Are you a happy mom looking to increase happiness and enjoy life? Or is motherhood bringing you down, and you’re looking for ways to become a happy mom? Either way, you’ve come to the right place! Below, you’ll find twenty easy ways to increase your happiness and enjoy motherhood.
From spending time with loved ones to taking time for yourself, we’ll explore all the different ways to become or remain a happy mom. Whether you’re looking for ways to overhaul your life or want some pointers on how to enjoy motherhood more, read on! I hope you find these tips helpful and that they bring more happiness into your life.
According to a study by Princeton University, researchers discovered that our environment can positively or negatively impact our mental health. Cluttered spaces can increase cortisol, the “stress hormone.” A messy environment causes feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy. Clutter can even cause depression.
If you’ve ever tried to organize clutter, you know it is impossible. The only way to successfully tackle clutter is to reduce the number of items in your home. You don’t need more bins. You need fewer things!
Home care expert Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, recommends taking 15 minutes each day to declutter an area. Start at the entrance and then work your way around a room clockwise. Sort items into three groups, “giveaway,” “throw away,” and “put away.” When the timer goes off, take the giveaway items to your car, throw away the trash, and find a permanent place to keep the things you want.
With just a little time each day, you can reduce the clutter in your home and increase your happiness. And remember, happy moms don’t need Pinterest-worthy homes to be happy!
Routines make for happy children and happier moms. They create structure and promote mental, physical, and emotional health. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, good daily habits during the early stages of development determine success throughout life.
It is crucial to establish routines for both yourself and your children. We can learn from education reformer Charlotte Mason who wrote, “The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.”
Ask yourself what essential tasks need to be completed each day, and then create a morning, afternoon, and evening routine that incorporates those tasks. Include things that fill you up, like prayer, Bible study, or reading a book on your list!
Write your routines down and place them somewhere they can be seen by everyone in the house. Review your routines regularly, and don’t be afraid to adjust them if they are not making you a happy mom!
As moms, we try to make everyone happy by being all things to all people. But living that way is guaranteed to make us one very not-so-happy mommy! You can think of boundaries as an imaginary property line that separates your physical space, emotions, feelings, needs, and responsibilities from other people.
Happy moms set limits, know their capacity, communicate their needs, and aren’t afraid to say “no.” They also know when it is time to make the difficult decision to eliminate toxic relationships.
You can learn more about how to set good boundaries and say goodbyes by listening to my conversation with the much-loved and respected Lysa Terkeurst.
I know, I know. This one is tough. That parenting book advice that tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps only works for your first child, right?! Mothers of young children don’t always have control over their sleep schedules. That makes it even more important to sleep when we are able.
It is tempting to stay up late to have some quiet time for yourself. It is okay to do that sometimes, just not consistently. So, turn off Netflix, put your phone down, ignore the unfolded laundry or the dirty dishes in the sink, and go to bed. You’ll thank me for it when you wake up a happy mom. I promise!
An old saying goes like this: “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die.” Unforgiveness causes a slew of issues, both emotional and physical. Stress, depression, anxiety, fear, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems are all linked to unforgiveness.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean declaring what they did was right, nor do we need to wait for someone to ask for our forgiveness. Instead, forgiving means making an intentional decision to let go of resentment and anger toward the offender.
Happy moms have also learned the importance of forgiving themselves for perceived and genuine mistakes. They model forgiveness by asking their children to forgive them when they mess up.
I had another fantastic conversation with Lysa Terkeurst about the importance of practicing forgiveness for those who want to dive deeper into this topic.
In her book, One Thousand Gifts, author Ann Voskamp shares the amazing benefits of practicing gratitude. The habit of keeping a gratitude list can help you:
And, most important for our conversation:
Happy moms practice gratitude. It is all about reframing. Instead of being overwhelmed by the toys scattered across the floor, whisper a prayer of thanks for the little hands that placed them there. When you feel like you cannot look at one more pile of laundry, count the blessings of the little bodies that wear the clothes.
Wondering how to get started? Ann Voskamp has created a list of gratitude prompts that you can use to create your own one thousand gifts inventory.
This digital age that we live in has revolutionized our lives in ways that previous generations could never have imagined giving us the world in our pockets. However, not all of the changes technology has brought us are good.
Too much cell phone usage contributes to poor sleep, concentration and learning issues, less physical activity, lack of personal communication, and shallow relationships. Cell phone use can cause physical changes like “text neck” and eyesight problems.
Cutting down on screen time can make you a happy mom by improving your health, freeing up time for fun, strengthening emotional bonds with family and friends, and boosting your mood.
Ask yourself if you feel happy or sad after mindlessly scrolling social media. They call it “doom scrolling” for a reason!
You can reduce screen time by using your phone’s time limit function, deleting unused apps, turning off notifications, and turning on the “Do Not Disturb” setting during certain times of the day.
