When you become a parent, you change in so many ways. Physically, emotionally, and mentally. Things aren’t going to be the way they were before. And though there are many joys of parenting, challenges are going to come up along the way and you might experience some low moments where you don’t feel your best. Don’t worry mama, we’ve all been there.
You’re juggling everything else you have on your plate, such as working, cleaning, feeding, shopping – all on top of parenting. There’s a lot to keep track of, and you have a constant to-do list that never reaches the end.
It’s not reasonable to expect anyone to be happy all the time. It’s not that simple. But, there are ways to become a happier parent. Today, I’m sharing some advice with you on how you can become a happier parent, while raising your children in a happy home. ( I also have some tips specifically for moms, HERE. )
How To Be A Happy Parent
Take time to do things you enjoy.
Before you became a parent, what were the things you enjoyed? Did you love picking up a book, taking long baths, painting, tending to your garden, having brunch with your friends, or was it something else? Are you still doing those things that brought you happiness or have they gone to the wayside?
While you’re not able to dedicate the same time to those activities now that you’re a parent, you can always take 30 minutes to do something just for you when time allows. Having your own hobbies is a great stress reliever, and it’s definitely worth prioritizing.
Let go of perfectionism.
You’ve heard it before I’m sure, but ‘perfect’ does not exist. It’s unattainable. Do your best, make mistakes and learn from them. Laugh in embarrassing moments and when something goes wrong, keep moving forward. I think life is a lot easier when you try to not sweat the small stuff and just do your best day-to-day.
As a parent, you will likely mess up here and there. That’s ok. Just learn from it and prepare yourself for the days ahead.
Another piece of advice I have is to be spontaneous by doing something you don’t typically do. Think about doing things at the spur of the moment. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy or something that will just stress you out more, just think of something fun that you know you and your family will love.
Our lives are so often riddled with deadlines to meet, errands to run, appointments, parent-teacher conferences, and so much more that it gets overwhelming. Sometimes, it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day, and we forget to relax for a bit.
Maybe you decide to change it up and have breakfast for dinner. When it’s your child’s bedtime, maybe go out for some ice cream when everyone’s already in their PJs. Consider having a nighttime picnic one night where you just spend time together as a family. Really, the options are endless so don’t be afraid to let your spontaneity lead the way from time to time.
Plan meals in advance.
Between running errands, picking up your kids at school, and taking them to extracurricular activities, figuring out what’s for dinner can be a hassle. It’s definitely something you might dread if you don’t love to cook.
On Sunday, think about the meals you are going to have during the week, and what you can prepare in advance. Maybe on Sunday you take some time to prepare your kids lunches they’ll take to school with them. Meal prepping save parents hours of time throughout the week, time that can then be spent relaxing with the family, or cashing in on some me-time.
Be present with your kids.
If your kids are sharing the events of their day with you or showing other interest in spending time with you, put the screens away or turn the television off, and just talk with them. It’s incredibly easy to become distracted by social media, the television, work emails, and so much more.
As a mom of four, I feel like my time is so much more limited. These days, I try to make it a priority to take care of myself. Whether it’s taking the time to pick up a book, get in some exercise, write, or whatever it is for you.
Practicing self-care can help your mental, physical, and emotional health, and it’s something we all need to be at our best.
Set clear boundaries.
I believe that tip number one for being a happier parent is setting clear boundaries in the home. Try and make sure that everyone in your household knows what’s expected of them and what the boundaries are.
Some of these expectations might be about who does which chores, screen time hours, etc. Having a list of rules or expectations clearly defined helps with establishing and enforcing a routine and avoiding pure chaos.
Being kind is a guiding principle that we all should live by. As you have probably heard before, be kind to yourself and everyone around you. By showing your kids what kindness looks like, you also model good behavior they’ll pick up on and are likely to practice themselves.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
It’s really easy to say yes. You might find yourself always saying yes to a volunteering opportunity, or signing your child up for another activity. Or, it could be as simple as always saying yes to baking cookies for your child’s class. It can be any number of things. But when you have a thousand things you’re juggling, remember that you are allowed to say no.
Keep your house organized.
Spring is fast approaching, and with that some of us find ourselves getting into that spring cleaning mode. Keeping your house clean and organized is an amazing way to reduce stress. You’re happier in your space and thus, happier as a parent. For some, waking up in a messy house can set the tone for the rest of the day, and not exactly the tone you might want.
With kids in the home, one of the biggest obstacles I face is keeping all the toys neat and tidy. Thankfully, I have found good toy storage solutions that can reduce the time you spend straightening things up.
Don’t compare yourself to other parents.
If someone looks like they are perfectly put together and have everything figured out, they don’t. It’s an illusion. I’ve said this before, but comparison is the thief of joy.
It’s not too difficult to put on a facade. In this day and age, you can view some forms of social media as a highlight reel. People show their best moments, or the highlights, but don’t show the moments where things are tough and everything has gone wrong. The parts I like to call the bloopers.
We are all in the same boat of trying to figure things out as they come. Comparing yourself to others or Comparing yourself to others can be harmful and you might start feeling like you aren’t doing enough as a parent. Remember that you are doing your best. You are making things work. That is enough. There’s no good reason to compare yourself to impossible-to-reach standards.
Ask for help.
We all need a little bit of help here and there. Don’t be afraid to ask and lean on others when it’s needed. If you and your spouse need a break and want to have a date night, ask your parents to watch your children for a couple of hours if they’re willing, able, and close by.
If you’re struggling with keeping the house clean, hire a housekeeper to come by during the week if you can afford it. And if you’re having trouble with lawn care, hire someone to take the load off of you.
Sometimes we try to do everything ourselves to the point where we’ve taken on too much. We all have a limit on what we can handle before we reach our respective breaking points. It’s never wrong to ask for (or pay for) a helping hand when you need it.
Communicate with your spouse.
If you’ve had a rough day, tell your spouse about it. Communicate about how you are feeling. Tell them that things have been a bit hectic and you need a break. They’ll hopefully encourage you to take some time to yourself to do something you enjoy.
You have a life outside of your kids. Just because you’re a mom, that doesn’t mean you should neglect spending some time with close friends or doing activities you enjoy.
Look at the big picture.
Like they always say, don’t sweat the small stuff. But, we all know that this is easier said than done. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, frustrated, etc., take a step back and remember your long-term goals. Think about who you want your kids to become and what kind of parent you want to be to them.
While there are moments where you need to stand your ground, there is also a time and place for when you need to let things go. Know when a battle is worth fighting. Find the teachable moments, give yourself grace, and enjoy the small moments that can become long-lasting memories.
Tell me your thoughts on parenting below.
I hope this advice helps you with your parenting journey as you try to be the best parent you can be. Reach out to me on Instagram @mommydiary or leave a comment with your advice or tips about being a happier parent. For more on all things related to mom-life, home, and lifestyle, explore the blog and check out my podcast where we have honest conversations about motherhood.