How to Be a Happier Mom (and stop the overwhelm)
Day in and day out, life with babies can feel monotonous. I don't claim to know much- I'm only a new mom of a 9 month old. But through the last 9 months- I've found myself at times going down a rabbit hole of some kind of misery. This is the thing I assume makes moms upset, overwhelmed, and brings them to a place where they are simply unhappy with their life- wishing for more.
The days are long, can we agree? No matter if you have one tiny baby or 3 older kiddos- days where you have them all to yourself? They are tough and long and demanding and busy and there doesn't seem to be a break.
I don't know the answer. I don't know what it's like to have multiple kids. But I do know that my mom life has changed dramatically since the days where I was caught in a pattern of self pity and something that felt close to mild depression.
I've come from complaining about most parts of motherhood to now enjoying most parts. To taking the punches as they come, and rolling with them most times with a smile (a real one.) And though everyone's situations are different- I think these things that I've intentionally done to make sure I'm savoring my mom life and enjoying it are things most mamas can apply to their own lives.
Recently, Gemma has been giving us a rough time with sleep. She's going through a regression, maybe, and the nights get hard and the days feel tired. I posted on Instagram some things I'm doing to make it through (and also some things I needed to preach to myself) and I started to run out of room in my caption...so I figured I'd write a post about it, too.
When the hard, overwhelming days come- let's give ourselves grace when we get a little cranky. But let's also not let the overwhelm become who we are as mamas. Let's do what we can to enjoy motherhood with little ones- this season that is so fleeting. Let's dive in, shall we?
How to Be a Happier Mom
1. Mindset and gratitude are everything.
I wrote a post closer to the time when I truly started changing my mindset and loving my motherhood more, and I went into depth on this topic. Find it here. Changing my mindset from a "woe is me" one to a grateful one has been a huge game changer- not just in motherhood, but in life. I'm a huge self-pity-party type of person. Which I realize is a completely ungrateful way to live life. Changing my mindset from feeling bad for myself when my baby is fussing to being grateful I have a beautiful little babe to care for has been so helpful in making me a happier mom. How to change your mindset, though? Easier said than done, right? Well, changing my inner dialogue has helped. I've been mindful of when I have that miserable, self-pity, self-critical inner voice and change it instead to a grateful one. Also, a gratitude log can do wonders. I won't say too much more- go read my post for more detail on this one.
2. Take care of yourself first.
I know it might feel selfish even reading that, right? But taking care of yourself first is so important- how can you take care of anyone else well if you aren't feeling your best? This can look like "treating yourself," but it doesn't have to- and I think that's always the first thing we think of.
I haven't been great at this, but recently I've started letting myself go to the gym daily, and made sure I'm taking care of my health by eating better. Taking care of your health is so important as a mom- make time for it, however you possibly can. Maybe you need a few quiet moments to yourself each day to feel like you can take care of others well? Make it happen! Wake up earlier, give yourself 30 minutes of "me time" during naptime- whatever works for you, just do it. You desperately need it. Fill up your cup in whatever way works best for you- how can an empty vessel pour into others? It can't. So fill yourself up so you can pour out love to your kiddos all day. A woman that takes care of herself makes a happier mom and wife. I've learned this the hard way for sure, already in the first 9 months of motherhood.
3. Savor your sweet babies.
I'm not saying you need to carpe diem every moment of motherhood. No, friend. I know that's expecting way too much of any mom. But I am saying that we need to make sure we are savoring the good moments. Savoring sweet baby kisses and cuddles might just give you enough energy to deal with a tantrum later in the day. Have fun with your kids. Put your phone down (preaching to myself, too). Play the games that don't feel fun to you. Dance around in the kitchen together. Go to the park. Just enjoy the time you have and let yourself be a joyful mom. Let your to do list go a little. Let the dishes stay in the sink for a few extra hours. Because the moments with your babies won't be there forever. Soon, they might not want cuddles. They might be embarrassed by you in what feels like 5 days from now. So at this very moment, when you are their everything- savor them.
4. Get rid of stuff.
It might sound odd, but decluttering your home is going to make you a happier, less stressed mom, and I can almost guarantee it. Clutter actually clouds our brains- it's a thing. I never thought it was because I have never been a tidy person. I thought I did totally fine living in my cluttered messes until I lived with less and felt the huge burden of clutter lifted off of my shoulders. This is a total life changer.
Your kids don't need 50 thousand toys. You don't need 50 thousand outfits. Or 50 thousand kitchen utensils. More dishes means more to load and unload from the dishwasher. More stuff means more to clean up. It's a vicious cycle. And if your house always feels a mess (because that's what life with babies and kids often feels like) get rid of a ton of stuff and see if it makes a difference. I bet if you do, you'll find yourself cleaning less, which is a win in my book, and probably yours too.
Minimalism, living with less, has changed my life and made me such a happier mom. if this sounds like something you need in your life, check out my free resource to help get you started decluttering and minimizing in your home. Learn more about the resource before you download it, or just download it below!
5. Complain less.
Stop wallowing in your mom-hood misery with other moms. I've always complained a lot, I guess for fun (?) and it's really gotten me nowhere. So I'm trying to complain less. #momlife often follows some kind of complaint about how crazy mom life is. Yes, it's a crazy, hard life. But we signed up for it, didn't we? So let's actually share in the joys as well. And let's stop complaining, because it doesn't get us anywhere, and it definitely doesn't make us happier moms. Sharing in struggles is a good thing- but lets pray together instead of wallowing together. Let's try to resonate on the good and perfect things- not just the tough things.
6. Remember you are not in this alone.
Even if you are a single mama- you don't have to do this alone. First of all- find a village. Whether it's a church community or your family or a group of moms you found on Faceboook (gotta do what you gotta do- thanks 21st century!) It really does take a village to raise a baby. My village is my husband and then my extended family and a few close friends. Think of who yours consists of, and lean on those people as much as you need to.
Beyond your village, though, I also believe that God calls us to motherhood, and then he doesn't leave us to do it alone. Even in the moments where we are literally alone- he is with us. We can lean into Him through prayer and through just acknowledging he is with us.
When Gemma was a tiny baby, I didn't know what in the world I was doing, but I felt I needed to hum to her or sing to her when I rocked her to sleep. For some reason, I couldn't think of a song, and the only one I could think of was "In Christ Alone." I didn't know why that was the song I was humming, but I realized recently how true the song is to my life as a mom. He is where my hope is as a mom. When I don't know what I'm doing, or I feel overwhelmed- He is my strength, my cornerstone, everything I need to do this thing called Motherhood.
He has called you to this- He will not leave you alone.
Motherhood is a hard thing. We often feel so full of joy as we become moms, but the current, popular culture of motherhood has us feeling like we're actually supposed to be bogged down by it, and kind of miserable. It doesn't have to be that way, friend. In fact, it shouldn't be. Just because it's hard, doesn't mean it's miserable. It's the joyful kind of hard. The best kind of hard there is. So let's do the things we need to do to make sure we are doing our best to mother with joyful, grateful hearts.
Plus, a joyful, grateful heart make a much happier mom. And that's better for everyone involved.
If this post spoke to you, I’d be so grateful if you share it with a friend, or even better, give it a share on social media!