Have you ever noticed how some Moms seem to be very contented and confident in their role as Mothers, and others seem chronically stressed and approaching burnout? Why are some Moms unflappable and able to keep their sense of humor, while others overreact to the slightest stressors in their day?
I’m currently observing and interviewing these happy Moms as I conduct research for an upcoming book. While all Moms are different, these women usually have several of the following traits in common.
1) They keep it simple.
I know one Mom who grocery shops every two weeks and buys the exact same thing every time to prepare the same menu of 14 dinners. Why does she do this? She’s picked the family’s favorite meals for her menu to save herself time and arguments at the dinner table. Anyone with kids knows they like to eat the same things over and over! This Mom has decided not to reinvent the wheel twice a month. This is just one example of keeping it simple.
2) They teach their kids to be independent.
This doesn’t mean they leave them to their own devices all day. But a smart Mom knows that a 2 year old can put a dish in the dishwasher, a 4 year old can prepare his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a 7 year old can sweep a floor (albeit imperfectly!). Call it “outsourcing” for Moms.
3) They drop the SuperMom complex.
Not sweating the small stuff seems to be a common trait of happy Moms. They learn to pick their battles. Getting buckled into a car seat? Not negotiable. Pink paisley pants with the orange plaid shirt? Fashion creativity.
Happy Moms also realize that being an awesome Mom doesn’t mean being a perfect Mom. ‘Nuff said.
4) They can often be overheard repeating the phrase “This too shall pass”.
It doesn’t mean that bothersome behavior in kids should be overlooked, for discipline is a huge time saver in the end. It means that Moms realize that children are…well, uncivilized creatures, and that much uncivilized behavior will simply go away on its own as the child matures. Smart Moms are also keenly aware of their child’s development and don’t expect more of them than they are able to give.
5) Smart Moms take care of themselves.
They don’t blame the baby for their extra weight when the baby in question is potty trained! They put emphasis on good nutrition, avoiding too much by way of stimulants (caffeine, sugar), they get adequate rest, and daily exercise. They realize that you can’t pour from an empty bucket.
6) They live in the moment.
Happy Moms realize that the days are long but the years short. It’s not that they are impervious to stress, it’s that they have learned to lower their expectations and be in the moment when things get difficult. When your toddler is puking all over the house, this is not the time to reorganize the hall closet. A sick day then turns into a time to create sweet memories of hours spent reading and cuddling on the couch.
7) They don’t worry about what others think.
Whether it’s the disapproving glare from the old lady in the checkout line, the Mother in law who is convinced you’re starving the baby by breastfeeding, or the Pediatrician whose medical advice strays into parenting advice, happy Moms learn not to give too much weight to the opinions of those who don’t live in their home.
8) In other words, they trust their instincts.
Whether it’s taking the baby to bed with them so they can get more sleep or taking a bullied child out of public school, smart Moms know that they are the expert of their own babies.
9) Happy Moms have “something else”
It may be a part time home based business or a hobby like belly dancing. These Moms know that some day their babies will fly the coop, and they make sure they have a passion that will give them purpose when that happens.