One of the most critical ways to become a happy mom is to spend time with God daily.
We often feel guilty for taking time for ourselves, but consider Jesus’ example. Luke tells us, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16). If Jesus, the Son of God, needed time to pray daily, so do we!
When children are little, this might look like reading one Scripture verse and sending up short prayers throughout the day. In other seasons, we can make time for deeper Bible study sessions and longer, more focused prayer times.
Take that time you’ve gained by putting down your phone to go for a prayer walk, journal, listen to worship music, or anything else that draws you closer to the heart of God and makes you a happy mom.
Moms are tired. Like so very, very tired. I can hear you now, “Alli, I just want to sit on the couch with my feet up watching a sappy predictable Hallmark movie. And you’re telling me to move MORE?”
Yes, my friend, that is precisely what I am telling you to do. It seems counterintuitive. But, when we are exhausted, one of the best ways to increase our energy and become a happy mom is to exercise.
Exercise decreases feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. The parts of our brain that regulate stress and anxiety undergo physical changes when we work out. Additionally, exercise increases the production of mood-boosting hormones that produce positive feelings.
In one study, exercise of any intensity significantly decreased feelings of depression. This finding means you don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete to experience the benefits of physical activity.
Whether it is a quick walk around the block with the kids, a short YouTube workout, or an hour or two at the gym, exercise is the perfect way to remain or become a happy mom!
Pursuing a hobby is a great way to increase your happiness as a mom. Our interests are one of the first things to succumb to the demands of motherhood. Pursuing a hobby is a fantastic way to hold on to a little of ourselves.
A hobby can be artistic and crafty, like painting, sewing, knitting, or photography. Or maybe you prefer learning to play an instrument, reading, or playing a sport. Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to do it purely for the enjoyment of it. Not everything needs to become a side business or something you do for your children.
Research shows happy moms pursuing hobbies have less stress and more positive moods. Group activities promote connection with others through social relationships and friendships that positively impact mental health.
So, grab some knitting needles, take a sewing class, or join your local pickleball league. Whatever you choose, have fun as you become a happy mom!
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Author Lara Casey takes it further by saying, “Comparison is not just the thief of joy. It is the thief of everything.”
Happy moms know how not to fall into the comparison trap. They avoid playground conversations that compare one child’s development with another. They resist wondering how their friend is wearing pre-baby clothing as she carries her newborn into church while still wearing maternity clothes as she checks her toddler into childcare.
While scrolling through their social media feed, happy moms realize that comparing someone’s highlight reel with their behind-the-scenes is fruitless.
My friend, Nona Jones, author and head of global faith-based partnerships at Facebook, recently shared ways that we can reject the lie that we aren’t good enough and confidently become who God made us to be in her new book Killing Comparison. I highly recommend listening to our conversation and applying the wisdom she shares so that you can escape the comparison trap and become a happy mom!
Play comes more naturally to some personality types than others (I’m looking at you, Enneagram 3s). As a Type 7, having fun is part of who I am. It is why I love roller coasters and amusement parks so much. They are one big, giant playground!
We all know that play is crucial for childhood development, but it also has a positive impact on adults. It can increase joy and relieve stress while connecting you with friends and family. In addition, playing with our children strengthens the parent-child bond, forming the foundation for life-long friendships.
So whether it is playing a board game with your kids, throwing a frisbee with your dog, or hurtling through the air on a roller coaster, make room for play in your life, and you will stay a happy mom!
It is no secret that healthy foods are good for our bodies, but did you know they can also impact our mental health? A University of Australia study that measured the therapeutic impact of a healthy diet found that whole, unprocessed diets higher in plant foods and healthy forms of protein and fats are consistently associated with better mental health outcomes.
Happy moms know that it is okay to enjoy a sweet treat every so often, but the foundation of their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Swapping out white bread for whole grain, baked chicken for fried, and roasted cauliflower for french fries are all easy ways to eat healthier. And that sugar-laden coffee drink is okay occasionally, but happy moms don’t make it a daily habit.
Happy moms know that learning doesn’t need to end when the school bell rings. Instead, they take time to have new experiences and learn new skills regularly. From a novel cooking technique to reading about the history of modern France, happy moms know that learning is a life-long journey.
Learning something new generates brain cells and neural connections while strengthening our brains. This process may slow as we get older, but it continues throughout our lives and is associated with a happier, healthier old age.
Psychologist Carol Speck found that our mindset towards learning something new significantly impacts learning’s benefits. If we adopt a fixed mindset and expect ourselves to get it right the first time, every time we will end up annoyed, embarrassed, or ashamed when things don’t go the way we want them to go.
Instead, when we adopt a growth mindset that recognizes that making mistakes is part of the process, we are much more likely to keep going when things become difficult. Overcoming challenges gives us a feeling of accomplishment and contributes to confidence and self-esteem.
