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30 Ways to Be A Happier Mom When Things Are Tough

Hey mama! Are you struggling to find joy in the messy & mundane days of motherhood? I get it! Here are 30 ways to be a happier mom (even when things are tough)!

Hi friend! My name is Chantal. I’m a mom of two and certified personal trainer + nutrition coach. Welcome to my site!

I’m writing this post for the mama who is struggling today. My heart goes out to you!

Motherhood is hard!

It seems like just yesterday I was swimming in dirty diapers, hormonal fluctuations, and the loneliness that is being a new mom.

Add in a little postpartum depression & anxiety and you have some really interesting memories!

Click here to read about my postpartum depression story and my tips for getting through it.

Being a mom is hard no matter what, but those first few years as a mom were TRULY a doozy.

Is that where you are right now? Cuz if you are, I am here to tell you that it really does pass by quickly.

Anyhow, no matter what season of motherhood you’re in, trust me when I say that I know what it feels like to barely get through each day.

And sometimes your struggles as a mom come directly from just motherhood itself, but sometimes it comes from outside factors like relationships, finances, housing, and more.

But learning ways to be a happier mom no matter your circumstances is key to enjoying life in general.

After all, now that you’re a mom, you will ALWAYS carry that title.

I hate to admit it, but I spent way too many years of my time as a mom hating my life. There were parts of it that I liked, of course. But it just wasn’t what I was expecting it to be.

Sound familiar?

Motherhood totally changed me. How has motherhood changed you?

I had always wanted to be a mom. But I dwelled on the things that didn’t go right for me, and that negativity stole my joy for the longest time.

First, I had a terrible pregnancy full of sickness.

Then, I had an emergency c-section when I wanted to completely natural birth.

Next, I had to supplement because my milk wasn’t coming in.

Then I experienced PPD and postpartum anxiety, which hurt my relationship with my first baby.

I could go on. There were just a lot of things that didn’t go to plan.

That affected my happiness and stole a lot from my kids and I in those first few years.

Don’t let that be you!

Now that I am older and wiser, I know that hardly anything goes to plan when it comes to parenting.

I’m able to brush things off a lot more easily because my expectations have changed and reality has set in.

So How do New Moms Not Lose Themselves?

That brings me to this list of ways to be a happier mom.

If you’re in need of a little pick-me-up and you’re just struggling right now, I hope it helps you in some way. Good luck mama!

30 Ways to Be A Happier Mom When Things Are Tough

1. Get Off Of Social Media

how to be a happier mom

I know, I know – it’s hard. But if you want to protect your joy, this is one of the best ways to be a happier mom.

Comparison is the thief of joy and social media will most like you feel BAD about yourself as a mom. It’s just the truth! Take breaks from social media, and take them often.

NO ONE knows you or your kids like you do – so protect that!

2. Start Reading More Books

Yep, books. Actual, physical books are preferred for total and complete mental bliss.

I might be a bit of a nerd, but I’m partial to books because they take you to another world mentally. They have the ability to change your emotions while also taking your mind off of the tough stuff happening your life.

If you’re going through a tough time in motherhood, consider reading romantic comedies, historical fiction, or lighthearted genres to keep the stress at bay.

3. Go For More Walks

how to be a happy mommy

I’m not just saying this because I’m a personal trainer, but walking outdoors is SO good for you. It’s good for your brain, it’s good for your legs, it’s good for digestion, and it’s good for mental health.

You can take the kids or not – but just get out there. Even if it’s just for a quick 15 minutes!

4. Get Some Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not only good for your overall health, it is an important player when it comes to depression and other mood disorders. Seriously – there are all sorts of studies about it.

(Ask me how I know! I began my struggle with depression at the age of 14.)

You should aim to get sun for 15-20 minutes per day if you want to reap the benefits and be a happier, healthier mom.

5. Listen To Motivational Podcasts

ways to be happier as a mom

I know it’s totally cheesy and cliché but podcasts can be really inspirational and motivational. I like to listen to them when I’m trying to get myself out of a slump or just for ideas sometimes!

Personal development and the desire to be better will help to keep you moving forward. Growth is a good thing!

I really like Natalie Hodson’s old podcasts, but you can find any number of motivational podcasts on the web these days.

