Do you feel like your mom life is chaotic?
Most of us do. It seems natural to assume that being a mom is stressful, exhausting and a constant struggle.
The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. You can be a happy mom with a balanced life.
This doesn’t mean that mom life will never be without its hardships, but you don’t have to give in to the stressed-out “mom aesthetic”.
When COVID-19 hit (which we are currently experiencing right now), I tried to play the whole “being home with my kid is hard” card just because every other mom on my social media was.
The truth was, it wasn’t hard at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
That’s when I realized that I don’t have to struggle because I feel like I’m expected to. I’m allowed to enjoy my life and be happy being a mom.
So I thought I’d share with you some habits of happy and balanced moms that you can try to incorporate into your life if you feel that things are tough and unbalanced:
25 Habits of Happy and Balanced Moms
1. They Ask for Help
This is probably one of the biggest things I struggled with as a mom – asking other people for help. I felt that because I created my child that I had no right to ask for help when raising her.
But then I learned there’s a huge difference between putting my hand out and asking for support.
Support is a mutual giving and receiving of help. I wouldn’t ask anything of anyone if I wasn’t willing to reciprocate.
This definitely alleviated a lot of guilt I had about asking for help.
2. They Hang Out With Their Mom Tribe
The only people who know what it’s like to be a mom as well as moms is other moms.
Your mom tribe is there to empathize with each other’s struggles and offer understanding and support. They are a valuable source of advice, a constant source of companionship and reminder that no mother is perfect.
You don’t need a tight-knit group of “ride or die” moms either. Just a circle of mom-friends who you can reach out to when you need it.
In my life, I don’t hang out exclusively with a mom tribe. But I have one, and we take our kids to McDonald’s once a week to play while we eat and talk.
As of writing this post, we are under COVID-19 lockdown, so we video chat and get drunk instead.
Even that once a week interaction with them is beneficial to me.
3. They Hang Out With Their Non-Mom and Pre-Mom Friends
Of course, there is no one as important to you as your “non-mom” or “pre-mom” friends. These are the friends that either don’t have children or who were your closest friends before you became a mom.
I’ll admit, I did drift away from a few friends after entering parenthood. The difference in our life stages created a rift.
It sort of happened naturally.
But I have my one best friend who has no children, no plans of having children, and has been by my side through thick and thin.
These friends remind us of who we truly are – beyond being a mom. They help us retain our sense of true identity.
4. They Pick Their Battles
Happy moms know the importance of the word “compromise”.
It means giving in sometimes for the sake of your own sanity.
If your child will only sit and eat vegetables while watching videos on the tablet, so be it. They’ll only sleep on their own if it’s in your bed? Sounds great.
As a single mom with no other able-bodied adult in my everyday life to fall back on, I’ve made many compromises in my parenting.
I just keep reminding myself: “My daughter won’t be doing this when she’s 16…hopefully.”
5. They Go Outside
It’s Springtime now and yesterday my daughter and I went on a hike through a local nature park. The trail we chose winds along the coastline.
At one point I just stopped and took a deep breath. The cool, salty air filled my lungs and I really, truly felt peaceful. Like it took over my whole body.
It may be important to note that I am NOT an outdoor-person. I prefer the comfort of my home’s interior.
However, I can’t deny that there is something invigorating and relaxing about being outside.
There’s a whole science behind how nature impacts our well-being – which I won’t get into great detail here. Suffice it to say, being in nature is proven to reduce stress and increase pleasant feelings.
The best part? It doesn’t have to be a “me-time-self-care” thing either. It can be a you and the kids thing and the whole family can reap the benefits.
6. They Value Their Sleep
Sometimes I feel that most of the stress of being a mom comes from self-fulfilling prophecies. These are beliefs you have about yourself or your life that come true simply because you believe them.
Take sleep, for instance. One of the most popular “mom complaints” is how moms don’t get any sleep.
I sleep like a rock. I’m not saying I jump out of bed every morning ready to take on the day, but I do sleep well.
Granted, my daughter is six and past the waking-through-the-night stage of her life, but I feel my good sleep now comes from the fact that I want to have a good sleep.
I do things at night that calm and relax my body, such as reading or coloring with my daughter. Sometimes we watch a movie or I listen to music.
