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How to Enjoy Motherhood

When my youngest daughter was a newborn, I reflected on how to enjoy maternity leave. Flash forward, that newborn is now almost two years old! My four year old is finally emerging from the threenager phase, which is perfect timing for my younger daughter to enter her terrible twos phase.

When you’re deep in the throes of changing diapers, washing sippy cups and lunchboxes, nursing babies, battling teething, dressing kids, doing laundry, potty training, teaching the alphabet, and just generally keeping your kids alive and well, it can often feel like you’re in survival mode 24/7.

One of the last concerns on your mind is if you’re enjoying motherhood. There are days when you feel like you aren’t cut out for this gig and days when you question if you were meant to be a mother. Being moms, our focus tends to be on making sure that our kids enjoy their childhood, rather than on making sure that we enjoy motherhood.

motherhood

Jennifer Lynn Photography

In my opinion, life is too short not to enjoy ourselves. I personally regret not focusing on my own enjoyment sooner. When I was pregnant with my first, my brain was fogged with how cute little girl clothes are, nursery decor, and car seat purchase options – I was definitely not focused on how much my life would change and how I would change as a human being.

The sooner you realize that this is your gig and those are your monkeys, the better. Motherhood isn’t going anywhere, so you may as well get adjusted and learn how to enjoy yourself. Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, middle childhood, young teens, teenagers—you name it—I guarantee that the phase is hard. Don’t wait for the next phase to start enjoying yourself, because there is no guarantee that the next phase will be any easier {it could be even harder}.

As your kids get older, you will trade changing diapers for potty training, conversations about sharing for conversations about bullying, crying over broken cereal bars for crying over broken hearts. Focusing on your enjoyment will help to make things easier! 

Jennifer Lynn Photography

Here are a few tips that have helped me enjoy this crazy ride we call motherhood, and, in turn, make me a happier mom. Disclaimer: I’m still figuring it all out and I probably will be for the rest of my life. We’re all amateurs at this life.

1. Realize that motherhood is hard. 

Every stage is going to be hard. Accept it. Life is hard even if you don’t have children. Accept that some days you are going to feel defeated, but those days will only make the really great days even better. Raising human beings wasn’t meant to be easy and it’s not a task meant for the weak. Throughout motherhood, it’s our job to help those newborn babies {who can’t walk or talk when they’re born} to be able to go out and make an impact in the big wide world. Does that sound like it is going to be easy? Of course not! That sounds like the toughest job in the world.

2. Be silly and laugh with your children everyday.

It’s easy to get consumed with daily tasks {dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, just to name a few} and forget to have fun. You’re not going to enjoy motherhood if all you do 24/7 is alternate between being a personal maid and chef and yelling at everyone to put their shoes on or put their laundry away. Sure, most of your day is going to be consist of that! But, I challenge you to take at least a few minutes out of each day {or more!} to just enjoy each other. Read a funny book, trade jokes, watch a funny show, talk about something funny that happened during the day – whatever it takes to get all of you laughing and smiling with each other. It’s good for the soul! My favorite memories with my children are when we are laughing and being silly.

3. Take the pressure off {of yourself and your children}.

Whatever pressure is causing you stress, rid yourself of it. If you’re feeling pressured because you didn’t bake a homemade cake for your child’s birthday, your preschooler is having a hard time recognizing letters and numbers, your mantle isn’t Pinterest perfect, you didn’t meal plan on Sunday, you didn’t work out this morning, just let it go. You’re going to drop the ball sometimes, give yourself some slack. Take a step back and ask yourself if this is a big problem or a little problem. If it’s a little problem, stop thinking about it! If it’s a big problem, lean on those around you to help you find a solution. We can’t do it all, all the time.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Just don’t do it. Nobody is going through the exact same journey as you, and, therefore, any comparisons are unfair. You are good enough!

5. Talk about your days.

This helps you get to know your children and how they are developing into their own personalities and it also lets them get to know you, on a level aside from just their mom. This is another time, like laughing with each other, that allows you to step off of the daily hamster wheel and focus on each other. We ask each other 3 questions—your favorite part of the day, your least favorite part of the day, and what you’re excited about for the next day. Opening up a line of communication and having these few minutes each day has really helped me get to know my child more and it’s so enjoyable for me to get insight into their mind and tell them about mine, too. I love the exchange between us and every day that we do it, my daughter opens up more to me.

6. Acknowledge that no mom knows what they are doing.

Even if it appears that they know what they’re doing, they don’t. We are all just winging it and we learn through trial and error. Take a tip from Daniel Tiger’s book, say you made a mistake, and find a way to move on. 

7. Don’t watch the calendar. 

Live in the present. Time is going to go fast, no matter what you do. Your children will grow up in the blink of an eye. Don’t look towards what your child will be like next year, enjoy them in that moment, because they will never be in that phase again.

8. If you have more than one child, have special one-on-one time with each child.

I find that I’m able to learn the most about my children and enjoy our time together, when I’m able to spend special time with each child alone. Being with all of your children at once is also great, but the one-on-one time just fills my bucket right up to the brim!

9. Don’t over entertain your kids. 

You don’t need to entertain your kids every waking moment of the day in unique ways each day of the week. Give yourself {and your kids} a break from the pressure of entertainment and you may just surprise yourself with how relaxed you feel!

10. Make traditions, but don’t feel like you need a bucket list year round. 

Continue {or create new} traditions that are important to you and make them special. This goes back to don’t compare yourself to others…if everyone and their mom are going apple picking and you don’t enjoy it, then don’t do it! Share things with them that were special to you when you were growing up, it will be more enjoyable for you {and probably for them, too}.

11. Be good to yourself.

Take time for yourself. Realize that you are a mother, but that is not all that you are. You deserve to take a break from motherhood once in a while. Do something that is just for yourself. Take a vacation, talk to a therapist, go to the spa, get lost in a good book, go to to the movies. Whatever makes you happy, take a break from the every day chaos of motherhood and savor some alone time.

Jennifer Lynn Photography

What helps you to enjoy motherhood?

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