Sometimes it’s hard to be a happy mom. Between the diapers. And the potty training. And the homework. And the chauffeuring. And the struggle to put on snowsuits. And the whining. And getting kids into car seats. And getting them to nap. And getting them to stop napping. And….well, you see where I’m going with this.
Q: What led you to start The Happiest Mom blog, which later led to a book?
A: Before mommy blogging, parenting books and expert advice was a little sugar coated and it felt like no one wanted to speak the truth about motherhood. And then the mom blog world started and it was turned on its head and everybody got really real. But even with my mom blog, I did a lot of complaining and venting and it felt like we were all saying the exact same thing. It felt like I wasn’t a solution to my own life by complaining about things. And I thought, I’m a happy person but if you read my blog, you’d think I was miserable. All these blogs were leaving the impression that modern motherhood totally stinks and why would we want to have kids? I felt like there was a good, happier side of motherhood to talk about but also there are things we can do to make our lives better and happier.
Q: Why don’t people think motherhood and happiness go together?
A: This backlash to the impression that mothering will make you happy, this real side some bloggers talk about, is so strong that people think there’s no point even in talking about happiness and motherhood in the same sentence. We’ve just gone way past the reality version of motherhood to the scary version of it.
Q: What have you learned about being a happy mom?
A: it’s definitely not something you achieve. It’s not like one day I woke up and just said, I’m a happy mom and that’s how it’s going to be. I have to work at it every day. It definitely gets easier because it becomes a habit, but there’s no finish line. Every day I wake up and have the same challenges. I’ve also learned that my expectations often control my emotional reaction to things. So if I expect on a day say where I don’t have any childcare for my five children, is it realistic for me to expect to get five things marked off my to-do list? And if it doesn’t happen, I’m going to be upset, irritated, and anxious. But if my expectations are more realistic I’m happier because I meet whatever expectation I set for myself.
Q: Any tips for other moms to be happier?
A: The more you think about it and consciously try to choose to have a happier life, the faster and easier that will be—especially in those early years of being a new mom when you’re trying to figure everything out. It’s also about practise—it’s like a muscle in that you can flex your happiness level as a mom. Also don’t wait to build those support networks with other moms or community or family—don’t wait until it’s an emergency and you’re hitting the wall. Start building relationships early because that can be a huge source of support, comfort and happiness for you as you move through parenthood.