There's no doubt that as moms, we absolutely adore our kids. There is no limit to the love that we have for them. But it's easy to lose track of the joy of being a mother, especially when we're so busy running errands, cleaning, working and taking care of everybody else's needs but our own. Here are a few tips that have helped me find more joy in motherhood.
Try to take a step back and just watch. Stop cleaning. Stop trying to control everything. Stop staring at the calendar on the fridge full of activities and just observe. Watch how your children talk to each other. Listen to them when they're playing make-believe and notice how much closer they're getting to being adults one day. Slow down and take it in, even if it's just for five minutes.
2. Get Away
The expression "absence makes the heart grow fonder," is around for a reason. If you're able to take a day, an evening, a weekend or even longer - do it. We need it for our sanity, but more than that, your heart will explode with joy when you see your child again. My husband and I were lucky enough to be invited to a wedding in Miami recently and decided to go without our son. I had a wonderful time away, but a part of my heart was missing until I saw my son again a few days later. When I'm going about our daily routine, I tend to forget just how special he is, and how lucky I am to be his mama. Our trip reminded me of that!
Try to remember what made you decide to have children in the first place - sounds pretty basic, but we often don't think about it. Remember how you felt the first time you held your baby. Remember how you feel when your child wraps their arms around your neck and tells you they love you. Look at photos and simply remember.
Don't just play with your children, play like a child. This means climb the jungle gym even if you're embarrassed. Swing from the monkey bars even if it hurts your hands. Show your children what having fun means to you. Having a good time and playing together with your child is something you'll both remember for the rest of your lives.
5. Live In The Moment
As much as possible, try to live in the now rather than worrying too much about the future or the past. Try to appreciate the crazy ins and outs of your daily life without resentment and with your whole heart.
Practice being grateful for what you have. Maybe you are grateful for your child's health, your own health, a roof over your heads, happiness at being together, being able to laugh and giggle and tickle each other. I'm grateful every day that I'm able to do the things I do with my son.
Practice quiet time where your child is not allowed to use you as entertainment, and you are not allowed to do anything other than sitting and enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet together. You may need to call it the "Quiet Game" depending on your child's age, but hey, whatever works!
Find time to be alone or with your friends, or you can spend time doing what you want to do. Your batteries will feel recharged. I guarantee it.
9. Find Support
It's OK to feel overwhelmed with being a mom, and it's OK to talk about it. Try to spend time with people who you feel comfortable talking about your feelings with such as your family, partner or friends.
10. Unstructured Time
Scheduling unstructured time into your day sounds like an oxymoron but it's important. Maybe you'll walk to the park, build a fort, bake a batch of cookies, or just giggle and laugh and tell silly jokes. Spur of the moment fun is often the best kind of fun.
11. Find Happiness
Seek out small things through the day that make you happy. For myself, nothing makes my morning more pleasant than a hot, strong cup of coffee and snuggling on the couch to read one of my son's favorite books together. When I check on my son at night before I head off to bed, I always smell his hair and my heart swells. These are just tiny things that I do but always make me so happy.
It's no secret that being a mom is hard work. But with hard work comes incredible rewards like being able to watch your children grow into amazing human beings. Can there be anything more joyful than that?
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Our Family World. It has been republished here with permission.