We have never-ending resources for learning available in the palms of our hands. So pick a topic, find a YouTube video or podcast, and enjoy the benefits of learning something new as you become a happier mom!
Moms are so busy caring for their little people that we sometimes forget how to care for ourselves. Happy moms know the importance of practicing self-care.
Instead of collapsing into bed at the end of a long day, take a few moments to cleanse your face and apply some moisturizer. Your future skin will thank you!
If you are a stay-at-home mom, it can be tempting to live in the same clothes you slept in without even glancing at yourself in the mirror. You’ll feel better if you take time to get dressed and put on some makeup (if that is your thing). And it is perfectly acceptable to change from your nighttime pajamas to your daytime pajamas!
Try to keep up with haircuts, dental appointments, and visits to your doctor. Healthy moms are happy moms!
Happy moms are not afraid to admit that they can’t do it all. They know the importance of asking for assistance and delegating specific tasks to professionals. They focus on their strengths and allow someone else to handle the areas in which they are weak. Even if they excel at certain tasks, they recognize the importance of evaluating their return on investment of time and energy.
While most of us could do it all if we tried, we wouldn’t be very happy. Instead, we would often find ourselves burned out, stressed, and anxious.
Need a dozen cupcakes for the Valentine’s Day party at your daughter’s preschool? No written rule says that you have to make them. Kids love store-bought cupcakes just the same. Not great at housework? If you can afford it, hire someone else to clean your home once or twice weekly.
And please, don’t feel guilty because you’ve been taught that the Proverbs 31 woman should be able to do everything. Remember, she had maids and servants taking care of the home front while she conducted business at the city gate!
When people think of what makes them happy, tangible pleasures and experiences usually come to mind. But the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, described a different form of happiness that he counted as more important than pleasure alone.
He described Eudaimonia as “activities of the soul that are in accord with virtue.” These pursuits allow us to dig deep inside and give the best of ourselves for the benefit of a greater cause. They allow us to find meaning in life beyond the everyday mundane tasks that are the reality of motherhood.
When we have a sense of meaning in life, we experience more frequent positive emotions; are optimistic about the future; feel more satisfied with life; and experience more satisfying relationships.
More importantly, finding meaning in difficult circumstances by using the lessons you’ve learned to help others allows you to turn tragedy into triumph. Individuals recognized for making a difference in the lives of others have almost always faced tremendous challenges of their own.
But, instead of letting these adversities bring them down, they use them as a catalyst to change the world, one life at a time. Ultimately, they find that they have received more benefits from their service than those they serve.
Happy moms devote time and energy to a cause they are passionate about. Trying to figure out where to begin? The Points of Light Foundation maintains a database of volunteer opportunities, including ones that moms can do virtually, perfect for the happy mom with a few extra moments while the little ones take a nap!
Missing deadlines, forgetting appointments, and failing to remember birthdays can make us stressed and depressed. We can avoid these slip-ups by keeping a calendar.
I live by my Google calendar and let it boss me around. I know other people who love to use paper planners. Whichever method you choose, commit to writing everything down as soon as it lands on your schedule.
A calendar is no good if you never look at it, so check it each night before you go to bed or first thing in the morning. You can take this one step further by scheduling a Sunday evening planning time to prepare for the week ahead.
Happy moms love surprises, except when they are in the form of a call from your child’s school because you forgot it was your turn in the parent volunteer rotation!
Life is never going to be Pinterest-perfect. You will start your day with the best intentions and a to-do list a mile long. But then the dog throws up, your toddler flushes a My Little Pony down the toilet, and school calls to tell you that little Bobby has gotten into a spat with his best friend, Tim.
You glance at that beautifully curated to-do list at the end of the day and feel utterly defeated. While it is essential to set goals, try to keep a schedule, and have a system for getting things done, in some seasons of motherhood, it is just as important to lower our expectations for what we can accomplish.
Sometimes, it is not the right season, but the time to do everything you want will come my dear friend, I promise. Happy moms know that sometimes it is enough to have made it to the end of the day with everyone still alive!
How we feel about ourselves has a tremendous impact on our happiness level. An important component of mental well-being is acknowledging the fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses.
Moms can be our worst critics, but the good news is that research shows we can learn to accept ourselves by developing self-compassion skills and a better understanding of our strengths. These two tools can positively impact our happiness.
Ask yourself, “Would I talk to a friend the way I talk to myself?” If the answer is “no,” it is time to start replacing your inner critic’s voice with your inner friend’s. Instead of criticizing yourself when you make a mistake, ask how you can improve in the future or how you can prevent it from happening again.
And remember, God accepts and loves you just the way you are, so allow yourself to do the same. Happy moms know their true value stems from who they are in God’s eyes.
I hope that this list has given you some practical steps you can take to become or remain a happy mom. Pick one or two that spark the most joy and implement them today!