6. Meditate or Read Your Bible

Whether or not you are religious, you need to have some way to ground yourself. Some way of redirecting negative energy and centering yourself.

Whether that is meditation, reading your bible, or simply sitting with your thoughts in silence is up to you! Just spend some time in silence and take the mental and emotional load off.

7. Get Up Earlier

how to be a good mom when depressed

Hey friend, I already know that you’re missing out on sleep. But if you’re spending every single waking moment with a child on your hip, it might be time to start getting up earlier.

Child-free time (even if it’s just 20 minutes) is a game changer when it comes to joy and morale. So start getting up a little earlier than the kiddos – even if it’s just to enjoy some coffee alone.

Trust me, this is one of the best ways to be a happier mom. Alone time is an investment that will help you become a better mom.

8. Schedule In Some Date Nights

My husband and I rarely have someone available to babysit for us. (And when we do, we typically have to pay them. Lol.)

However, we would 100% never go on any date nights at all if we didn’t plan some out every now and then.

Mama, adult-only time is OKAY, even when your kids are young! I used to feel so guilty when I left my kids with someone else, but no more!

Adult conversation (and margaritas) give me life! I come home happier and feel better about life every time I go out alone. It’s super rare, but I’m telling you that it’s important!

Pro Tip: You don’t have to leave the house to have a date! Just plan to stay up later than the kids!

9. Paint Your Nails

ways to be happier as a mom without the guilt

This sounds silly and trivial, I know. But the idea is that you need to practice a little more self-care.

Put on some mascara. Splurge on some good eyeshadow. Go get a massage. You know the drill!

It might now seem like it, and sometimes we even forget it, but a little bit of self-care goes a long way for self-esteem and confidence. So go paint your nails, mama!

Related Reading: 25 Easy, Must-Try Self Care Ideas For Moms

10. Spend A Little Time With Each Kid Individually Each Day

Okay, so here’s the thing. You spend a ton of time with your kids, but when you do, you have a million things to do and even more things on your mind.

Are you giving them the time and attention they need as individuals? Is mom-guilt eating you up because your relationships with your kids feel strained?

Take a little time with each kid alone each day! This will help you feel more confident in your parenting and will help with mom-guilt and your connection with each kid.

It’s super simple – spend 5-10 minutes cuddling and talking with each kid whenever seems logical and natural. I usually do this with the first kiddo who wakes up in the morning, then I do it again later on when my kids are doing separate activities.

It leaves me feeling reconnected to my kids and gives me hope that they will always come to me when they need to talk. It simply gives me more hope & joy as a mama!

11. Go Out For A Treat

go out for a treat

Take the kids too if you have to (but you definitely don’t).

Go for an iced coffee, a hot fudge sundae, a margarita, or a piece of cheesecake.

Okay, those might just be the things that I am personally into, but you get the idea.

I am not suggesting that you get into the habit of constantly rewarding yourself with food. That’s dangerous territory. Keep the treats special and they will always boost your mood.

It’s the little things!

12. Get Alone Time Every Day

Yes girl, I am suggesting that you hide in the bathroom for five minutes if you have to. Every mom deserves to watch stupid TikToks on the pot alone every now and then! Lol.

In all seriousness, getting a little bit of time each day is one of the most important ways to protect your joy as a mom.

Do what you have to do – there is no reason to feel guilty. Spending a little time a lone each day (even five minutes!) will help you feel normal and can help you prepare for the day mentally and emotionally.

Again, it’s another investment so that you can protect your peace and continue to find joy in motherhood.

13. Leave The House More Often

get out of the house

I had no idea how important this is during my first few years as a mom. I became an unrecognizable hermit and eventually developed pretty bad social anxiety because I spent too much time in my own house.

Yikes!

Seriously mama, if you’re looking for super simple ways to be a happier mom, get out of the house!

I personally don’t like to leave the house a TON each week (forever a homebody) but getting out for even a grocery shopping run makes me feel better.

Now that my kids are older and I have to leave the house more often for activities, school, sports, etc. this is a lot easier. I know it can be a lot of work to get the young kids and babies out of the house but it is so worth it!

You do NOT have to spend money or do anything but walk around once you go somewhere. Parks are also a great outing!

