When your baby is catapulted into the world, you can't help but feel joy. You echo the words of Leah in Genesis 30:13, "How happy I am! The women will call me happy." But those first moments of bliss are quickly tried by crying infants, sleep deprivation, and all sorts of challenges. According to a Barna study, eight in ten moms feel overwhelmed by stress. Only nineteen percent of moms report being extremely satisfied as a mom. You know if you hang your happiness on your children's behavior, you may have to wait a while before you can break into a wide grin.
But there is good news. If you can tap into the joy that comes from obeying Christ and being in his presence, you can be a happier mom no matter what is happening. Happiness (pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness) is actually something you can increase in your life by your thoughts and actions. Here are ten ways to help you be a happier mom.
1. Discipline With Action, Not Tone
You've probably yelled this before: "How many times do I have to tell you..." Most likely, you were the one at your wits end while your child was unmoved. Instead of using long explanations or threatening tones, use actions and consequences that will stop your child in his/her tracks. For instance, when my daughter dawdled at breakfast (again), we simply took the food away and served it for lunch. No fanfare or emotion necessary.
2. Drop the Guilt
Don’t fall prey to the victim mentality that makes you feel like a loser all the time. Notice your negative self-talk and seek to turn your bad guilt into good guilt. Bad guilt says "I'm no good," but good guilt says "I did something wrong and I need to fix it." Focus on the things you can fix and stop expecting perfection from yourself. Failure is an event; not a person.
3. Do Less for Your Kids
Are you still packing lunches for your sixth grader? It’s time to stop. Don't do for your children the things they can do for themselves. Whether it’s tying shoelaces, homework, or washing dishes, we need to give our kids increased responsibilities as they get older. It will not only make you saner as a mom, it will prepare your children well for independence and adulthood.