With no disregard to legitimate sleep issues, sometimes you can find a good night’s sleep simply by focusing your attention more on having one and less on the fact that most moms don’t.
7. They Find “Me-Time”
As I mentioned before, I’m a single mom, so I know all about the difficulties of finding time for oneself.
But it’s there and I do my best to snatch it up when I can.
For instance, right now I’m writing this post while my daughter is still in bed. I get up a little earlier than she does to have this time to myself.
And I love writing, so this is so self care for me.
When she was a wee babe, I used to lay her in her crib and stand outside my front door. She would lay calmly with her mobile for about five minutes, but it was enough to get a little breather in.
And I’ll be the first to admit that YouTube videos and TV shows are a god-send when you need a moment to yourself.
Of course, there are probably more creative ways to find time to yourself – just don’t stress yourself out trying to figure out how to keep your child “properly” engaged and stimulated so you can have a moment’s peace.
8. They Are Helpful
As the New Rascals once wisely stated: “You only get what you give.”
I like to think of giving back and helping as something beyond simply racking up karma. There’s an internal sense of fulfillment when you reach out to others.
This means helping someone out not to expect something in return from them, but to have that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
You don’t have to become a “yes-mom” to be helpful. You just have to lend a hand when you can without pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion and overwhelm.
And in case that song is stuck in your head:
(The OG New Radicals version, that is!)
9. They Don’t Judge Other Moms
It seems that mom-judging runs rampant through places like Facebook and Instagram. Oftentimes it is blatant but sometimes it can be very subtle.
When my daughter was a toddler, I posted a picture of her building her first block tower. I was so excited!
At the time, I was working with Autistic preschoolers so immediately the comments were flooded by co-workers pointing out that my daughter was “W” sitting (which can be bad for the hips).
Happy and balanced moms are mindful of not only what they say to other moms but what they think as well.
Sometimes we judge to be helpful but most times we do it because we feel inadequate as mothers.
Amazingly, the less you allow yourself to judge other moms, the more you can reverse-engineer your confidence and increase your self-esteem.
10. They Don’t Compare Themselves to Other Moms
This kind of goes hand in hand with judging, except instead of putting down other moms to feel better, moms tend to compare themselves to other moms and feel worse.
It’s called the “Mom Comparison Trap” and it can be a crappy rabbit hole to fall down.
The best way to avoid it is to be realistic about what you see both on social media and the real world. What other moms portray, and what goes on between closed doors, is often vastly different.
If you were to compare yourself to the realities that other moms face on a regular basis, you would be at par.
We all parent in our own way but we also all face the same struggles.
The sooner you can see what other mothers are doing as aspiring and not a means of comparing your own skills, the happier and more balanced you will be.
11. They Have a Little Fun
Being a mom isn’t a “job”. Sure, it encompasses various roles that are job-like, but it really comes down to being nurturing and having fun.
Happy moms know how to have fun, let loose and be silly.
I’m 36 years old and I still get excited when my daughter and I build blanket forts. Yesterday during that walk in the woods, I started singing like Snow White in an effort to get a bird to land on my finger.
It didn’t work, btw.
Having kids is like a free pass to act like a kid. In the midst of adulthood and grown-up responsibility, acting silly and having fun is a welcome reprieve and a great way to bring balance back into your life.
12. They Bend the Rules a Little
Bending the rules is a little different from compromising.
When you compromise, you create a situation where both parties get a little bit of what they want.
When you bend the rules, you flip the situation on its head in order to achieve the result you are looking for.
For instance, after an exhausting day of, you know, being a mom, you may be tempted to forego a healthy and balanced meal and feed your child Goldfish crackers, sliced ham and a chunk of cheese.
Or maybe your child refuses to get into the tub on a Friday night unless the dog is allowed to accompany them.
Throw the dog in.
The one golden rule of motherhood I learned early on is:
If they are happy and healthy, you’re doing it right.
The rest is negotiable.
13. They Know Their Limits
Moms are notorious for doing too much. This is exactly what leads to burnout and exhaustion.
Playing within your limits starts with knowing what your limits are. This involves setting boundaries.
You don’t have to be a hard-ass bitch and say “no” to everyone and everything but, like I mentioned above, you also don’t have to be a “yes-mom”.