Try it and tell me how you feel afterwards – I promise it’s a helpful way to feel better.

14. Let Go Of Things You Can’t Control

This is soooo hard for us Type-A control freaks, but at some point you have to release the things you can’t control.

Have a friend or family member who just isn’t super involved in your life? Let it go.

Can’t seem to keep the dishes clean 100% of the time? Relax!

The truth is that there are so many things we can’t control in life – and it will always be that way.

The only thing you can do is learn to choose your battles. Think about the things that are most important and choose to worry about them. Forget everything else!

15. Start a New Hobby

try a new hobby

I’m very aware that there are a lot of hobbies that are difficult to get into when you’re a new mom or you have little people in general.

However, there are lots of small hobbies you can do at home. (Metal stamping, painting, blogging, etc.) If your kids are older, I highly suggest an active hobby that gets you out of the house.

I’m a big gardener-type (it’s so good for you) but I also like to go to the gym when I can. When my kids are a little older, I hope to do more outdoor activities like maybe backpacking and fly-fishing. Can’t wait!

However, probably the best hobbies I picked up while my kids were little are blogging and weight lifting. Both of them stimulate me in different ways!

I ended up liking both of them so much that I was able to turn them both into my actual J-O-B and now I work from home while still being a stay-at-home mom. So cool!

Related Reading: 7 Healthy Hobby Ideas For A Happier Life

16. Consider A Side Hustle

My last point segues perfectly to this. For a long time my little family was super broke but I refused to get a job because I had littles at home.

I discovered blogging (thank you, Pinterest) and the rest is history.

Blogging will forever and ever be my favorite side hustle. Though I have yet to make a “full-time” income from it, I do make up to about $1100/month with it. (And that is working like two hours per week.)

So – consider a side hustle that will challenge you and help you level up financially.

If you’re curious about blogging, be sure to read one of my many posts about it. I suggest starting here!

17. Smile More

I remember reading that smiling more actually helps you be happier, but I didn’t remember where. So naturally I had to do a little Googlin’ and was validated immediately.

Here is just one article that talks about smiling, the chemical reaction that happens, and the results of smiling.

It’s basically a “fake it until you make it” concept, but if it works, that’s amazing! This is seriously one of the easiest ways to be a happier mom.

Not to mention that smiling at your kids will reassure them and make them feel good. There are even some studies that show that smiling at your kids helps them be happier. Win-win!

18. Learn Coping Mechanisms For Stress

A stressed mama is not usually a happy mama. While I believe that we will always be stressed out about something, it is not normal to be terribly stressed all of the time.

The key to keeping stress at bay is knowing yourself and learning to nip it in the bud when you feel it coming on. You should learn to listen to your body’s biofeedback and respond accordingly.

A couple of simple ways to eliminate stress are to get better sleep and start exercising regularly. (I know, I know.)

Lucky for you, I have lots of tips for better sleep as well as tips for getting back into regular exercise. 🙂

19. Set Your Intentions Each Morning

set your intentions each morning

Improving your happiness includes feeling accomplished and motivated.

Getting more done each day will help you feel satisfied and proud, which will help you feel happier!

So how do you get more done? Start each morning by setting your intentions for the day.

I highly suggest keeping a notebook or “to-do” list for each day, but I have an important tip!

Do not make a MASSIVE to-do list every day.

Choose the three most important things to accomplish each day and actually do them!

The fact is that when you make a huge to-do list and don’t accomplish them all, it hurts your morale. It can leave you feeling defeated – which we definitely don’t want.

So protect yourself psychologically and enjoy a sense of accomplishment every single day to be a bit more joyful!

(My three things often involve working out, deep cleaning something, and blog work.)

20. Start Writing In a Journal

This is different from a to-do list and I will also recommend this to anyone and everyone.

Journaling is a great way to get your feelings OUT into the world and it’s a great way to self-regulate. Start journaling a few minutes in the morning every day and simply reflect on the day prior.

It does wonders for your personal growth and emotions! And of course, it’s one of the simplest ways to be a happier mom.

21. Get Into Goal Setting

goal setting to be a happier mom

This time, we’re thinking long-term. If you’re not goal-setting already, what are you even doing?

