Guaranteed ways to be a miserable mom:
- Compare yourself to other moms.
- Volunteer to be classroom mom, soccer team mom, girl scout troop mom, and sign up to teach Sunday school. (Related: sign your kids up for ALL the things!)
- Stay up way too late, every night.
- Sacrifice your needs and wants always, in every situation, without exception.
- Never ask for help.
- Do not acknowledge your limits; do your best to push past them.
- Fret about every decision.
- Insist on perfection—from yourself, your kids, and your spouse.
- Believe in your heart that you’re only as good as your parenting.
- Make sure you’re in complete control of your kids’ lives.
No one sets out to be a miserable mom, but sometimes that’s how we end up. When my boys were younger, I was convinced that motherhood should be hard and that happiness was for a different stage of life.
The message often drilled into us is that a loving mom is all about self-sacrifice and self-denial. Marriage is hard work and parenting is hard work and we definitely signed up for both, but we didn’t expect it to be this unpleasant. When did life become a series of tasks to check off a list, a never-ending parade of responsibility? Where did all the fun go and how old do the kids need to be before it comes back?
Secrets of the Happy Mama’s Soul
Over the years, I’ve learned that my own happiness is important and even worthy of pursuit. I’ve become convinced that happiness is even a spiritual practice! That’s why these few lines of poetry I came across recently spoke to me so deeply:
“We must risk delight.
We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”
-Jack Gilbert, from A Brief for the Defense
Are we praising the devil in our motherhood? Do we tend to focus mostly on the hard parts: our disappointment, our anger, our resentment, our exhaustion?
It can be easy to forget that beauty, delight, play, and rest are spiritual practices that bring us closer to God. Easier still to write off happiness as unattainable, unimportant, selfish and not spiritual.
I don’t believe Jesus walked among us as a cynic, in somber spirituality all the time. He partied. He turned water into wine. He enjoyed lip-smacking good food with his friends. When we indulge in happy pursuits, or when we notice some small delight that makes us smile, we are giving glory to God. In this sense, cultivating the habit of noticing the happy moments in our lives and savoring them in a posture of gratitude becomes an act of faith as we resist the pull of the world toward cynicism and despair.
I make the case for happiness in this e-book I created just for you! It’s a compilation of articles I wrote for my own website and for other online publications, and it features several brand new essays as well!
This resource is available to you for free as a thank you for being an email subscriber. When you sign up below to get The Scoop, my twice-a-month newsletter, you’ll get resources to grow in your faith as well as access to all the freebies in my resource library including this free e-book!
I pray that Secrets of the Happy Mama’s Soul brings more happiness to your days, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in.
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