How To Be A Happier Mom
If you've ever wondered how to be a happier Mom, don't worry, you're not the only one!
I've collected information about happy and unhappy moms over 43 years of working in the field of child and family education.
I've held an MA in human development since 2011 and a degree in education since 1986, but nothing has taught me more about family life than the actual conversations I've had with real mothers about their real-life problems and solutions.
I can't even begin to tell you how many conversations I've had or how much I've learned from people like you who care enough to think about the importance of mom's mental and physical health as related to the mental and physical health of their family.
It was kind of hard to whittle a career's worth of knowledge and learning down to 3 simple methods for you but I've been working on that for a long time because that's what I do.
I'm a master at taking complicated psychological concepts and making them doable for real people who don't have the time or the money to sift through lengthy cutting edge books or hire an expensive psychologist/psychiatrist to help them feel happier.
So here they are, the 3 best-ever techniques for getting and staying happy as a mom in a fairly unpredictable and chaotic world.
Happiness Technique # 1
Learn to embrace and cherish the unexpected moments of bliss that occur spontaneously in your life with children.
The happiest moms realize that life can be very unpredictable so if they forget to stop and enjoy those sticky hugs, home-made gifts, and spontaneous kisses, they're missing out on more than they can imagine.
The difficult part of true enjoyment is being in the moment. So often our special moments are happening at the same time as everything else is, too!
It's easy to feel anxious about what will happen next and harder to relax and focus on what's actually happening now, even when we know what's best.
Here's a mantra I've developed that helps me feel better when things get too complicated. I hope it will help you, too.
My only goal is inner peace
The only moment is now
My only functions are appreciation and forgiveness
Happiness Technique #2
Combine family fun and exercise. When's the last time you heard a mom say that she had too much time on her hands and needed a hobby?
For the most part, I think moms are masters of efficiency these days and here's what they tell me about how they pull it off.
The happiest moms I know find a way to combine their family fun time with their own exercise. This can save both time and money. Plus it provides a great opportunity to be physically involved in the lives of their children.
Since children learn by example, what could be a better way to promote the health of everyone in the family?
I've seen this done through brisk after-dinner walks, family dance parties, and biking to swim or attend a festival. Moms can also get actively involved with coaching a team their kids are involved in. Lots of different things can work if we make them work.
Happiness technique #3
Boundary Setting. It's true that the happiest moms on the planet, know how to draw a line in the sand. And they have a plan for what to do when that line is crossed. Everyone in the family is actually happier that way.
If you were a fly on the wall these are the kinds of things you'd hear the happiest moms saying:
"Sometimes parents decide."
"We'll go to the playground when all the toys in the playroom are put away in the right places".
"It's my job to keep you safe and your job to help me."
(to a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old arguing loudly over a toy ) "It sounds like you're having a problem. I'm going to hold on to that toy while you decide what to do about it. Tell me when you've figured out what to do about your problem."
""I see you throwing your spiderman toy. It's only safe to throw squishy balls in this room so I'm going to give spidey a 3-minute time away. I'll set the timer and then he can come back and play as long as you remember not to throw him."
"I'm going to have a cup of tea on my yellow placemat now. That means you take care of yourself for 10 minutes while I relax and think. I'll be available to you when the 10 minutes is up and the timer goes off. If you talk to me or bother me in any way during the 10-minute timeframe, I'll set the timer back to 10 and start again."
Of course, good moms carefully consider the age and safety of their children first, but always set the example of remembering to care for themselves along with their children.
I hope you're able to use these techniques often because I know that if you do you'll notice a little bit more joy and happiness in your SELF and in your family.
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Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all around fun loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BA in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.