Having dealt with depression and anxiety (and still dealing with anxiety), I had to learn how much time and energy I could put out in the world in order to have enough left for myself and my daughter.
This meant saying “no” to people as well as cutting toxic people out of my life.
Setting boundaries in your life is one way to become a happy and balanced mom!
14. They Set Goals
Personal development guru Brian Tracy says, “Just as a wheel must be perfectly balanced to rotate smoothly, your life must be in balance as well for you to feel happy and effective.”
Which is what this whole article is about, right? But if you’re not directing that wheel at anything significant, there’s no point in keeping it turning.
Happy moms have goals because they find satisfaction in reaching them.
Goals not only help us achieve something, they help us determine what is important in our lives – because in order to set and reach a goal, you have to know why you’re doing it.
One of my goals, for example, is to lose weight. This is a common goal among moms.
But have you ever thought about why?
For me, I want to lose weight to be healthy and I want to like who I see in the mirror. It really has nothing to do with how the world perceives me.
I also want to model a healthy and active lifestyle for my daughter.
Whatever your goals are, think about why you want to achieve. This can be a highly motivating factor.
15. They Let Time Do Its Thing
I’m sure you’ve heard it before:
Enjoy the time you have with your children now because you’ll miss it later in life.
Or something like that.
What a stressful way to live, right? Trying to pay attention to every tiny moment, petrified that if you miss something you’ll live with that regret for the rest of your life?
Happy moms don’t live this way. They enjoy the present moment, relish past moments and excitedly look forward to the future.
They don’t worry about “missing moments” because they know more amazing moments are going to come along.
I used to fear the grief of watching my daughter grow up. I would look at her and think, “I don’t want you to change at all. I’m going to miss this person you are so much.”
And then I would cry.
But I began to realize that she is the same person through every stage of her development and every time she moves on to the next one, I love that stage of life more than the last.
Do I miss her infancy? Her first words? Her first steps?
Absolutely! But I excitedly look forward to the skills she will learn and the new heights she will reach.
16. They Live Without Shame
One of my most favorite human beings in the world, Brené Brown, began studying shame in women because of her experience as a mother.
She contributes this “mother-shame” to the rigid expectations of being a mother.
For some reason, we feel as if we have to conform to what other mothers are doing and, if we don’t, we are the odd one out and doing it “wrong”.
I’ve had many uncomfortable experiences in groups of moms because I was the odd duck. I didn’t care about my hair, my nails or my aesthetic in general. I didn’t have a fancy house, husband and nice car.
And you know what? I felt no shame.
I didn’t feel like I had to live up to the lifestyle these other moms chose to live. Instead, I jumped from mom group to mom group until I found one that I could vibe with.
Happy moms don’t change who they are – as a person or as a mother. They embrace their individuality with pride.
17. They Laugh A Lot
And then they pee themselves.
Honestly, though, they say that laughter is the best medicine and there is actually science to back that up.
Laughter has been proven to decrease stress, improve immune cells and triggers the release of endorphins – a.k.a. the “happy hormone”.
Moms are fortunate because, between ourselves and our children, we have a lot to laugh about.
Like the time my daughter exploded an entire bottle of baby powder all over the bathroom. All I could do was laugh because it looked like a scene from Scarface.
Or the time my daughter was recording a video downstairs while I was upstairs cleaning. Something fell on me and I let out a few expletives – which you can clearly hear in her video.
Crash. Bang. “Holy f**k! Ow!”
I lose it every time I watch that video.
18. They Cuddle and Snuggle
Omg, how could you not? You birthed tiny little cuddle monsters who were built for snuggles!
And the snuggles don’t have to stop as they grow older. I know mothers who still snuggle their adult children.
Snuggling, like laughing, is one of those activities that release endorphins and helps to reduce stress.
Happy mothers take all the cuddles and snuggles they can get!
19. They Accept “Good Enough”
Another lesson I learned from Brené Brown is to not chase perfection.
She has found that perfection has nothing to do with achieving excellence.
She says that perfection is “a way of thinking and feeling that says this: ‘If I look perfect, do it perfect, work perfect and live perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, blame and judgment.'”
However, that pursuit of perfectionism is simply a huge weight we carry that burdens us and weighs us down. In fact, trying to be perfect causes us more shame and self-blame.
