You’re perennially popular as a mom. You hear the words “Mommy, mommy, MOMMY!” over and over again in rapid fire succession. Your teen needs a ride, your second grader needs a lunch, and your toddler is spreading peanut butter over her belly. So how can a busy mom find joy in her role amidst planning, cooking, working, and cleaning? Whether you are a mom of needy toddlers or independent adult children, there are four things you can “put on” to become a happier mom.
Put on a smile.
I was fortunate to grow up with a very happy mom who has a smile as wide as Texas (even though she’s Asian). My childhood friends would constantly ask, “Is your mom always this happy?” It doesn’t matter if you were born with a sunny disposition like my mom or not. You can make the choice to smile. Research shows that smiling brings health benefits, such as recovering from physiological stress faster and having a slower heart rate. You know how you smile at your dinner guests to be polite? In the same way, you can smile at your children. Greet them with a smile at the beginning of the day and when you see them after being separated. Your smile will not only communicate you care, it will make you (and the recipient of your smile) feel a much needed spark of joy.
Put on forgiveness.
Your children are going to disappoint you, frustrate you, and at times defy you. When tension occurs in your parent/child relationship, how do you respond? You don’t want to bury your head in the sand or engage in a yelling match. As you seek to reconcile with your child after a disagreement, you want to have the attitude laid out in Ephesians 4:32, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God is Christ forgave you.” As you put on forgiveness, it is a choice to put it on, you extend God’s grace to your child. The alternative is to nurse a grudge and allow bitterness to take root in your heart. Bitterness is a source of sorrow, but forgiveness yields great joy.
KEEP THE LONG VIEW IN MIND -- YOU ARE NOT RAISING CHILDREN. YOU ARE RAISING FUTURE ADULTS.
Put on perspective.
The saying “The days are long, but the years are short” rings true to me. My oldest is in high school now. It’s hard to believe I used to worry about bringing him to the mall when he was potty training! But when I was in the midst of hauling around wipes, baby food, and extra outfits, it seemed like that season of parenting would last forever. A few weeks ago, I visited a friend who’s an empty nester. Her house was quiet. Her carpet was freshly vacuumed. The only evidence of her children was a huge collection of photographs, proudly displayed in the living room. Keep the long view in mind -- you are not raising children. You are raising future adults. Enjoy them while they are in your home and then enjoy them anew once they are independent.
Put on a bathrobe and relax.
Sometimes all you need to refuel as a mom is to take a nap! Don’t be afraid to put your kids to bed early because mom needs some extra time. Crank up the bubble bath, light a few candles, and enjoy some peace and quiet. What makes you feel relaxed? Whether it’s a jog around the block, reading a book, or getting a massage, make time for relaxation and renewal. Put it in the calendar and look forward to it. Pampering yourself from time to time is not selfish. It’s a necessary part of rejuvenating yourself so you can be refreshed in your very important role of mom.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, yet the benefits of being a mom far outweigh the drawbacks. Becoming a happier mom is within your reach. You just have to know what to put on.