A few days ago, I wrote about the 10 things I think moms should do every day to be happy. Today, let’s talk about 10 things happy moms don’t do. These are the things that, if you truly want to be happy, you won’t do — or if you do them, you’ll stop.
So what are they?
Happy moms aren’t martyrs
Okay, so we’re not talking the literal definition of martyrdom here. Moms don’t (generally) have to suffer death. But sometimes we can tend to act like it. We sacrifice a lot for our kids and our families. Most of us do it without complaint because we love our families and we know we’re doing what’s best for them.
But some of us… some of us gnash our teeth, furrow our brow and wail about it from the rooftops. Whining about how horrible it is, how much we’ve missed out on, how much we gave up, and how no one appreciates it.
Yeah, no one likes that. And it’s definitely not going to make you any happier. So don’t do it.
Happy moms don’t overthink and worry about their choices
Whether it’s which cereal to buy or which medicine your child needs, there are dozens of choices for just about everything these days. And then there’s the decision to give it to them: do you give them cereal or not? Do you give them medicine for the cough or wait it out?
Sometimes you’re going to make the right choice. Other times, you’re going to make a choice that doesn’t work out so well. You can’t spend the rest of your life agonizing over it. Look at your options, make the best choice you can based on the information you have, and go with it.
If you’re struggling with too many choices and can’t eliminate any on your own, ask your spouse or someone else to make the decision instead. Otherwise, just pick something and move on.
Happy moms don’t regret their decisions
Speaking of making decisions, another thing happy moms don’t do is regret the decisions that don’t work out. You might decide not to medicate your child’s cough and end up in the ER later because it was more severe than you realized. Or you might buy the super sugary cereal and now your kid is begging for it every week.
Whatever the decision, beating yourself up over it is pointless. We all make mistakes and poor decisions sometimes. Learn from the decision so you know what you don’t want to do next time, and move forward.
Happy moms don’t rush through life
We all have those days where life is just busy. Doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, school drop-off and pick-up, lunch with your sister, dinner with your husband and his boss, a thousand and one other errands — those days are exhausting before they even start.
Sometimes we have a day like that where we have no choice but to bust our butts and get it all done. But if you’re doing that every day, stop. You’re exhausting yourself, and it’s not really making life better for anyone.
Slow down. Enjoy reading to your kids and let the dishes wait. Cuddle with the baby and vacuum tomorrow. Skip the grocery shopping and ask your husband to pick up pizza for dinner so you can take nap with the kids.
When the kids are grown and gone, you won’t regret that you let the dishes pile up sometimes — but you will regret not having spent more time with the kids.
Happy moms don’t trash talk other moms
It’s easy to bond and find a connection with other moms by trashing someone else. It goes all the way back to school days, when that’s how you connected with other girls, got into cliques or made friends when you were the new girl in school.
But as adults, and especially as moms who teach our kids that bullying others is wrong, gossiping and insulting other moms is a bad idea.
We all parent in our own ways, and we all make decisions based on what’s best for our family. Just like you wouldn’t want someone to talk poorly about you for your parenting, clothing choices, or anything else, you should show other moms the same respect.
The only possible exception to this? If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected and you are seeking out advice or information from other moms to determine whether you should involve the authorities.
Happy moms don’t get their self-worth from the opinions of others
If you base your self-worth and happiness on what other people think of you, you are in for a long life of misery. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you. There will always be people who disagree with your parenting, your career, your relationship with your spouse, or any number of other things about you.
Your self-worth needs to come from you. As a parent, in particular, you need to be able to be confident in your decisions. Let others have their opinions, and let those opinions roll right off your back.
Know that you are doing what’s right for your family and that is all that matters.
Happy moms don’t use their housekeeping as a success gauge
At the end of the day when we reflect on our accomplishments, those accomplishments should not be a list of household chores checked off: vacuuming done, dishes done, floors swept, everything dusted. Those accomplishments should be things like: fed the kids, took the kids to the park, helped the kids with homework, had a good day at work.
You have kids, and your house is going to look like you have kids. It’s that simple. This doesn’t mean your house should or will be a pigsty, but it does mean that there might be toys scattered around, maybe some clothes on the floor, and occasionally you might even end up with some crayon, marker, or paint on your walls for a bit.
Ultimately, a successful day should be gauged by how happy the family is, whether everyone’s needs are met, and that’s all. Housekeeping, if used at all, should be the absolute last thing on the list.
Happy moms don’t expect perfection
We all have that fantasy. You know the one where everyone gets up on time, gets dressed, eats, has everything they need without searching, gets in the car and goes to school. Everyone has a blissful day with no trouble or struggles, you go to the park after school, and homework is a breeze. You have a delightful dinner with great conversation and delicious food before the kids bathe themselves and put themselves to bed. There’s not a single fight or tantrum, and it’s all just wonderful.
Yeah, that’s a great fantasy, and if it happens, you should absolutely enjoy it. But happy moms know that every day is unique, and that most days are going to come with at least one problem, tantrum, complaint, or struggle. They learn to go with the flow and accept that most days will not be perfect.
They also know this doesn’t make them a bad mom. It’s part of being a mom — part of being human, really.
Happy moms don’t forget to take care of themselves
It is unbelievably easy to lose yourself in motherhood. To get so caught up in taking care of everyone else’s wants and needs that yours go ignored and unmet. This is a recipe for an unhappy mom.
Happy moms know that they need to take care of themselves. They know they need to have their own dreams, passions, and hobbies. Just like we say our kids need outlets like soccer or music lessons, moms need outlets too.
Keep a few things in your life that are just for you — whether it’s a meditation practice, a book club, or even just taking a long hot bubble bath with a glass of wine, a favorite playlist and a good book. Keep those outlets so you can recharge and reconnect with yourself.
With that time for yourself, you become an even better mother than you already are. (Keep an eye out for my email course, Reset to Bliss, coming soon to give you quick and easy ways to take time for yourself!)
Happy moms don’t fight every battle
Whether your kid is 2 months, 4 years, or 17 years old, there are battles to fight and ones to let go. Happy moms know they don’t need to fight every battle. If your kid puts on a shirt backward, and it’s not school or family picture day, that’s probably not a battle worth fighting. When they want to hang out with the kid who’s got a criminal record as long as your arm at the age of 14, that’s the battle to fight.
When you stop fighting every battle, you open yourself up to enjoy more of the joy of parenting. You get to spend more time laughing and loving, and less time feeling stressed and frustrated that things aren’t going as planned.
Sometimes what you don’t do is more important than what you do
As moms, we know that what we do has impact. It sets an example, it teaches our kids right from wrong, and it enables our kids to grow into what we hope will be healthy, functioning adults.
It’s important to remember, though, that sometimes what we don’t do matters even more. What we don’t do can sometimes carry greater weight in influencing our children. What we don’t do can create more room for what we need to do.