10 steps to a happier mama

The best thing you can do for your children is to take care of their mama. You know the old adage, If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. And this is so true.

10 steps to a happier mama -- http://TheStressedMom.com

And even thought that saying is cute and funny, there is a much deeper side to this. Women will push themselves way more than they should, taking care of everyone else, many times at the detriment to their own physical and mental health.

 I encourage you to start implementing some of these steps right away!

10 things to help keep mama happy

1. Turn your laptop/TV/smartphone off at least 30 minutes earlier than normal. Use the time to unwind and get in bed earlier. Work up to shutting down an hour earlier.

2. Wake up before the rest of your family if at all possible. Get up, get a shower, get all ready for work, if you leave the house. If not, be sure to get dressed and fix your hair a bit. The little bit of quiet time will help set the stage for the day, and will help you start out AHEAD of the game instead of running to catch up all day long!

3. Eat breakfast. Make sure it is full of protein and complex carbohydrates. These will get you going for the day!

4. If you are a busy mom, things like plucking eyebrows, taking care of your hands and feet, lotion on your legs, etc, those things can just fall by the wayside if you are not careful. Tie doing these things to a weekly activity, such as Saturday night (before church on Sunday) or during a certain weekly TV show, just as a trigger to help you remember to do these things for yourself.

5. Teach your kids to play alone. I am sure you want to spend quality time with your children. But it is also just as important to teach them to entertain themselves (or each other) and to play alone. They shouldn’t need to have someone entertain them at all times (including the TV!) By teaching them to play alone, you will give yourself small pockets of time to do the things you need to do, and be able to work uninterrupted, for oh, at least 15 minutes at a time, lol!

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6. Teach your children that a family is a team. Dinnertime requires teamwork. Keeping the house up requires teamwork. Laundry requires teamwork. It IS NOT mama’s job to do it all! When you are fixing dinner, learn to include them at an early age. Teach them that dinner is not over until the table is cleared and the dishes are running and the floor is swept. While they are younger it may seem quicker to just do it all yourself, but they will quickly learn to be useful and not just be under foot. And as time goes on, they can help to greatly reduce your workload, if you will allow it.

7. Learn to ask for help. Whether it is from your spouse, your older children, or your mother. Or maybe your sister, brother, your neighbor, your church, whoever, learn to ask for help. Whether you need your husband to take over bathtime, or you need your neighbor to watch your child after school one day a week, or you need to get some serious help because you feel like you are sinking, ASK FOR IT. Make your needs known. It is not selfish. Self-care IS NOT selfish.

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8. Don’t cater to your child’s every whim. Your job as a parent is not to keep your children happy. It is to raise well-rounded, mature responsible adults. That is NOT what you will get if you cater to their whims. And while it may be fun and cute when they are smaller, it is not so cute when they become teenagers who are demanding and feel entitled to the world.

9. Take time for yourself on a regular basis. Take 10 minute mini-breaks once a day. Take a lunch or coffee time just for yourself once a week. Get away once a month, by yourself or with your best girlfriends for an evening out. These times will not happen unless YOU make them happen. They are not really an option, they are a necessity, YOU NEED TO HAVE A BREAK.

10. Not only do you need a break for YOU, you need to schedule some time with your spouse. Whether it is a bowl of ice cream after the kids are in bed, snuggled up on the couch or a weekend away, you have to make it happen. A healthy marriage will take ongoing commitment to making each other a priority. It is more difficult when your children are younger, and during that time it may only be a dinner out once or twice a month, but make it happen!

Do you regularly do something to take care of YOU?

What can you start doing today to make some changes?

This post is linked up to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday!

21 comments to 10 steps to a happier mama

  • s

    I see myself in each of these no-no’s and I am exhausted as a result, raising a tween and a teen. After summer vacation with no travel, and intermittent overnight camp for each child, I still didn’t make time for my mental health. So in the past few days, I’ve been bathing in lavender, meditating, doing light yoga and eating lots of yogurt and ginger to fine tune my digestive system, which is currently a mess. Just beginning school to finally finish the degree I’ve been putting off has me in continual anxiety, so I am doing everything I can to stay in THIS moment instead of worrying I’ll fail or something as drastic. It feels like a real slip this time but I know I’ll ride it out and finally come out on the other side of it. For now, my energy levels are at their lowest and the timing couldn’t be worse, but I guess this is my body’s way of telling me to slow it down to a snail pace and count my blessings. I love your site!

