Happy Mom Habits

My cousin wrote the other day that she noticed an article titled “Ten Habits of a Happy Mom”. She disagreed with the article, and came up with a few clever ones of her own:

1. Keeping up with the laundry and socks (this is probably one of the most crucial things I do, because if it’s 7:55 and we have two minutes to get out the door and lil M can’t find a proper T-shirt or clean socks…well…you can forget about the rest of the day…just throw up your hands and walk away.)
2. Wiping down the kitchen counters and the stove every night (so that when I wake up and go to make coffee, a clean kitchen awaits to greet me with a gleam….sigh….I love starting days that way. That’s happiness right there.)
3. Ironing and mending hubby’s shirts (I love knowing that he can start every workday off right with a hot cup of coffee and a nice shirt, plus watching him walk out the door in the morning looking so handsome…that’s bliss.)
4. Calendaring. Can you imagine how completely miserable life would be if I didn’t enter all of the places I need to be, when papers were due back to school, who was driving who to school when? As it is, I’m constantly striving to improve in this area, but for the most part, I have a system that works, and my happiness depends on being able to glance ahead to Monday and see that, Oh! It’s minimum day schedule again and we’re going to have to arrange carpool…..

I can see how my cousin’s list would make for a happy mom. Many of those habits would ensure happiness in my world (save for the mending part, I’m not much of an ironer or a mender – which is why most of my clothes don’t require much of each…and why I picked Mr. W, who knows how to pick up a needle and thread to mend his own clothes). But what would my own short-ish list of Happy Mom Habits look like?

1. Vacuuming. I know, it’s not super exciting. In fact, it is right up there in the exhilarating range of dusting and mopping. But there is a magic involved with vacuuming. For one, to vacuum a floor all things need to be picked up off the floor. It’s fair to say that all of those floor hobbits can just be placed on the couch, thus moving the mess from one place to the other. But if there is going to be effort placed into bending down and picking things up, it makes more sense to create piles for each room of the house, then depositing these piles in said room so that the first room can be vacuumed. Moving to the next room, the process is repeated. Therefore, I have come to believe that vacuuming is definitely magical, because every time I pull out that vacuum, my house magically gets cleaned. Not only that, but a vacuumed floor really does look so much cleaner than a cleared off floor that hasn’t been vacuumed. A clean house makes me very, very happy – and is not the easiest thing to come by when kids are involved (or a lazy parent at the end of the work day, let’s be realistic). Therefore, vacuuming (that equals clean house) is #1 on my list of Happy Mom Habits.

2. Creating a weekly menu. This one is #2 for another loaded reason. Sitting down and going through the cookbook allows me to avoid the dreaded question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” I don’t think there’s a worse experience to dread than coming home to a fridge that holds no clues to this question, and the last thing you even want to do is figure out what to eat, let alone cook it. Not only that, coming up with a menu gives me a chance to go through my cabinets and make up a list of things I will need to make this dream dinner list come true. Hence, the shopping list is born out of the weekly menu. Not only that, those weeks when I am diligent in making up a menu and create my shopping list from it, I feel way more on task and I also save loads of money by a) not buying things I don’t need and b) not having to make frequent trips back to the store for a last minute idea for dinner. And if that menu includes a crockpot dinner or two, consider this a deliriously Happy Mom Habit.

3. Being healthy. Sometimes I have to really talk myself into this habit. After all, that leftover Halloween candy is whispering its own happy thoughts to me, promising me that a face full of chocolate is going to make me really happy. But that sluggish feeling after gorging on a bagful of candy or a plate of fried crap? Not so happy. But it’s very truthful to say that when I incorporate good eating habits into my diet, and when I take the time to get in some movement – hiking, walking, biking, or whatever suits my fancy – I am way happier than I am when I’m lazing on the couch, and my favorite pants are feeling a little snug.

4. Uninterrupted family time. This is when all distractions are put aside (toss phone out window, unplug the modem, tell kids’ friends to take a hike), and spend total quality time with the kids. On nights when we all cuddle up on the couch for a movie, or when we clear that table and enjoy an exciting game of high stakes poker (I’ll see your Jolly Rancher, and raise you a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup), I can’t think of anything that makes me smile more as I go to sleep that night.

5. And, of course, some kid-free ME time. No list is complete without it. Without coming back to center, doing something that is just for me – whether it’s reading a book, taking a long bath, going for a walk, taking myself out for lunch, or even dumping the kids on the relatives for a blissful adults only weekend – I cannot be the best mom I can be. And we all deserve to be free of our kids from time to time.

What would your list of Happy Mom Habits include?

P.S. We’re still accepting kids’ cake designs for a chance to win tickets to see Cake Boss. See HERE for details.

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