So it’s okay to accept “good enough” as a mom. Doing something imperfectly is better than trying to do it perfectly and never getting it done.
20. They Practice Self Care
If you’ve perused this blog, you’ve probably realized by now that I am all about self care.
Self care isn’t just bubble baths and massages. It’s the time you take to do something for yourself that nurtures your soul.
This nurturing of the soul it sort of a catalyst for finding balance and happiness in your life. When you take care of yourself, it radiates into the rest of your life.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s impossible to take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself.
Check out these posts I’ve written about self care:
- 4 Ways to Prioritize Your Self Care During COVID-19 Isolation
- Your Winter Self Care Checklist
- 7 Secrets to Practicing Self Care When You Don’t Have the Time (Imperfectly Perfect Mama)
- 10 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself When You Don’t Have Time (Baby Gaga)
Happy moms know that self care is a necessity, not a luxury.
21. They Establish Routines
They can be the bane of any mom’s existence when they are thrown off-kilter, but having them does make life a whole lot easier.
The key to having a routine is not to rely to heavily on it. Life will get in the way and throw your day out of whack.
But routines are great in providing a general framework of how you expect your day to go – and they give your little ones the comfort of expectation.
My daughter and I have loose routines but we by no means schedule our day.
In the morning, we get up and have breakfast before doing school work (FYI, this is being written during the COVID-19 pandemic). Then, at bedtime, we do calming activities before turning in for the night.
The rest of the day is a free-for-all.
Even with such a flexible routine, we know what to expect every morning and every evening. It’s great to start and end the day with no surprises.
So happy moms have routines but they don’t get hung up on them.
22. They Practice Gratitude
Did you know that practising gratitude improves your mental health?
Gratitude reduces toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration and regret. It can also effectively increase happiness and reduce depression
Despite our struggles as moms, we do have a lot to be thankful for.
And practising gratitude is super easy. Try these simple gratitude exercises:
- Write down something you are grateful for.
- Perform an act of kindness.
- Write a Thank You card to a loved one.
- Call someone you love and tell them you love them.
- Share something you are grateful for with your family.
Experts will tell you to practice gratitude everyday – but who has time for that? As long as you make gratitude a part of life, you will reap the benefits.
23. They Move Their Bodies
Apparently, from what I’ve heard.
I’m not one for physical activity. As I mentioned before, I am completely content to stay inside all day and exercise my brain more than my body.
However, I am not impervious to the benefits of physical movements – and happy mothers aren’t either.
I’m not saying you have to hit the gym on the regular to be happy. You just need to keep your body moving, whether you decide to walk, dance or try some yoga.
I wear a FitBit and I love the sense of pride I feel when I put in 1500 steps just doing housework.
I know that, even if I’m not breaking a sweat, I am contributing to my overall health by moving.
And I don’t even need to get into the scientific details of how movement and exercise benefit your entire being.
So don’t worry about how you move – as long as you get moving!
24. They Embrace Failure
There is a huge difference between failing and being a failure. Moms, on the regular, fail. But we are not failures.
Failing means making a mistake, learning from it and forgiving ourselves for it.
All moms make mistakes, even the ones that have the seemingly “perfect” mom lives.
I know this makes it sound like we all suck at parenting but, the truth is, as long as our children are taken care of emotionally and physically, then we are doing alright.
So instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes, use them to learn and grow as a parent.
25. They Find Joy in Motherhood
By default, motherhood is not a struggle. At least, it shouldn’t be.
Yet so many mothers feel defeated by the pains of motherhood and lament this role in their lives.
Which is sad, because motherhood should be a wonderful and fulfilling experience.
I mean, think about it, you created this tiny human and GREW THEM IN YOUR BODY! After that, you pushed them out through a hole that has no business having humans pushed out of it.
Then you kept this tiny thing alive long enough for it to learn how to walk and talk and develop its own personality.
That is really something to be proud of.
More than anything, happy and balanced moms allow themselves love motherhood.
If You Made This Far, Congratulations!
Both in your journey through motherhood and having reached the end of this article!
There is happiness and balance to be found in motherhood. It doesn’t have to be hard.
Hopefully you can pick up some of these habits and begin to really enjoy the heck out of motherhood.
Your turn! What habits do you have that make your life happier and more balanced? Please share!