3 rules for making happy moms

A little self-care goes a long way. ?

3 rules for making happy moms

It’s no secret that life with children has many demands on your time, energy and mojo. Maintaining your sense of self is as essential to happiness as the love you give and receive all day, every day.

A little self-love goes a long way, so the secret to finding happiness, even when it’s challenging, just might be in these three rules:

1. Do your own thing.

If you have a career you love, you may feel fulfilled in this area, but I think we all have certain things we used to love before we had kids that we’ve now put on the back burner. So start an at-home business, work out, cook elaborate meals, read romance novels—it can be anything—just do something you want to do and that makes you feel like you, not just your kids’ mom.


I have a friend who likes to paint and create art, and she does it even though she’s a busy homeschooling mom. Another friend is an executive at a major company, and she hikes alone or with friends on the weekend. I started an essential oils business while taking care of four kids at home with me 24/7.

These things may take time, but they add to our lives because we have something of our own to work on and feel a sense of purpose, creativity, achievement and connection about, independent of our role as mom.

No matter how many kids we have and what our other responsibilities are, we will always be maxed out. The time to do something other than mother will never just show up—we have to make the time and take the time. It’s so worth it, and it sets a great example for our kids as well.

2. Eat one nice meal per day.

Sit down and eat something that will make you feel awesome. It could be a gluten-free, vegan, super healthy something, or a cheesy delicious something special—but eat it for your nice meal only if it will make you feel good during and after.

Take one meal and be selfish.

You can eat with the kids, but consider whether or not to let the toddler sit on your lap for this one. Or eat it while the kids are watching a show, or while your husband puts them to bed, whatever it takes.

3. Self-care your way.

Bubble baths, massages, and even Netflix and chill are great, but not necessarily for everyone. I’ve always felt resentful about the self-care recommendations that moms often get: “Take time for yourself—go for drinks with the girls,” or, “Just relax and take a nap.”

It’s not that I find the sound of suggestions like these somewhat condescending, but really it’s just that they’re not things I particularly enjoy, and what is the point of self-care if I don’t enjoy it?

It took me quite a few years of being a mom to discover that perfect weekly self-care ritual: sleeping in on Saturday morning, then waking up and eating breakfast with my family, before sending my husband and three bigger kids out to the park for about two hours. While they’re gone, I get to decide what to do for the day that will make me feel best.

Sometimes I clean the house. Sometimes I nurse the baby and read a random magazine I find around the house. Sometimes I put the baby down for a nap and sit in the sun outside and do nothing at all.

I reciprocate by letting my husband take a long nap while I take the kids out on Saturday afternoon, then I take them with me to the farmers market on Sunday morning for a few hours. We both get extra sleep and time alone in the house with no one else around.

These are perfect self-care scenarios for us, but it took a long time to get there. Give it some thought and talk it over with your partner, friends, or family to see how you can work out a plan to give you back the juice you need to make it through the week.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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