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5 Habits of Happy Moms
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Moms have their fair share of ups and downs. And while no parent is perfect, we all know a mom who is just plain happy. What allows them to navigate the mothering waters with buoyancy and ease? I offer five habits of the happy mom. - photo by Lyndsi Frandsen
Moms have their fair share of ups and downs. And while no parent is perfect, we all know a mom who is just plain happy. You know the type. Her child spills grape juice on the white carpet no tears. Her best mommy efforts fail royally; she laughs it off with ease.

I often find myself studying these moms with both respect and curiosity. What sets them apart? What allows them to navigate the mothering waters with buoyancy and ease? After careful consideration, I offer five habits of the happy mom.

1. Happy moms have a routine

I have yet to meet a mom who claims inconsistency is the way to get things done. While the word routine isnt always a scheduling reality, those days where systems and schedules are in place seem to help everyone. Awhile back, I was visiting a friend at her home. She has three children and works part time. When I arrived, I couldnt help but notice the monstrous pile of laundry that was taking up her entire couch. (Should I mention it was a sectional?)

Normally, her house always appeared to be in decent order, yet she didnt seem at all phased by the looming laundry pile. She played with her children while we talked and got caught up. It wasnt until her children went down for naps, that I realized why the laundry was not causing her stress. Once she knew her children were settled, she sat down and got right to work folding pile after pile. It was her routine, a habit even, to accomplish tasks that seem somewhat daunting (and nearly impossible with a 1-year-old hanging on your leg) during her down time.

While the idea of being productive during nap time is not a new one, I walked away with an appreciation for her happy attitude. She didnt feel anxious about having every chore complete before she was able to feel happy and turn her attention on her children. She knew that her routine would make it possible for those things to still get accomplished.

2. Happy moms see the big picture

See the big picture. This clich phrase is ever-always easier said than done. But its a mantra happy moms embrace whole-heartedly the goal to not sweat the small stuff.

Pulling all the toilet paper off a new roll may not seem like something small at the time, but happy moms make an effort to step back and enjoy watching the small moments that will be gone all too soon.

Last week, I met up with a friend for a park play date. With the six children between us, we played the role of human teeter-totter. Lets just say: the odds were not in our favor. When it came time to leave, we managed to wrangle almost all of them into their car seats, except one. I turned around just in time to see my free-spirited 3-year-old, 100 yards away, frantically chasing the seagulls that were clearly enjoying the leftovers from her Happy Meal she was willingly flinging into the air.

I was tired, hot and everyone was overdue for a nap (mom, included). My gut reaction was to snap at her for not following my directions to get in the car. But before I could react, she let out the highest, happiest squeal that only could be described as pure joy and begged me to watch her chase the gooses! It was a very simple experience, but it left me wondering what other happy moments I had failed to see due to my lack of big picture perspective.

3. Happy moms plan ahead

The days I wake up and ask myself all morning what should we do today? are the days that we usually just end up just sitting around. Dont get me wrong; those days are nice every now and again. Its a simple truth: I am happiest when my children are happy and having fun with me. Planning ahead, even if its simply planning a picnic in the backyard or baking cookies, allows for the most important activity to take place, making sweet memories to tuck away and cherish.

4. Happy moms put themselves in time out

The happiest moms I know all have one thing in common: They all take time to focus on themselves and recognize when a mommy time out needs to take place. One mom I know has a designated quiet time for her child who has long outgrown a nap. Her reasoning? She needs her quiet time, even if its just 20 minutes. The moments we feel the most burned out seem to be the days that we have not been alone (not limited to a simple bathroom break). Give yourself a time out. You surely wont be the only one who appreciates a rejuvenated mommy.

5. Happy moms see the unhappy mom

They see them because they have been them. We all are riding the mommy roller coaster that comes with high highs and low lows. In those moments that you are facing those giant hills with your arms above your head and a smile on your face, take the time to see those moms who may not be feeling as confident, and offer her your hand.

You might know they need a time out and offer to take her children for an hour. Maybe you offer some perspective and help her laugh off the applesauce-covered floor. Or maybe you just offer a quick hug to let her know shes not alone. No matter how you offer support to the unhappy moms, it wont go unnoticed. At the very least, it will be an opportunity to pay it forward for all the times you have been (or will be) the unhappy mom, and been grateful for the happy ones who noticed you.