When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

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Categories Family, Mommy Issues

Anyone who has ever heard this saying knows how true it is! Recently, it occurred to me that as the Mama to F and J, my attitude has a direct and important impact on THEIR happiness.

As MoMs we expect a lot of ourselves, and our days are often consumed with tasks, chores, obligations and expectations. We are under a lot of pressure, and most of us collapse into a heap of “used-up-Mommy” at the end of the day. Some days our kids are lucky we fed them and didn’t lose them at the grocery store! Other times, our homes are flooded with illness (and vomit, and snot!), and our caregiver capacity is stretched to the max. Occasionally, we just have really rotten days, or find out that our house needs a new $roof$. And my personal nemesis, PMS, usually rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. And yet, my emotional barometer sets the tone for my whole family. That is a big responsibility!

My son and daughter are still pretty darn young. But they are growing up quickly, and they study me like crazy. They watch my expressions, and consider my movements. For example, anyone who has young children knows that if you cheer when they fall, as opposed to gasping in horror, that they are less likely to cry. Why? Because they are picking up on our cues. (If Mommy or Daddy aren’t freaked out about my tumble, then I must be okay, but if they are freaked out then I must REALLY be hurt!!!)

As F and J’s Mom, I am challenged to make the most of our days, especially when the weather, the world or wiping noses is getting to me. This really isn’t a “how to” post, rather, I am writing to remind myself and others, that as moms, we have the power to infuse our homes with laughter, joy and happiness. OR we can be a black and angry cloud that rains down on our family.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not super-mom. There are days when I have to hide from the kids or take a bathroom break just to have a few minutes sans-crying, or I will lose my mind. But I know that if I pick up the screaming child and do a little jig and make funny faces I can usually stop their crying. In a way, I guess that does make me a super-powered, super-mom!

My sister-in-law was housebound with my 2 year old niece during a stretch of particularly nasty weather. You know what they did? Built a fort in the dining room and read books with a flashlight! Now that is how you turn crummy circumstances (AKA Pennsylvania weather) into a good memory.

We at “How Do You Do It?” would love to hear how you creative MoMs out there keep family life in perspective, and work at being Happy Mama’s!

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8 thoughts on “When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy”

  1. I was recently left alone with my twins and toddler while Becca enjoyed her first weekend away on her own for 4 years! I loved being with the kids on my own but you realize how tough it is. I do I do it? The honest answer is not often enough!

  2. The biggest thing that keeps me a happy mom is getting some regular time to myself. I need time to recharge on a very regular basis.

    Jon and I switch off big blocks of time on the weekends – he takes the kids Sat morning and I take them Sun morning so we can each do whatever we feel like doing. We take the kids out of the house so each person can be in the house and not hear kids crying, fighting, etc.

    We also try to recognize when the other is starting to get testy… so one night one of us will put the kids to bed on our own. It’s little things really, but getting a chance to do things I WANT to do instead of what I HAVE to do goes a long way towards making me a better mom.

  3. Thanks for this post, Krissy. Such an important (and way too often overlooked) subject.

    One of the biggest strategies for me is to keep things “fresh.” So often we get stuck in a rut, going to the same playground, same grocery store, playing with the same toys, reading the same books, day in and day out. It really helps to do and see new things – for all of us! Granted, there’s also something to be said for the old standards and the familiar. But to integrate one new thing every other day keeps me (and i think them) sane. Today, instead of doing our same walking route around the neighborhood, we “BOBed” through the greenbelt. We were surrounded by trees, we could smell the juniper, our dog matilda was in all her glory, and it was the most excellent way to start our day. So simple, so new and so refreshing for all of us.

    It is amazing, though, how much mom’s (and dad’s) behavior/attitude affects the troupe. I often try, when things get really hairy, to just count to ten, take some deep breaths, and get my feet solidly on the ground. Certainly their cries and whines can wait ten seconds and it helps me get in the right place to help them.

    There is a great resource out there called CALMS by Dr. Carrie Conte. It’s all about how to get yourself in the best place to be with your kiddos, specifically babies. Carrie is an Austin perinatal psychologist and we’ve taken several of her classes – she’s awesome! Her website is: http://www.earlyparenting.com. She has regular articles and “nuggets of goodness” on her website.

  4. I can find no better words and for you guys times 2!

    What Did I Do Today?

    Today I left some dishes dirty,
    the bed got made around 3:30.
    The diapers soaked a little longer,
    The odor grew a little stronger.
    The crumbs I spilled the day before
    Are staring at me from the floor.
    the fingerprints there on the wall
    Will likely be there still next fall.
    the dirty streaks on those windowpanes
    Will still be there next time it rains.
    Shame on you, you sit and say,
    Just what did you do today?

    I held a baby till she slept
    I held a toddler while he wept.
    I played a game of hide and seek,
    I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
    I pulled a wagon, sang a song,
    Taught a child right from wrong.
    What did I do this whole day through?
    Not much that shows, I guess that’s true.
    Unless you think that what I’ve done,
    might be important to someone
    with deep green eyes and soft brown hair,
    If that is true….I’ve done my share

  5. I have to say, I don’t think I’m super good at this. Time alone usually helps get me out of a funk. My husband watches them Saturday morning usually, and I have the best sitter ever (whom I pay as if she is the best sitter ever) on Wednesday mornings (She folds a week’s worth of laundry, puts the kids’ laundry away, reorganizes their clothing, cleans my kitchen…and it super sweet to my kids). Anyway, I go off to a local coffee shop and do school work—it’s fantastic!

  6. This is exactly why I got a babysitter. Has made a big difference in my mood. Even if I don’t do anything special and just run some errands without them, that two hours of being unencumbered is awfully nice. And I always come home happy to see them. Whew.

  7. I sometimes like to behave as a child myself – to forget I’m a parent and turn into a child the same age as my daughter – it really helps!

  8. It’s much like AA… one day at a time. I have three boys 8,14 and 16. My oldest son is a felon and the other two are angels. I am blamed for every wrong choice he makes. He says “if you would have raised me better I wouldn’t be like this.” At some point us as mothers have to realize that we are not totally to blame for all of the worlds problems. I did the best I could as a 17 year old single mother. I loved, clothed, cared for and was there. That is more then I can say about his dead beat of a father. I realize that every person is responsible for their actions.

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