Are mom’s supposed to be happy or would that make them selfish? Mother's are supposed to sacrifice their needs for the needs of their children, right? Oh, and by the way, they are supposed to sacrifice with joy in their hearts.
Somewhere mother’s have gotten the mistaken idea that in order to “do it right”we’re supposed to devote ourselves to diapers, feeding, cleaning, play dates, dance (music, ballet, tutoring) lessons, soccer and t-ball, and what’s more, if we don’t do it, and do it perfectly, our children will not be successful. No wonder mothers can begin to feel that motherhood overwhelming, thankless, and completely exhausting.
But what if we could take the work out of parenting and turn it into play. Looking out for your own happiness is one of the most important and positive things you can do for your child. There are many ways to “do it right” and the key is choosing the way that’s fits your personality and the personality of your child(ren) or for you and your specific family and situation?
Here are my six secrets for happy parenting:
1. What is worth listening to?
A vital part of being a happy mom is learning to listen to your own instincts. When you listen to the voice in your heart and make choices you believe in. you will enjoy more peace and happiness. Be open to continuous learning. Parents should always listen and be open to new ideas and approaches, but no matter the degree behind the person who is telling you what to do, if what they are telling you feels completely wrong for you, they are probably wrong for you. Don't be hesitant to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but stretching to be a better parent, does not require that you stop listening to that quiet voice inside your heart.
2. "Will it matter at Christmas?"
Let’s face it: As a parent, some days flow so easily and others, well they flow a lot less than easily. They fill more like days you have been hurled out of a moving car. There are days you are tempted to put your children on the curb on garbage day. But one question has helped me regain my perspective time and time again. When I find that mustard and Cheerios are mixed in a large puddle on the floor, it is a question that helps me distinguish between frustrating and important. It is a question my mother began to ask when she was diagnosed with Leukemia and the doctors told us it would be a miracle to have her with us for one more Christmas. When we got all upset and bent out of shape at each other my mom would ask,“Will it matter at Christmas?” If it is important enough to still matter at Christmas, it is important enough to fight for, if not, let it go. Don’t let the small stuff make you sweat. There is a huge difference between frustrating and important.
3. Make new friends, but keep the old
When I was in the Brownies when I was seven-years-old, our leaders taught us a song. The words went like this, “Make new friends but keep the old, One is Silver and the other Gold. My mom used to say, "Friends are the grease that helps the wheels of life keep moving". Friends are an important and wonderful support system. They help us make sense out of utter craziness. They pull us off the wall when our child has pooped in their pants and hand painted their walls with it, or they bring you what you need when you or your child is ill. Want to be a happier mom, make new friends but keep the old.
4. What is SELF-FULL?
We have all been told that if we are mothers, we are not be selfish. We are to sacrifice for those we love. I think it is every bit as important for mom's not to attempt to be self-less. How can we pour out blessings on others if we are running on empty? Instead we must learn to honor a new phrase called SELF-FULL. If we make sure that our needs are met, as well as the needs of our children and husbands, we will discover that we have so much more to give to those we love. Go ahead. Fill yourself up.
5. The power of Personality
Who are you? What makes you tick? What lights up your world? What do you love to do? What are you good at? Who are your children? What are their gifts and talents? If you understand more about your basic personality, you will understand how to live your life consistent with what feels most natural to you. This is so important for your children as well. When we live our lives more consistent with who we are, we naturally feel happier. If you want to take a great personality test, take The Primary Colors Personality Test. It will help you understand yourself and those you love, so you can source them so much better. It’s great to have goals, but keeping your expectations of yourself and those you love consistent with their personalities can help protect everyone against disappointment and frustration.
6. Find great parent tools and use them
There are so many great parenting books and parenting tools. There are great websites that contain great articles and information. Join a Mom’s group both online and off. Just go to Google and search for mom's clubs in your community and online. Find great parent tools that really work to make the job of parenting easier like the new patent-pending parent tool and child development system called CAPABLES. It is a complete parent system that enhances and encourages both children and parents.
I am not saying that being a parent isn't hard work. Being a parent is the most difficult job I have ever tackled. As parents, we all have ups and downs…but parenting is also the most amazing and wonderful job I have ever had. And there are definite steps you can take to make parenting more fun and effective. There is nothing wrong with being a parent that’s more relaxed, more purposeful, more fun…and yes, happier.
The best news of all? The happier you are, the happier your kids will be. Now that’s a good reason to become SELF-FULL, learn more about you and your children’s core strengths and tendencies, and choose to enjoy motherhood, isn’t it?
In 2008 Dawn was selected by Oprah Magazine and The White House project as one of 80 emerging women leaders in the nation.
Dawn is the CEO and Founder of The Heart Link Women’s Network, with locations in US, Canada and Australia. She is also the architect of the Primary Colors Personality Test and Insight Tools, founder of OverJOYed Life and creator of the Happiness Curriculum. She also serves as executive director of the Executive Training Resort in Arizona.