Being a mom is one of the best roles in the world. You get to care for your little ones, watch them grow and experience their personality blossom before your eyes. Motherhood is also one of the most challenging, and at times, thankless jobs you can experience.
So how do moms find joy in those low moments? Here are seven ways.
The single most important way you can find joy in being a mom is to take time to connect with your child. How do you do that? Get down on your hands and knees and make eye contact with your little one. Play a game, read a book or create a craft together. It will bring your child so much joy, and likewise, it will fill you with unimaginable happiness.
Every parent struggles to put down their phone, not answer that important call or email, or postpone doing the laundry for another five minutes. When it comes to your child, be present and disengage from your other responsibilities. Childhood is fleeting, and this time is precious. You’ll find so much joy as a mother and in the special memories you make together.
Parenting is life-changing. Sure, everyone in your life tells you this. But until you have your first child, you can’t fully comprehend this truth. When you become a mom, the focus of your life quickly shifts to caring for your child. Unfortunately, care for yourself can sometimes fall to the wayside. While nurturing your child can bring great joy, it can often replace caring for yourself.
Sometimes moms need to take a step back to disengage momentarily. When you need a minute and can ensure your child is in safe hands, take a break. Go somewhere quiet to guarantee you’re uninterrupted. Make yourself aware of what you see and hear. Take one breath and hold it for four counts and then release it for three counts. Repeat as needed.
Practicing mindfulness and breathing techniques help you to focus and be present in the moment. Research also shows continued practice helps to reduce stress and anxiety. When you take a fifteen-minute break from your child to care for your mental health, you ensure you’re better prepared to meet the pressures of being a mother, helping you to find joy along the way.
3. Practice Sobriety
If you, or another mom you know, struggles with addiction, know that help is available. Addiction is destructive, stealing joy from all relationships and sowing pain and discord. Do know that once you begin the process of sobriety, hope exists for recovery. You can reclaim a joyful life of meaning for you and your little one.
4. Get Outside
Going outside is one of the easiest ways to add a bit of joy to your day. A change of scenery can change everything, and a little Vitamin D never hurt anything either! If it’s raining, try heading to a store or walking at the local mall. Getting out of your house can always help you get a little perspective on what you’re thinking or feeling.
5. Increase Exercise
Adding exercise to your life is a sure way to increase your brain’s release of mood-altering endorphins. Called the “runner’s high,” endorphins encourage euphoric levels of feeling. Exercising 30 minutes a day, or doing high-intensity workouts, will help to release this chemical. Running and cycling are great ways to achieve an endorphin boost.
To boost your endorphins and include your child, you could also try having a high-energy dance party. Push back the furniture in the living room, select some fast-paced music and start dancing. Don’t stop until you get your heart rate elevated. Most of all, have fun with your child.
6. Improve Sleep
Aim to get enough sleep every night, and you’ll be on your way to experiencing a bit more joy in your life. The CDC recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep a night. However, every mom knows that raising children is counterintuitive to getting a good night of rest.
So what do you do – rest when they’re resting? For moms with kiddos still napping, that adage is worth listening to. Scientists have founds that naps can be highly beneficial for adults, even those as short as 10 minutes. A twenty-minute rest is ideal, as it improves alertness and brain function.
If your children are past the age of naps, take steps to improve your sleep hygiene so you can increase your hours at night. Try establishing a bedtime routine to sleep and wake at the same time each day. Additionally, limit screen time usage 30 minutes before bedtime, as the blue light can disrupt sleep cycles.
7. Label Feelings
Every mom has her moment. Know that no matter how much you try, you will never be the perfect mom – you’ll grow impatient, you’ll likely lose your temper, maybe you’ll even shout. And all of that’s okay!
If and when these things occur, take the time to label your feelings. For example, say, “I’m feeling sad” or “when that happened, mama felt angry.” Labeling feelings is crucial to give you proper perspective in a situation. It helps you catch your breath and understand that you’re not just the emotion “sad” or “anger,” you are simply feeling it at this moment.
Additionally, tell your child how you’re feeling and model this labeling process. If you need to apologize for shouting, do so. Explain to your child you yelled because you were feeling angry due to the situation. Your little one needs to see you processing big feelings. You can guide your child as they experience emotions and help them to sort and label what they’re feeling.
Find Your Joy
Motherhood is no easy task. No matter what you’ve experienced, you’re doing your best to be a great mom! Take time each day to reconnect with your child, get outside and exercise, and soon you’ll find a bit more joy in your life.