We all want to be happy, don’t we? To enjoy our life, enjoy the time we have with our kids and overall feel fulfilled, right? Are you happy? What is happiness? What does it mean to be a happy mum?
Being happy means feeling pleasure, being joyful, excited and blissful. If you look up the thesaurus there are multiple synonyms for the word happy. Whatever word you use it all comes down to enjoying life. The thing with happiness is that we can be happy in one area of our lives and not in another. We might love being a mum and feel truly happy with our kids, but not feel happy in our relationship. We may feel happy with our work and enjoy our friends and colleagues there, but not enjoy friendships outside of work. Or as it has come up with clients of mine, they don’t feel happy as a mum, instead, they’re stressed, anxious and not enjoying it.
What’s wrong with not being happy all the time? Well, life is too short not to be happy. We are only given a limited number of years to experience this world and at the end of our lives we’re all going to look back and ask ourselves did I really live a happy life.
What do we do if we’re not happy with our lives, with our role as a mum? There will always be days, weeks, even months where things don’t go the way you planned. There will be days when your child’s behaviour pushes you beyond your limit. There will be days where all you feel like is a failure. However, even on these days, we can be happy. It takes a level of commitment and practice to get the best out of our lives as a whole and our lives as a mum.
There are 5 things that you can do to help you be truly happy and connect with the joy of each day.
1. Practice gratitude
It has been proven over and over again in psychological research how people who are gracious and thankful for all that they have, experience a better quality of life. They see things more positively and they enjoy what they have, not constantly feeling as if they need more.
When our child is having the massive meltdown, or the kids are fighting again or you’re up overnight for the 6th time in the night, it’s too easy to fall into a negative mindset. In these moments we must remind ourselves, reframe the negative into the positive in order not to be swept up into the negativity that can surround us as parents. Our child having the meltdown means that we can be there to support them in their emotional development. Our kids fighting provides us with the opportunity to teach them interpersonal skills, communication, and negotiation. Being up in the middle of the night to resettle our child once more means that our child feels loved and safe because they know that we are there for them.
Be gracious for what you have. Set up a formal gratitude practice. Sit down each night and spend 5 minutes writing down everything that you are thankful for. Do this every day for a month and let me know how it goes. It will make a huge difference in how you experience your life.
2. Live in the now
How often do you think and daydream about the future? A certain amount of forward thinking is essential to our growth however when it takes us away from now and when we use it as an escape from what is going on today it can be more harmful than good.
“It’ll get better when he starts school” “We just have to get through the next few months” Have you ever said these statements or something similar? Yes, the saying that this too shall pass is indeed correct and can get us through some tough times, however, when all we do is look to the future and not focus on the present it robs the joy from our day. We miss the little things that our children do and then you turn around and they’ve grown up and you say that it goes by in the blink of an eye because it does, especially when you focus too much on the future.
None of us know if we will be alive tomorrow. None of us know for certain if our children will be alive tomorrow. Enjoy now, enjoy this moment because you may not get another chance.
3. Stop comparing
Mums do this too often and about too many things. “He’s more behaved than my child” “She’s lost more of her baby weight than me” “They’ve got more money than we do” “Her child is smarter than mine” The list of areas that we can compare can go on and on. Again just like not living in the now, it just robs us of the joy and being happy with what we do have.
Ultimately what happens in other people’s lives should not be your primary focus. Yes, we all have close family and friends who we are intimately involved with. People who we love and support. But if we focus too much on all that they have or don’t have in comparison to us, then we miss everything in our lives, with our children, and in our relationships that we are blessed to have.
When we compare we can’t feel gratitude for what we have. We feel sad or not enough. We feel that our children aren’t enough and kids certainly pick up on that feeling.
Every time you start to compare yourself to another, stop and list 10 things that you can be grateful for right now. Do this each time you feel less than another. Do this when you feel yourself comparing your child to another. What can you be grateful for in YOUR child?
4. Do things that make you happy
Do you know what makes you happy? Things that you can do on those days when you feel blue. Sit down and write a list of 30 things that you can do rain, hail or shine to perk your mood up. Is it standing outside in the fresh air? Catching up with a friend for coffee? Doing some retail therapy? Ordering take-out for dinner so you don’t mess up the clean kitchen?
No matter how committed we are living a joyful life there will be stressful days. There will be days when our children’s behaviour makes us want to scream. There will be days when the stress of life can feel all-consuming. On these days it can seem an impossible task to feel happy. Which is why having a list of things to turn to that help you feel more positive is essential.
Write it out, type it up and pop it up somewhere where you can see it each day. On the fridge, in your bathroom, in the car. Get in the habit of doing at least one thing from the list every day, preferably more than one! If your kids have just had a meltdown and you’ve spent the last few hours stressed out before you go on with your day do something to make you feel happy. Reward yourself with some joy for doing the hard parts of parenting. It will make your days so much easier.
5. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
How are your friends? Do they support you in the way that you want to be supported? Do they lift you up when you are sad or feel overwhelmed? Or do they keep complaining about the negative in their lives so you feel worse after a conversation with them?
Making friends can be hard, especially as an adult. In order to have people around us, we can tend to just be friends with anyone who comes our way, instead of critiquing the relationship to see what the benefit for us is.
If you want to be happy and experience more joy in your life then surround yourself with happy and joyful people. We’ve all experienced the scenario when we spend time with someone who is sad, or angry or hurt and we pick up on their emotional vibration. We start to feel angry or sad or hurt. Once we leave our time together we’re often emotionally drained. Supporting our loved ones when they are having a rough time is one thing, however when we’re around people who are negative all the time, then we will feel more negative and have less joyful times.
Look at your current friends. Who are you closest to? Who supports and loves you, no matter what? Who enjoys their life, and their children enough that they aren’t constantly complaining? Surround yourself with these people and you’ll get more out of your relationships than you ever dreamed.
Being happy as a mum can be a challenge. Our kids will always act up. They will have unacceptable behaviour. They will push our buttons. It is part of their learning curve, how they grow and develop and learn their place in the world. As always it is how we look this, our perspective on the challenges and stress that comes with being a mum that ultimately decides whether we are a happy mum, or an anxious, cranky, stressed and overwhelmed mum.
If you’d like some help getting some joy back into your life as a mum then join my Happy Mums = Happy Kids Facebook Group. It’s all about helping you be the best you can be and enjoy your life as a mum so that your positivity flows through you into your kids.
Enjoy your blissful day