Motherhood is one of the most joyous jobs in the world! There is nothing more satisfying than watching your children growup into successful, happy people.
But even though parenting is a rewarding and satisfying experience, that doesn't mean motherhood isn't messy and chaotic at times. If a mother doesn't make an effort for self-care and personal time, she can go through a season where she feels as if she has lost all her energy, identity, and joy!
Joy is not a euphoric feeling that happens to us when everything is going our way. Joy is actually a choice we make in our conscious mind, and it's something we mothers have to constantly protect and fight for.
It's easy for mothers to lose focus and allow bad habits to creep in during the chaotic seasons of life. But some self-reflection and the determination to change can miraculously fix these feelings of joylessness! Here are seven ways to re-find your joy in motherhood!
1. Don’t Compare
It's so easy to say, "Don't compare yourself," and yet so hard to do it. In our society, it's common practice to compare without even knowing it! Social media has fostered a "compare culture," where you focus on what others have and feel guilt or shame for how lacking your life seems.
But the truth is, only half of what is posted is actually true and it’s statistically impossible for everything you see to be perfect. To compare yourself with the illusion of perfection will never bring you joy. If you are stuck in a joyless rut, take a serious look at how you view those on your social media and those around you. Is it healthy or is it a toxic view?
Embracing your life will all its imperfections and celebrating the beautiful moments is a great alternative to comparison!
2. Ignore The Need To Look Perfect
While we should always strive to be the best version of ourselves and to "put our best foot forward," it’s okay to accept our flaws and embrace them. It's okay to be real. Perfection is only an idea sold to us by magazines and media and it has never been known to bring anyone happiness. While there is always room to grow and improve, it's also important to let go of the urge to look perfect for social media or your neighbors. Try practicing looking like yourself (which takes less energy).
You will experience more joy when your energy isn't being wasted on fantasy.
3. Don’t Chase Money
Money is good. Money puts food on the table. Money buys clothes and gets the kids to school. It gets your nails done and buys nice things for the house. However, one of the biggest reasons we lose our joy is when we lose sight of the healthy relationship with should have with money. If you are consumed with working just for the sake of having more money, this might be the place that took your joy away!
It’s okay to live within or even under your means so you can be a more involved parent or to make more time for yourself. Children will make you happy. Memories will make you happy. Activities with those you love will make you happy. But chasing dollars can’t replace love or memories you get to experience with those you love!
4. Worry Wort
Worrying excessively won’t keep your children or you safer. In fact, it teaches them to live in fear and it steals your joy and theirs. Instead, try living in faith. Let go of what you can’t control and make the most of this very moment. Release the tension from your body, take a deep breath, and focus. Be mindful of the smile on your child's face, take time to smell the roses, enjoy the way your family cuddles together in the evenings. These things need our energy.
The best way to combat worry is with gratitude and thanksgiving. When you catch yourself worrying, take time to find five things you are deeply grateful for and focus on those instead.
5. Saying "Yes" Too Often.
Are you a mom who feels the need to say "yes" every time someone asks you to join an activity or event? One of the fastest ways to regain your joy is to start saying "no." It won't make you a "bad guy," but it will make you a person who practices healthy boundaries!
Ask yourself, "Do I have time leftover for myself?" If the answer is "no," then it's time to reel your time back in. It’s okay to politely say no to people or events. It's okay to cut down some of the kids' activities, too. Saying "no" when your time is stretched thin makes you good mom! You will find some much-needed space to recalibrate. When you are happy and rested you are a better mom, so don't feel the need to say "yes" when you know you need to say "no." If you control your time, joy will find you!
PSA: "no" is a full sentence.
6. Unhealthy Self-Sacrifice
If you had to describe “parenting” in one word, that word would probably be “sacrifice.” But just because you make sacrifices does not mean you ARE the sacrifice on the altar to your family. Take time to set boundaries with your children. For example, if your children are old enough, include them in your daily chores. Don't do them all yourself. Even toddlers can pick up their own toys and bigger kids can help unload the dishwasher, feed the pet, or make a bed. It's perfectly okay to include your family to help carry the burden of running the household! And the plus side is that you will get a mini-break while they will learn valuable life skills! Burnout is a sure way to kill joy, so try to avoid it by not needlessly sacrificing yourself.
7. Know Your Identity
Another reason mothers go through a “joyless” phase is because they feel they have “lost” their identity. It’s okay, don't panic! You are not really lost, you are just buried deep within yourself (and under mounds of laundry!) It’s easy to forget who you are in the chaos of parenting, but for your mental health, it’s vital that you “refind” yourself.
Think about all the things you loved to do before having kids or consider things you would like to do now...and then make time to pursue them. One mom used to run marathons before she had a family. It wasn’t until after her second child that she decided to fight her identity crisis with running. She experienced joy, freedom, and her old sense of self! A simple thing as running reminded her that there was more to her identity than just cleaning up after two little humans. This new energy even inspired her to tart her own, highly successful company! Running brought her so much joy and she was then able to share that joy with her family, community, and busines!
Finding yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or include time-consuming activities. It can be simple. For example, one mom loves staying up late after her babies go to bed to crochet while watching foreign films. There are endless hobbies you can enjoy, but the biggest struggle is to make the time for yourself to do them.
At the end of the day, a mom who never makes sacrifices for herself is not healthy and she can’t give her children her best. Its okay to find things that make you happy and do them! Your kids and family deserve your best version of you!