  • Dominika

    I have a 13 month old and he is my world. He’s great at playing along for about 30 minutes at a time, he’s very good at expressing himself with words like “up” “cracker” “water” or walking over to his high chair and pointing to it and saying “nom”, he even says “nap” and points upstairs when he wants to go to bed. he naps usually once, for 3 hours. I get all the housework done, i shower, go online, and even have a coffee and sit outside for a while. I make dinner, my husband comes home, he plays with our son until dinner is ready, then we go to the park, we get home, i make my husbands lunch, we put our some to bed around 7:15, and we snuggle on the couch, do yardwork, I’ll knit, or sit outside until bed time.. Perfect life right? Right. There’s just one thing. I start work next week. I have NO idea what to do, how to do it, or where my time is going to go. I work 7am-4pm.. dayhome is 20 minutes from home and 10 from work… I also work some evenings and weekends… I’m very worried. I’m thinking crockpot dinner and living in a pig’s pen is my destiny. Any suggestions??

    • Melissa

      It’s all going to be ok! Virtual hugs to you!

      I would use some of your commute time as bonding time with you and your son. Sing songs, point out things along the drive, and give your son pictures books to look at.

      Have everything ready to go the night before. Much easier if your clothes, his clothes and everything you need for the day are all ready to go. Less hectic mornings.

      Start making a list now of dinners and start menu planning. Can you do something ahead of time on the weekend? Make it easier on yourself and don’t knock the crockpot. It truly can be your best friend.

      I bet it will go better than you think it will. Good luck!!!!

  • All very good points! For me, I really need a good night’s sleep. Not only is it better for my body but it enables me to then get up early so I don’t have a 2yo waking me up!

  • Barbara

    Absolutely every parent should read number eight over and over again, Please !!! the rest is good advice too =}

  • Every mama needs to take care of themselves once and a while. I need to shut down/unplug earlier. I always work way too late and then race off to bed.

  • Hey! Thanks for joining the Planet Weidknecht Weekend Hop! Damn good post!!!!

  • traci

    I was wanting to know if anyone had any good advice about raising boys….I have 2,one is 11&the other is 6,and they fight almost constantly!!I pretty much raise them myself my husband is out of town alot…have tried spanking,letting them just fight it out thinking eventually they would stop,(didn’t work at all,and I didn’t want them to think that was the right way to handle things)have tried grounding and talking to them…if anyone (who has children or has already raised theirs)has some good advice,pls let me know!!im at my wits end and feel like im the only one who deals with this(although I know better!!)thanks 🙂

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  • Couldn’t have said it better myself! Great list and I agree with it hardily!

  • My favorite tips here involved the importance of your kids knowing how to play by themselves and how to help around the house to the level of their ability. It’s also nice to know that it’s not wrong to take a break and that I don’t need to play actively with my child every moment to be a good parent. I only have one little one though so the tough thing is that my daughter doesn’t have anyone else to play with!

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  • Pam

    Great advice for a generation of guilty parents! We think we need to give our kids everything WE didn’t have and it is creating spoiled brats! Our number one job as moms is to raise independent, self-thinking adults, and we aren’t going to do it by catering to their every need. Bravo on a well appointed topic.

  • brittany

    This post makes me NEVER want kids. Sounds totally miserable.

    • It’s not totally miserable, but it can be totally exhausting if you try to be a super hero and don’t make time for yourself.

      Toddlers are pretty funny though. It’s worth it.

  • You said it, Bernice!

  • Ok, so I think I am totally in love with you and your blog. After reading through several posts, I feel better and am inspired!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you…

  • I LOVE this post! I have a new section on meandbabye.com called five minutes for mom, with the goal of sharing how you CAN in fact have time for yourself, in small segments, and feel taken care of. We honor what we prioritize. If we don’t put a priority on us in some way each day resentment brews and nothing that follows that is good. Love the message and so many good ideas!