We are excited to share this guest post from Erin Cox as part of our New Year, New Mama series. Erin’s mission is to bring more joy to the world, improve marriages, and raise happier and healthier children by inspiring and motivating MOMS to take care of themselves first and lead their best lives. We love her advice to help make us all more happy, peaceful and positive mamas.
Does anyone ever set a goal to simply be happier? This may seem like a modest goal, but achieving it can be difficult when you are constantly busy and have small children consuming your life. But…2012 can be different. This year is brimming with energy and excitement, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a breakthrough year! Setting goals and realizing success are two keys to feeling happy, and there are a few other practices that the happiest people do regularly that we can all incorporate to bring more joy to our daily lives. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
Set Goals and Move Towards Your Dream Life
When is the last time you sat down and visualized your absolute dream life situation? Are you living it now? If not, what would you need to do to get there? I encourage you to get clear on what you want in your life now, in the next year, and in the next five years. Maybe you are home with a baby now, but you envision yourself as a business owner, teacher, or blogger. Set small goals that help you lean toward your bigger goals and dreams. If you aren’t clear about what you really want out of life, how can you ever achieve it? When setting goals, make sure they are realistic and have a time frame. Then, hold yourself accountable. So, you want to start a blog? Then do some research on blog platforms and determine what you want to write or photo-document. Only you can bring your gifts, thoughts, and ideas to the world in your fabulous, unique way!
Take More Time For Yourself
Do you crave more time to exercise, read, sleep, or simply relax and catch your breath? There are more opportunities to take time for yourself than it might seem. During your kid’s naps, do you clean and accomplish task after task? Maybe a day or two each week, instead of cleaning and working you should just indulge in a guilty pleasure (think yummy lunch and catching up on recorded Bachelor), or get your kids involved in a little project while you curl up with a cup of tea and enjoy a fabulous book. In the evening, put your kids to bed early and take a bath while sipping on a glass of wine! Happy moms are those who take really good care of themselves so they have the energy to love and care for their families!
Be Completely Present with your Children
Focus on the task at hand while working, but when you are with your kids, try to give them your focused attention. We obviously can’t do this all day long, but how often do you sit down with your kids and revel in the moment with them, giving them your full attentiveness? It’s another way of fully living and experiencing your wonderful life. You are blessed to be a mother!
Find the Right Work/Life Balance
I’ve worked outside the home full-time, part-time, and not at all, and it took doing all of them to determine the work/life balance that suited me best. Do you feel at peace with the way you are living your life? Do you suffer from guilt while at work, or discontent and boredom while at home? There are so many solutions and alternatives that can allow you the time you crave with your family while also using your creative gifts and intellect. The same goes for balancing constant work and cleaning with downtime and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Make sure you are balancing your time in a way that honors your priorities in life!
Do Something Every Day That Brings You Joy or Makes You Laugh
Life should be fun to be lived to the fullest! And really, raising kids can offer you many opportunities to laugh every day. I remember one day when my oldest daughter was a few months old, and had a serious diarrhea blowout all over her adorable outfit, her blankets, and the car seat. What a mess! There was poop everywhere and I just wanted to cry. As I was trying to wash off my screaming baby in the tub while surrounded by poopy, smelly clothes everywhere, my husband walked in from work and said with a smile, “shitty day, huh?” and I just burst out laughing. It was just what I needed, and made light of what really was a humorous situation. Imagining what I looked like was definitely funny. I even had poop on my cheek. As mothers, we will experience many difficult and sometimes super-gross situations with babies… all you can do is laugh. If your kids don’t offer you enough humor, then be sure to find other things that make you smile. Call that funny friend or watch an episode of Modern Family. People who laugh easily are more fun to be around and enjoy the health benefits that laughter brings, such as: improved immune function due to boosted levels of infection-fighting antibodies, better digestion, and enhanced sleep!
In closing, I wish each of you a more joyful, fun, and serene 2012! If you’d like more inspiration every day, check my website Her Inspired Life and sign up for a free seven-day Inspired Life Kick-Start Plan! Also, my new book, One Hot Mama: The Guide to Getting Your Mind and Body Back After Baby, will be published by Hay House in the fall of this year.