.
According to a study, the perfect length of a nap is 20 minutes. 20-minute nap results in improved alertness enhanced performance and works as an instant mood booster.
So if you can’t find time to fully compensate the hours of sleep you lost during the night, at least make that up with a powerful 20-minute nap.
Set realistic expectations
The biggest reason for unhappiness of any kind is the gap between what you expect and what you get.
As a mother, we expect our kids to behave properly, to get timely help and support from our family and friends and for the world to not throw surprises at you all the time.
Unfortunately, that’s not how reality works.
Every day will be different. No matter how well you plan your day, your plans will keep getting derailed.
Your child could spill and make a mess, an appliance in the kitchen could break down, your house-help could take an unexpected leave or some other unfortunate event could make your plans go awry.
But the damage it does to your mood could be minimised if you expect these events to take place. In fact, merely preparing yourself mentally for such events will work wonders in keeping your mood great!
Get back to your hobbies
The beauty of motherhood is not a certain capability but willingness to include.
Most of the times, as a mom, we choose to distance ourselves from things we like, from activities we enjoy and from people we love.
We get so immersed into our role as a mother that everything else that once used to be an integral part of our lives takes a backseat.
However, the only unfortunate consequence of this shift is that we suffer.
Therefore, the obvious correction required is that of getting back to your hobbies.
Initially, you will probably not be able to devote as much time to it as you would like to. You may even feel guilty about chasing your joys.
But over time, you will figure out a way of finding the right balance.
You may even be able to involve your kids in your hobbies. In fact, watching your kids participate in your hobbies is immensely satisfying.
Today, when I see my little toddler cheering me up as I dance, I feel overjoyed! It works as a terrific impetus to keep working more and more on my hobbies.
Treat yourself to your favourite food
Mothers are always so caught up household chores that they rarely look forward to their meals. Mothers often end up cooking food that their kids love and more often than not, gobble up their lunches and dinners in a hurry.
That is why it is important to step back and rework your eating habits.
The least you can do for yourself is include a favourite food item in one of your meals or as a meal in itself.
Making this small change will make eating feel like less of a chore and more of a personal treat!
My quick go-to favourite snacks are a cheese grilled sandwich that I have in the evening when I feel particularly exhausted or a small scoop of my favourite ice-cream after dinner.
Finally, what you need to remember is that you do not have to transform yourself into a whole new person simply because you are now a mother. The closer you keep yourself to your true personality, the happier you will feel.
Being a mother is about taking your kids along with you on your journey. The only way of making the journey fun and exciting for your kids is by enjoying it yourself.