Secrets of Happy Mommies ~ And the Importance of Being CONTENT!

I love being a mom.  I’d say that even with all the housework, tantrums, and even in being pregnant and hormonal – I’m definitely happy the majority of the time, and grateful for this life I’m living & for getting the privilege to be a mommy.

My son loves me so incredibly much – even after having a couple of time outs today, he cuddles up with me at bedtime, throws his arms around me and tells me that I’m “such a sweet mommy,” and that he loves having me for a mom.  *cue the tears*

I tell him all the time how he is a gift from God, and how much I love having him as my son.

Recently I’ve been digging in to the history of feminism, where exactly it came from, who the women really were, and what the main causes for “feminism” were.  It had slowly been revealed to me in reading these women’s stories, and one author even goes so far as to say this right out, that feminism was built on a woman’s discontentment with her life.

If you’re Christian, this should raise a red flag.

As a Christian woman, contentment in our life is something worth learning how to experience – its greater than a mere virtue, its crucial to a happy life in general!  To read the honesty, to see it played out in the lives of these women so long ago in how they let their discontentment rule the day (and their children’s and husband’s lives), shows the value of being content as a mother… as a wife… as a single, if you’re single.  Contentment is part of the Christian life – no matter how hard your life experiences, you must embrace that like Paul, you can do all things in Christ, Jesus.

 

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.

I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

 

I read this article with glee in seeing that I do/have done pretty much all of these – so yes, they really do work!  Put them into practice and start working on building contentment into your life!

From Parent’s Magazine: 17 Habits of Happy Moms:

1. Ask for help

Happy mothers are not afraid to ask for help from family and friends. While morose, martyred moms miss those out-of-town weekends and movie nights with their husband because they can’t find a babysitter or a willing relative, Very Happy Moms just say, “Please.”

2. Leave the house — now

Have you been outside today? Fresh air, sunlight, and nature are believed to be critical mood enhancers for women, and moms can get this little lift while pushing strollers or swings. Look around that playground. Who looks happy? Go talk to her, right now.

3. Plan some big fun

In my research, I’ve found that VHMs work really hard to find time and money for vacations. Take away the alarm clocks, the homework, the deadlines…bring on the sunsets, the sand castles, the card games. Suddenly you remember why you spend so much time doing these people’s laundry.

4. Get your groove on

You call him “honey,” and he calls you “sugar” — but are you giving each other enough sweetness? Happy moms like getting busy. It’ll put a smile on your face. And it’s nice to have a Very Happy Husband hanging around.

5. Eat, sleep, and be merry

Being sleep-deprived may be a badge of honor for those with young babies, but the sooner you can figure out how to get your eight hours back, the more delirious with joy you will be. Follow that well-deserved rest with a bowl of oatmeal and a banana instead of three cups of coffee and the remains of somebody’s Pop-Tart, and see what happens.

6. Have a six-pack

I thought the main habit of Very Happy Moms might be popping Prozac, but I asked around and not a single happy mother mentioned drugs. Not even margaritas. Sigh. What they did mention, in droves, was exercise. And of course they’re right: Just about equal to how good regular exercise makes us feel is how insidiously the gloom creeps in when we weasel out of it. Fortunately, to a mom, exercise can feel almost self-indulgent — after all, you’re doing something for yourself, in the company of other grown-ups. And that’s part of the buzz.

7. One is not the loneliest number

Carving out time away from the kids is crucial, whether it’s poker night with the girls or just a long bath with a magazine.

 
8. Be nice to thy neighbor

You would think that moms would be tapped out in the giving department. But most happy moms make doing things for others a regular part of their lives, whether it’s baking a lasagna for a family with a new baby or offering a ride to an elderly friend. Remember: Your helpfulness is another deposit in the karma bank.

9. Love the one you’re with

The happiest moms don’t compare and compete. Neither they, nor their kids, nor their cars, nor their houses have to be the smartest, cutest, newest, or neatest. The green-eyed monster has chewed up the happiness of many a mom. Around A.D. 89 the philosopher Epictetus offered advice for Very Happy Moms: To be content is greater than riches, so love what you have.

10. Hang with your gal pals

Very Happy Moms have close mom friends. Knowing that others are in the trenches with you is key. From the super-petty issues to the deadly serious crises, I don’t know how I would have made it without my friend Theresa. Over the years, she has patiently listened to long stories involving extremely important topics, such as Pull-Ups, car pools, and her favorite: the vice principal of the middle school.

11. Plan a little fun

Very Happy Moms sometimes buy themselves flowers, just in case no one else has thought of it. They meet their husbands for lunch, get a facial, or have the car detailed just because.

12. Play with the rules

One of the best things about being the person who makes the rules is bending them. With each of my kids, I allow certain treats that have a slightly wicked feel. With my 4-year-old daughter, it’s taking a bubble bath with our miniature dachshund. With my teenage son, it’s stopping for really expensive sushi on the way home from a doctor’s appointment. Very Happy Moms know when to turn the mundane into magic.

