How I Became a Happy Mom

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Beautiful photo of my son and I, taken by Elizabeth Andrew Photography.

There have been many changes made in my life since I first began this blog. The whole point behind me starting this up was to document the changes I made as a mother and wife and I’m sorry I have failed you all in that.
To be completely honest, I didn’t make a whole lot of changes, as a mom, until just a few months ago. I knew what I wanted to change, but I had no idea how to go about making those changes. I spent the majority of my time feeling overwhelmed and stressed and my job as a mom was at the top of my list of reasons for why I felt that way. I yelled a lot at my kids, felt like I couldn’t keep up with the never ending list of chores and laundry, and dreamed of the day my oldest would start kindergarten so I could have some time to take care of me.
I don’t like that person. I didn’t like her then and I care for her even less now.
I joined one of the small groups at our church, connected with a wonderful group of ladies who have become some of my best friends, and began learning about motherhood from a Christan perspective. We have been reading this book in our group (Beyond Bath Time by Erin Davis) and at the end of every chapter is a set of questions. Many of those questions have made me take a step back and really evaluate my parenting skills with a critical eye.
I’ve also opened up a lot about topics I have never discussed before – things I felt towards my kids or during my pregnancies. The more I thought about myself as a mom, the more I realized I have been led to believe certain things about parenting that aren’t true. These are things we hear (and not always in a blunt manner) from sources like the media, movies, social media, our friends, and even our families. I’d like to tell you about some of the things I felt/thought about motherhood without even realizing it!

1. Kids are a “roadblock” to my personal happiness.
While kids DO require a lot of time and energy, they do not keep you from being happy! Only YOU can determine your level of happiness. This is something I grew up hearing but, for whatever reason, I apparently didn’t think it applied to my kids. I just figured I was destined to live a life where I never did “fun” things and that made me feel miserable. Once I realized how false that statement was, my eyes were opened to the countless FUN times I had missed with two of the most important people in my life: my children!
I immediately decided to change that.
One of my biggest flaws as a mom is using the line “just a minute.” I always felt that I needed to get my chores done before I could do fun things with my kids, but I have since realized that all I was doing was teaching my kids that all of my chores were more important than playing with them or checking out their latest creation. It really hit me hard when I asked my four year old if he wanted to do something and he replied with, “I’m busy.”
Ouch.
I have since changed that. I no longer say “just a minute.” I now give them a set timeline – “let me finish putting the bowls away/as soon as I’m done folding this shirt/right after I set the timer,” etc. I’m still finishing the task I’m immediately working on, but I also keep my word. The second I finish that task, I’m by their side.

2. I need to do everything perfectly to be a good mom.
Well if that isn’t a whopper, I don’t know what is! This is something I have struggled with since becoming a mom. I had this burning desire to be super mom. I needed to do it all and I sure didn’t need help.
I couldn’t do it all. I STILL can’t do it all.
In fact, I’m currently sitting on my couch and my living room floor is covered in Megabloks, crumbs from our play date yesterday, and dog hair. Don’t believe me?

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Okay okay… So the crumbs and dog hair aren’t as evident in that picture, but trust me – they are there! There’s also a half eaten muffin on that paper towel behind me and I have some crazy dark circles under my eyes. 🙂
Simply put, my house is NOT pristine all the time. I wish it were, but that’s just not the case. I DO clean, but I don’t strive for perfection like I used to. I just do my best to keep up with the house and make my family’s happiness my ultimate goal.

3. Every day is a repeat.
Yes, motherhood can be a bit repetitive at times. We clean, we cook, we wipe snotty noses and poopy butts, we pick up toys, we teach, we play, we fight over nap time, etc. But every day is NOT the same.
Each new day is another chance to try again. It’s a chance to work on your patience, to sit and listen to your kids, to do something fun with them… It’s a chance to start living your life as a mom who is happy.

I haven’t figured out if there was an exact moment that caused my view to change and quite frankly, I don’t care exactly when it happened. I’m just thankful it did. My life has changed for the better. I’m happy as a mom, thrilled with the role I get to play in their lives, and blessed beyond belief with two amazing, loving, intelligent, and happy little kids.
What more could a mom ask for?

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