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 --

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!