What makes a mother happy? Seeing her children shine and grow? Of course. Feeling accomplished and appreciated? That’s nice too. Having a huge glass of wine at the end of the day? Yes, please! There are tons of tangible ways we can create our own happy life, but what about the things we don’t do? Simply saying no to requests is often touted as important factor in reduced stress levels. You can say no to requests, demands, and opportunities, but you can also say no to other external factors.
There are 7 things that, generally speaking, moms with great attitudes don’t waste their time worrying about. Just because you aren’t paid by the hour doesn’t mean your time isn’t valuable!
As always, allow me to take a moment to reiterate the postpartum depression, feelings of anxiety and sadness should be discussed with a doctor or healthcare professional! This advice is for improved daily disposition and not mental health.
Maybe it’s not so much what you care about that makes you happy. Maybe it’s the stuff that you pointedly decide NOT to care about that makes all the difference. So allow yourself to go ahead – and don’t give a $%&*!
1. What happened yesterday: Repeat after me: today is a new day. Maybe you didn’t make the healthiest dinner yesterday. Maybe you yelled too many times, checked your phone too often, or forgot to ask your partner goe his day was – today is a brand new day! Give it the best you’ve got! Happy moms don’t let yesterday’s trials become today’s problems. Address the issue, learn from it if possible, and move on without dwelling.
2. The weather: I’m driving toward the campground when I see the dark clouds ahead. Suddenly, with barely any warning, the sky opens up and violent rain drops begin pummeling my windshield. Following the other vehicles on the highway, I pull over with a sinking feeling. My brother and I have been planning this one night of camping with my three little ones for ages. I consider turning around; back to the warm safety of my mom’s house where we are vacationing. I wait. I call my sister-in-law and complain a little about the rain. We decide to carry on. Before long, the storm passes, we set up the tents and we’re drinking wine and eating s’mores by the fire. I’m so glad I didn’t give a &$^% about the weather.
One thing I’ve learned from living in cold places like Canada and Minnesota is that when it comes to parenting, you can’t let the weather hold you back. Sure, it might not be the best plan to hit the beach on a rainy day, but that doesn’t mean you need to let the weather bring you down. Create some fun traditions for when it’s too bad to leave the house (we build obstacle courses, watch Curious George and drink hot cocoa!). Have go-to places that are still fun when it’s yucky outside, such as the library, indoor play zones, or local trampoline parks. One of my favorite expressions is “There is no such thing as bad weather – only bad preparation!”
3. Their kid’s bad mood: Sometimes kids just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Cranky, whiny, grumpy kids are simply no fun to be around, but that’s part of the package. The key is to have a thick skin and try not to succumb to their mood. My favorite mantra is “Be their calm, don’t add to their storm.” I admittedly don’t always succeed, but deep breaths and not joining in the crazy sure helps. Just because my kid is in a bad mood doesn’t mean I’m going to have a bad day. Of course I care, and I want my children to be happy, and I’ll try my best to help them through it – but I’m not going to take on their emotional state as my own, either.
4. Perfection: Even uttering the word perfection while discussing parenthood is a silly notion. There will never be an absolutely perfect day. Perfect moments, yes. Perfect eyelashes, of course. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you might even get a perfect hair day once every decade or so. But perfect parenting? Ha. Once you let go of the idea that parenting can have anything to do with perfection, you’ll be happier overall!
5. Getting Messy/Dirty/Wet: Kids get dirty. Crafts, outdoor play, eating – it’s a messy business! Why not embrace it, and allow yourself to indulge in it from time to time too? Sure, it can be inconvenient and it’s not always the time and place, but some messiness it part of what makes a good childhood. I’m not saying letting your child roll around in a mud puddle before they go to a piano recital. I’m not even suggesting that letting your kid face-dive into a bowl of spaghetti is ever a great idea (have you tried to remove tomato sauce from literally anything??). Being prepared for messiness is key: a change of clothes, a towel and some wipes thrown in the trunk can cure pretty much anything. So go ahead, and next time your child is having a blast getting dirty, try not giving a %^&!
6. Prisoner of Routine: I love me a good routine. I’m a stickler for bedtime schedules and having a set naptime schedule is key to keeping my household running smoothly. But, that being said, I recently realized that I had become a prisoner of my own schedule. These days, if my kids are having fun at the zoo, I don’t rush home for nap. I shake things up a little. We always have our schedule to fall back on, but I also allow myself some fluidity, spontaneity, and flexibility in our days. The result? A newfound freedom, an ability to choose how I want my days to go instead of being trapped in my own schedule, the ability to fall back on my routine, and generally feeling happier. Happy mamas have a routine, or choose not to have a routine, or choose to live somewhere in the middle – but by doing so consciously, you are choosing the daily structure that works best with your personality and your life.
7. Other People’s Opinions: Seems like everyone and their mother, grandmother and great-aunt have an opinion on pretty much everything from family size and planning to infant feeding, bedtimes, career choices and more. While requested advice is often helpful, unsolicited opinions roll off a happy mama’s back like water. “In one ear and out the other,” has always been my policy! A happy mama proudly babywears (or chooses not to), or feeds formula (or breastfeeds), or waits while her child has an age-appropriate tantrum (or buys the candy bar) without caring what the person behind her in line thinks of her actions.
While the things we do and the choices we make can certainly help shape our happiness and our view of the world, sometimes it’s the things that we choose not to dwell on or think about that truly release us from negativity. I would love to hear the things that you don’t give a %$7 about when it comes to bringing happiness to your life! I’m sure there are many more to add to this list. At the end end of the day, we love our little ones so much, and give so many %#*$&%s that it hurts, so letting go of a few of them is truly liberating.
PS. If you enjoyed reading this post, you’ll love my recent post “The 14 Habits of Happy Stay-at-Home-Moms!”