Six Traits of Happy Moms
I like to think I’m pretty happy. Well, most of the time.
But sometimes I get tired and stressed and frazzled and frustrated and resentful and tired (did I say that twice?). I know, I am entitled to feel these emotions. I mean I have three busy kids, a husband with a big career, and my own blogging empire I’m trying to build. Of course I should be stressed sometimes, right?
As women, we have more opportunities than ever before, so why are we so bummed? Why do we spend all our time complaining about how tough our lives are, while others go out and live it?
What about those moms that just seem happy and content — all of the time? What is their secret? How do they keep it together when the rest of us are moaning about car pools, ballet recitals and science fair projects? How do they not get sucked in to the vortex of complaints about just how hard it is to be a mom.
I started thinking about some of the happiest moms I know, and five came to mind. After assessing my list, I realized they were a diverse lot: a full-time executive in the financial industry, a teacher, a home-schooling military wife, a part-time pharmacist and a regular stay at home mother.
Despite the fact that their approach to their careers, parenting roles and family dynamics were all different (one mom has four kids, another two, etc.), they are all happy. Or dare I say happily satisfied with their lives.
What does this group have in common?
+ They are appreciative. On my recent girls trip I was discussing my good friend’s potential relocation due to her husband’s new military assignment. “That sucks that you have no control over where you are going,” I said sympathetically.
“That’s okay,” she said in her upbeat way. “I have three healthy kids and I don’t have cancer. Wherever we land, we land!”
She was not being glib or trite. She was recognizing that although her whole life was about to be uprooted, she knew she had a lot to be thankful for…what I often call an attitude of gratitude.
People often think happiness is about what you achieve or possess, but one of the keys to being happy is being satisfied and appreciative with what you already have.
+ They are confident. None of these moms live vicariously through their children, or get their self-worth because of their kids’ successes (or failures). They also don’t look to others — spouses, friends or co-workers — for affirmation. These content mothers are confident with who they are and how they parent.
And more importantly, they like themselves. When you are happy with yourself, you believe that others will like you as well. This eliminates a lot of the insecurities that breed with us moms, and what causes most of the drama.
The cherry on top of their happiness sundae: when you feel confident, you don’t feel guilt (or at least not as much.) And nothing is a happiness sucker like guilt.
+ They have their own passions. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, a sure path to unhappiness, bitterness and resentment is to lose who you are in your children (see my article on how I got my Stay at Home Happy.) Each of my happy friends have outside hobbies and interests that they pursue with zeal. Running, traveling, book clubs, music/concerts, faith groups and fundraising are just some of the things that occupy their time when they are not being great mommies. Sometimes they share their passions with their families, but sometimes they save it just for themselves. I think that is awesome.
+ They invest in their karma. I’m not sure if all my friends believe in karma, but they all certainly have a lot of it. I think it’s because they are all givers. For example, one of my best friends — who is among the happiest people I know — also likes to gamble (responsibly) sometimes. I can’t blame her, as she wins way more than she loses. One particular Tuesday she had some free time, so she hit the casino for a few hours to play some games that I don’t understand. After being up — nearly $600 – she decided to call it a day. What did she do? She bought the table a round of drinks, tipped the dealer, gave $400 to charity and put $100 away for a night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was a great day for her and for everyone around her.