5 Tips for Finding More Joy In Motherhood In the New Year
Are you looking to find more joy in motherhood this year? Try these 5 achievable tips.
It’s a well-known fact that most New Year’s resolutions fail. Often resolutions are unreasonable, too grand, and unsustainable. As a mom, there’s even more working against you - interrupted sleep, unpredictable schedules, and a never-ending mess to clean up. But creating a goal and following through IS possible, even for the busiest moms. Creating a sustainable habit is essential (here are some great ways to do that), but choosing the right goals also matters.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to start, here are some mom-doable resolutions to consider:
1. Put yourself on the calendar
This can be the hardest thing for moms. I’m not saying to do this to the detriment of your family, but there are little things that you can do for yourself every day that will go a long way. For each of us, it may be different. Maybe it’s getting up a little early to have a cup of coffee and read a book in silence. Maybe it’s communicating to your husband or partner that you need a couple of days a week to sleep in. Maybe it’s being able to take a long, uninterrupted shower. The point is that we’re checking in with ourselves and being honest about our needs.
We all have the bare minimum non-negotiables that sometimes become negotiable without us noticing. January is a great time to reconsider our needs, communicate them to our family and make time for them on the calendar.
2. Take a break from social media
In 2022, the average American spent 2 hours and 30 minutes on social media a day. It’s nice to have your phone nearby to snap pictures of your kids, but it’s also way too easy to drift into social media land and miss moments with your family. If you’re like me, your thumb seems to automatically open up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok without your conscious consent, and then down the rabbit-hole you go.
If you’re feeling like you never have time for that thing you’ve always wanted to do (read a book, organize the closet, get in a workout, create a photo album from the million pictures you have of your kids), pausing on social media will open up a ton of time for you.
There are a couple of practical ways to do this. You can delete the app from your phone, move the app to a different place so you don’t blindly open it automatically, or use one of these Social Media Blocker apps.
3. Do something just for fun
Children have no problem with this. If we could see through their eyes, we’d realize that there’s fun at every corner. But often we’re so caught up in maintaining order that we miss the joys of motherhood.
There are times when you need to be the adult, but what would it look like for you to embrace more play? Maybe it’s ignoring the mess for a moment to sit and paint with your kids. Maybe it’s learning a new hobby or taking breaks for creative outlets. A 2013 study found that play helps adults to cope with stress and significantly improves mood and a sense of well-being. Let’s lean into the fun!
4. Let go of perfect
If you’re like me, this is hard. It’s easy to have a vision of the “perfect” mom in a perfectly organized house with the perfect family. But as I’ve tried to work towards that vision, I haven’t liked the person I become. I find that striving for “perfect” often leads to housekeeping being of higher priority than the people in the house. We’ve all been on the other side of this, and it hurts. To be present and available to your children, you have to let go of perfectionism.
This may look like leaning into the mess a little more than you’d like. It may look like things are taking longer than you’d prefer. But letting go of perfect leads to fewer feelings of failure, better connection in the family, and a much more peaceful home.
5. Talk to yourself kindly
Motherhood is one of the most refining-by-fire experiences. Daily we’re reminded of our shortcomings and failures and the tendency is either to harden our hearts or live under the weight of guilt. Grace is a third way. Grace has many definitions, but the most applicable to this circumstance are mercy, pardon, and reprieve. All three of these don’t ignore the shortcomings. They’re not lying about our failures. But despite them, a second chance is given and kindness is extended.
How we speak to ourselves matters, not only for us but for our kids. If we constantly have an internal dialogue that is degrading ourselves, that will naturally trickle down to our children. It’s good and right to acknowledge when we’ve messed up, but it’s also good and right to speak kindly and gently to ourselves, to encourage ourselves to keep going and try again - exactly what we want our own children to do when they don’t get it right on the first try either.
This year, let’s become more aware of the internal dialogue and stop harsh words in their tracks.