(When you write a to-do list, you can do it with your big-picture goals in mind.)

Did you know that there’s research that says people who write down goals are much more likely to actually reach them?

That goes for weight loss, finances, and more!

So how do you set goals? They need to be super specific and carry a timeline.

Need help with fitness goals? There’s a post for that!

Learn the most effective way to set postpartum fitness goals by reading this post.

22. Start An Exercise Routine

I will beat this to death because exercise is ultimately what got me out of a vicious cycle of depression. Seriously one of the best ways to be a happier mom!

The science is there y’all! Exercise makes you happier and more stable emotionally! GOOGLE IT.

I have what feels like a million articles featuring exercise tips, but here are a few good places to start:

23. Take A New Class

ways to be a happier mom - take a class

Okay, so I guess this sort of falls under the “new hobbies” category.

But it could also be a good thing to take a college course, take an online class just for learning purposes, or you can make it fun!

These days you can do so much! I’ve taken classes about blogging, personal training, nutrition, internet / social media stuff, and more.

But there are also great community classes, one-day workshops (cake decorating anyone?), self-sufficiency and gardening classes, etc.

Have fun with it!

24. Make Time For Old Friends

If you’re like me, there are just some people who didn’t make it though to motherhood with me. (AKA I cut them off after becoming a mom.)

However, there are plenty of neglected old friendships that I’d love to rekindle.

So go have coffee with an old friend from school! Don’t go in with huge expectations, just enjoy some nostalgia & adult conversation over coffee.

Again, it’s the little things that are the best ways to be a happier mom!

25. Stop Giving Energy To Negative Relationships

relationships mom friends

This goes along with letting go of things you can’t control.

Mama, you don’t have time for people who don’t treat you or your kids with respect. It is not your job to carry the whole entire relationship.

So. Is there a relationship you can let go of a bit?

I recently had to totally “give up” on a friendship that was once really important to me. I’m not gonna lie, it came with a mourning period.

But now I feel released from the weight of that relationship and have more space in my life for others. 🙂

26. Get A Part Time Job

I don’t know if you’re a working mom or not, but if you are a SAHM, this one is for you.

I know firsthand just how isolating and lonely it can be to stay home. I have often though that even if I didn’t need to financially, a part-time job would benefit me a TON.

If you are struggling with mental health & happiness as a homemaker, maybe a part-time job would help you! You can get out of the house, make new friends, have adult interactions, and contribute to your household financially.

This idea has the potential to be both empowering and life-giving!

27. Listen To Parenting Podcasts

listen to a podcast

Okay, so here’s the deal: I don’t recommend listening to parenting podcasts every day, but they can help you.

If you are struggling to navigate certain aspects of your relationships with your children, they can be really relatable and encouraging.

However, too many podcasts can leave you feeling inadequate (again with the comparison thing stealing your joy).

So be sure to choose wisely. Here are a few positive parenting podcasts to check out.

28. Learn Calming Techniques

So we already talked about stress, but this suggestion is more about quick things you can do in the moment. (On the spot!)

Deep breathing techniques seem super cheesy, but they work. Taking a few breaths, closing my eyes, or saying a quick prayer for patience are ALL things I do when interacting with my kids.

So try a few calming techniques to become a patient and peaceful mom. The result might just be a happier mom and kiddo!

29. Start Practicing Gratitude

attitude of gratitude

I don’t know about you, but I have a really bad habit of taking things for granted. An attitude of gratitude really does change things. It’s easily one of the best ways to be a happier mom.

I got into gratitude journaling a few years ago, but having three different journals became too much. Haha.

So now I just mentally thank Jesus for the things I appreciate on a given day and call it good.

Focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t is a huge hack when it comes to happiness. Trust me.

30. Eat A Healthy Diet & Appreciate Your Body

Mama, I know that your body isn’t the same after having kids. I KNOW.

But as soon as you realize that you’ve actually done important and amazing things with it, you can learn to let go a bit. You can learn to appreciate your body and take better care of it!

Here’s a good article on getting started with clean eating when you’re ready. 🙂

There you have it mama – 30 ways to be a happier mom – even when it’s tough!

Wishing you health & happiness,

Chantal

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