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Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, my friend. There are highs and lows most of the time daily, especially when you have a child with complex medical needs. It can be challenging to find the joy in motherhood day in and day out. Finding joy is so important because it can truly help you live a richer life filled with thankfulness and gratitude. Joy can get you through the hard times.
Before we get too far into the post, let’s go over the difference between happiness and joy. Their definitions get mixed up more often than not.
Todd Phillips’ definition (better than dictionary definition)- When you’re trying to pursue happiness, happiness is driven by your circumstances.
- More common
- Less work
- Less reward
- Shallower (skin layer deep) in nature
- Like Rising bubbles- delightful and fleeting
Laughing when you see a child laughing
Getting a new vehicle
Getting a pay raise
Todd Phillips’ definition (better than dictionary definition)- Joy is the ability to experience peace and contentment day in and day out, regardless of your circumstances.
- Less common
- Usually accompanies gratitude and thankfulness
- Takes a lot of work
- More reward
- Requires control
- Like oxygen- can be present all of the time
Being grateful for your family.
Grateful for your family’s health during a worldwide pandemic.
So, in a nutshell, happiness is involuntary and temporary, and joy requires control and is longer lasting. Happiness comes to you while joy is something you have to go after or chase.
Joy takes work, but you get way more reward!! You have to constantly work towards joy.
It can be easy to get down in the dumps or exhausted from motherhood. Finding joy can help make your journey here on Earth a whole lot easier.
Here are 17 tips to find the joy of motherhood:
Connecting with your children can help you find the joy of motherhood. Carve out a few minutes each day to spend doing something with them. It can be letting them help you cook dinner or fold clothes. They can sit in your lap and read a book before bed. It doesn’t have to require a lot of time. It can be a shorter block of time like 10 minutes.
2. Get yourself some me-time
Me time can help recharge your batteries. It is harder to give and have joy when you are running on fumes.
3. Reframe situations
Reframing situations can help immensely. You can find the good in any situation. Some of the ways to do it are to ask yourself “What's the lesson to learn here?” or “What could I be grateful for in this moment?”.
4. Start a gratitude journal
Don’t go all perfectionistic with this tip. Just grab you a cheap notebook or one lying around the house and start a gratitude journal. To get started just write down 5 things you are grateful for each day. They can even be shallow and materialistic like my favorite body wash is on sale at Target. Or they can be really deep and meaningful like something you’re grateful for your husband for. There isn’t a right way to be grateful. You can be grateful for small things, big things, material things, and deep things.
5. Remember that life is 50/50
Life is 50/50. 50% of the time you will experience positive emotion and 50% of the time you will experience negative emotion. If your life was perfect and you were blissed out and happy all of the time, you wouldn't truly know what happiness is because you have never experienced the contrasting negative emotions. Knowing that life is supposed to have 50% good and 50% negative can help you remember that this is normal.
6. Realize each stage of development has its highs and lows
There are pros and cons to every stage of development. A newborn wakes you up every single night to where you are a zombie the next morning. A newborn also lets you fold a load of laundry without asking the same question over and over again. LOL. There are highs and lows to every stage. You have to learn to look at the good.
7. Don’t be too busy
Sometimes you are too busy to pay attention to what you have. Slow down and smell the roses. Take time to stop and appreciate what you have.
8. Be aware of sneaky negative influences
Be aware of negative influences. Sometimes, they can be super sneaky. They can be your best friend, someone or something on social media, the TV shows and movies you watch.
Let me explain, I tried watching a new show the other day. It was a rated G family comedy show on Hulu. I started watching it and the whole episode, the parents were being perceived as too busy, crazy, and dumb. The Mother-in-Law and brother and even themselves made fun of the parents the whole show about how scatterbrained they were.
I don’t want to live like that. I had to turn the show-off. Even though it was rated G, it didn’t portray the type of life I wanted to live.
I used to follow a lot of hot mess mom-type accounts and sarcastic accounts on Instagram. I had to unfollow because I don’t want to be a hot mess mom and I think sarcasm uses comedy to cover up negativity.
They weren’t “bad” per se, they just weren't what I wanted to subject myself to anymore. They didn’t lead to me being the kind of person I want to be in my life.
9. Manage your emotions
Just because your child is upset and mad, doesn’t mean you need to be upset and mad too. You don’t have to mirror your child’s emotions. If you find yourself getting upset and mad and might react in a way you don’t like, walk away. Don’t get on your child’s level. You don’t need two people reacting to frustration.
Keep in mind, it's okay & normal to get frustrated, but you need to remove yourself from the situation. Remove yourself for just a few seconds and take a deep breath to handle the situation without reacting to frustration.
Pray daily. Pray all of the time. Prayer never hurts. You can pray about: your attitude, your children’s attitude, joy, gratitude, your spouse, etc. Bring it all to God and he will help you.
11. Know it’s okay to not enjoy every second of motherhood.
Please know it’s okay to not enjoy every second of motherhood. If you don’t enjoy every second, it DOES NOT make you a bad mom. Life is 50/50. There are good times and rough times. The rough times make the good ones so much better and richer. You don't have to enjoy it when your child is having a temperamental day and you don't have to enjoy changing their diapers. It's okay and normal.
12. Start a what’s going right list
Grab a notebook and write a list every single day about what's going right or what has gone right that day. This will help you jump out of negativity and create more gratitude and joy. Some things go right even though some days, you have to look harder than others.
Sometimes when I do this, I think this is a horrible day, and then when I start writing, I realize that way more good stuff happened that day than I realized. I took the handful of bad things that happened and blew them up and made them take over my day.
13. Don’t should on yourself
Don’t keep beating yourself up about what you “should” be doing. It doesn’t help. You can’t beat yourself up and think it’s going to change the situation.
14. Realize God’s plan
Realize God meant for you to be your children's mom. You were chosen to be their mother out of all of the other moms in the history of time. You are the one for the job. You are the one he placed in their life.
15. Don’t badmouth your kids to other people
Now, I’m not suggesting having your head in the clouds and act like your children are perfect angels, but don’t badmouth them to your friends. Don’t talk about them getting in trouble at school with everyone you encounter. It won’t help the problem. Now if you have a friend ahead of you in life (has older kids), ask them for Christian guidance. That’s constructive. Talking about how Junior flunked Math again and is going to send you to the crazy house doesn’t help Junior.
16. Spend one on one time with your children
Get to know your children. Ask what their thoughts and opinions are in situations. Ask them how you can help them. Go to their favorite movie. Take them to get their nails done. Read their favorite book to them. Spend a few minutes every day one on one with them and then maybe make a ½ day a month date just you and them.
17. Practice wanting what you already have
This one is a game-changer. Create a list of the things you already have that you want. This helps cultivate gratitude. I want to live in a house. I want to be married. I want to have two kids. I want to have one girl and one boy. I want to drive a Tahoe. I want to have a MacBook Air laptop. I want to have a dog. I want to have hardwood floors in my house. You get the gist. You can write down anything you want to.
Finding joy in motherhood can be a challenge because it is a choice and isn't voluntary. You have to work at it. It is long-lasting and will help you truly feel grateful for your life. You won’t be without struggles, but you will be able to appreciate your life on a different level.
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