Repeat after me.
(And if you have little kids it might take a couple tries simply because you don’t get much quiet.)
I will know that I make a difference. And yes it counts when you get up early and pack those lunches and tuck notes in and wait outside the door.
I will not compare myself to the mom sitting across from me in Starbucks. That mom at Starbucks is probably comparing herself to you too so it might be better if you just said hello to each other.
I will give myself grace when I stumble. Sorry, you’ll stumble. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll burn the pizza. But you’ll get up.
I will find moments to laugh again. And it can be laughing over anything. I laughed at myself when I was headfirst in the dryer attempting to remove a crayon because I thought I would be supermom and get all the laundry done super fast and super fast meant not checking my 9-year-old son’s pockets for broken crayons. So I just laughed. And sprayed goo-gone.
I will give myself grace because chances are I won’t do everything on this list. If anyone on here completes a to-do list it will go on the Guinness Book of Mom Records courtesy of Finding Joy. Good luck.
I will not be so hard on myself. That means it’s okay if you make cake balls and they turn into cake mush. It’s okay that your birthday decorations are from Target. It’s way super okay (can we all just stand up and cheer) that you said no to the treat bags.
I will let the tears fall if they need to fall. Behind bathroom doors, on the phone, in the car, as you’re making lunch, to a good friend…Tears are emotion, and sometimes they need to fall.
I will be proud of my children. Put their artwork up even if it doesn’t match your decor. Text your teenager telling them that you love them. Be proud.
I will let the handprints be on my windows and not apologize for them. Having kids means having handprints, sticky counters, and permanent marker in places. Like now, in my home, on my sons’ door where they decided to write their name in black ultra permanent never coming off you might as well buy a new door Sharpie. At least we will never forget which room is theirs.
I will say thank you to the barista at Starbucks. They are your friends. And at Target. And besides that—our kids are watching us. Always say thank you as you never know the impact you’ll make on someone else’s life.
I will not apologize for not having everything together. Please don’t. Then I have to apologize for not having it together and then we’re both stuck thinking that we always have to have it together.
I will go to bed at night tired but knowing I made a difference. If you can remember this before you fall asleep then yes. Otherwise wake up knowing that everything you do is awesome. Well, cleaning toilets may not feel awesome but let me remind you of what it would be like if you didn’t do this. See? Awesome.
I will try hard not to judge others. You don’t know their circumstances. Maybe what is right in your world isn’t right in their world. Love. Don’t judge.
I will try even harder not to judge myself. Um yes. (Sometimes the baristas at Starbucks remind me of this…see? Love them.) We’re our own worst critics. Enough. The happy mom pledge is about learning to give ourselves grace.
I will remember that my kids will make mistakes. When they screw up at school, which they will, and you get a note, which you will, it is not a reflection of your ability as a mom. Kids are human too. Help them with their mistakes and do not take it personally.
I will also remember that my kids do not indicate my parenting successes or failures. See above. Please.
I will remember again that I will probably not remember to do everything on the list. Just another reminder. Remember we’re only human. What matters is that you and I try. Get chocolate and start again.
I will look for one good thing every day. Yes, yes, yes. Please this. Look for one thing. I know life can be incredibly tough and hard and tedious and aggravating, but please look for one good thing everyday. Even if it was that your latte was extra hot and awesome or that your 3-year-old went to bed without fussing. One thing. (And 3-year-olds going to bed without an argument counts as five good things in case you were wondering.)
I will be thankful. Gratitude destroys comparison, envy, and that pesky part of ourselves that thinks we don’t measure up.
I will be me and will pursue the things I love. Just because you are a mom does not mean that every single thing you do has to do with mothering. Make sure to cultivate your dreams, your desires and the things you love too. With NO guilt.
I will not feel guilty for the nights when it’s popcorn for dinner. Or macaroni and cheese from the box with the powder that you mix with milk and a dash of butter. Or chicken nuggets. Or pancakes. YOU GOT DINNER ON THE TABLE. Remember that instead.
I will not let mom guilt bug me at all, in fact. Going back to that mom guilt thing. It’s way too easy to feel guilty and to think that we’re not measuring up. Nope. Not anymore. Mom guilt? We’re kicking it to the curb.
I will tell a friend they’re doing a great job. Starting now. Us moms need to hear from our friends that we appreciate them. Send them this note and have them be a part of this happy mom pledge. No more you versus me versus her. That’s not happy. Unity.
I will see the good in me. After all you’re the only one who knows just what to tell your 11-year-old when they’re nervous about that Social test. Or how to cut their sandwiches in the morning. Or where to find the missing shoe or mitten or homework. Or how to deal with slammed doors or I hate you’s and to not take it personally. You are great.
I will try again. And again, and again, and again. That’s called strength.
I will be real. There is no perfect mom in this world of utopian ideals. There is real. And real is beautiful, powerful, amazing, giving, loving, and awesome. So, yes, that’s you.
I will fight for my heart. And that means letting yourself be happy again.
I will love me.
That’s the happy mom pledge.
Will you take it too?
Original article published in Finding Joy.