13. Pick and choose

Separate the siblings and enjoy some one-on-one time with each kid. No interrupting, no juggling, no sibling rivalry. What joy!

14. Look ahead

When your happy buzz threatens to slip away altogether, remind yourself that “This too shall pass.” It works both ways: Either you get through the terrible stuff by knowing it’s not forever, or you put it into perspective by reminding yourself that the good stuff — the sticky kisses, the cute little tutus — will also soon be gone.

15. Forgive and forget

We all want to live up to our parenting ideals and do everything right all the time, and here we are, losing our tempers, being inconsistent, and bribing kids with candy on a daily basis. Unfortunately, all the time you spend brooding and punishing yourself for this is more time when your best self is not there for your kids. Very Happy Moms know that even the best of us have days from hell. They let those days go, and get on with exercising and vacation planning.

16. Pee in your pants laughing

Kids love to see their moms smile (mine actually comment on it, if that tells you anything), and research is starting to show that just crinkling your eyes, turning up the corners of your mouth, and laughing can produce the happy brain chemical serotonin. At least it will make you look really ridiculous, which will make your kids laugh. And laughing really hard with your kids is one of the best Very Happy Mom secrets of all.

17. Cuddle up

Though I consider myself a Somewhat Cranky Mom, I share this with the Very Happy Moms I surveyed: I have a hug habit. “Hugs and snugs and snoodles” is how my 4-year-old, Jane, and I refer to our smooching sessions. Happy moms cuddle their kids every chance they get, which is smart since those chances diminish through grade school and then disappear altogether by the time your former cuddler gets her driver’s license. So take Janis Joplin’s parenting advice: Get it while you can.

Advertisements

I Wish My Husband Was More Like Hers (& Other Comparisons)

When I was growing up, my mother distinctly taught me that when dating, you should never make comparison statements to your man about other men and how great they are – including even your father.  Comparisons are interesting… I’ve thought for a long time that they only serve to bring about two things: pride or dissatisfaction, and never EVER contentment, happiness, or joy.  You cannot be content or joyful when you are looking over at someone else’s possessions/house/wife/kids, and are coveting them.

When I was working, I’d listen to radio talk shows in the mornings while on my drive to work – I learned some incredible lessons from greats like Chuck Swindoll (Pastor and founder of Insight for Living) & Chip Ingram (Pastor and founder of Living on the Edge) – both great men that gave such amazing advice and knowledge to me daily that I came to view them as friendly guides in my life.  I’ll never forget a series Chip did on how Comparisons lead to sin.  [You can read a great short post he did on it at his website here.]  It was expounding on the same point that whether you compare up or down, it only leads to something negative and unhelpful in the long run.

The effect on a husband when he’s compared to someone else’s is not pretty, how is he supposed to take that she wishes he’d be like someone else?  For women who do this, think about if the situation was turned around and he was suddenly comparing you to someone else’s wife and the way she takes care of her husband, or the way she cleans her house, or another couple’s sex life (oooOOOoooo).  If a wife insists on reminding him that he’s failing her in being like someone else, he might try harder for awhile, but will eventually give up depressed and angry at the injustice of being compared.

It only creates distrust, discontentment, and resentment, in the marriage and in life in general.  The secret to being content is a topic for another post, but I can tell you now that the first thing it begins with is getting rid of all comparisons.

Another detrimental comparison is when we look at other couples and covet their standard of living – the house they have, the cars, or how they can afford to have their kids in every sport imaginable under the sun, or in private school.  This is definitely a marriage stressor – especially again, for the husband who feels the societal pressure of providing the family’s standard of living.

I know it seems to go against the norm of our society, but living simplistically and frugally produces so much contentment!  This I can say with undoubted assurance from my personal experience!  Stressing your marriage out with unnecessary loans and a huge looming mortgage, all the while coveting more and more the standard of living of those around you is a recipe for discontentment.

Here are some helpful tips in reminding us to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Get rid of all comparisons of others you make during the course of your day, be mindful of when you are making those judgments and keep track of what circumstances bring those feelings & thoughts up
  • Don’t compare yourself to others either!  Be the best you can personally be, but avoid comparing your body, personality, or life to others around you… like I stated earlier it either makes you feel prideful (to compare down) or less self-assured (to compare up) – either of which are bad roads to take
  • Work on being accepting and finding peace and contentment in your life – no one’s life is perfect, no matter how much it may appear that way on the outside.  Everyone has bad days, bad feelings at times, or gets sick (had to add that, I’m sick with a cold right now!).
  • Accept your life and embrace what God’s given you – embrace your husband in all his human qualities, if he is willing and able to provide for your family, embrace his ability to provide for you and your family at whatever level that is
  • Practice gratitude for everything you are given.  If you are feeling discontent with your life, you need to focus on the gifts God’s surrounded you with.  Make a thankfulness journal and write 10 things in it each day that you are grateful for!  You’ll be amazed at the change in your attitude in just one month.  Try it for a year and you will never quite be same person you were!

Embrace your life, your marriage, your spouse!  And if you have good health, food in your pantry, and are blessed with friends or family you have it all my friend!