As a stay at home mom, you can probably relate when I say that things can get lonely at times, and with this, we can find ourselves feeling unhappy. Along with these feelings of being lonely and unhappy, often comes an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
Our husbands go to work all day so that we are able to stay home and raise our kids. So we shouldn’t complain, we should be grateful for this amazing opportunity to be a massive part of our children’s lives, right?
Well yes, we should be grateful. And we are. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get lonely or have feelings of isolation which then leads to depression and/or anxiety.
What if I told you there is a way that you can thrive as a stay at home mom. You can be happier than ever and have significantly fewer days consumed by feelings of isolation and depression.
What if I told you that you can feel utter happiness, joy, and satisfaction as a stay at home mom.
Mommas it is possible to fully embrace and actually love your life at home. Keep reading to find out how to be happy as a stay at home mom and as a result, raise happy kids.
What Is Happiness?
First off, I want to start with the scientific definition of happiness, according to a professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside – Sonja Lyubomirsky.
She defines happiness in two parts:
- Your frequency of experiences with positive emotions
- Your sense of satisfaction in your life and with your progression towards your goals
Sonja says it’s essentially a combination of being happy in your life as well as being happy with your life.
Based on these two aspects, how would you rate your happiness on a scale of 1-10?
No matter what number you rate yourself, these tips I am about to share with you have been scientifically proven to raise your happiness score.
All it takes is some consistency and effort on your end, but I promise that you can see results, and I will show you how to be happy as a stay at home mom.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Unrealistic Standards
Easier said than done right? It seems everywhere you look nowadays, there’s some commercial or billboard boasting a beautiful woman with a blinding smile, flowing thick long hair, tan rejuvenated skin, with a drink in her hand. Sound familiar?
Well, let me just state the obvious. First of all, that billboard is fake. It’s all fake! The scene was created specifically to snap a great picture, which wasn’t great enough, because it still needed tons of editing, only to plaster it on the side of a busy highway to promote or advertise a product.
Instagram is a lot like this scenario. However, it makes it even harder not to compare because most of the people you follow, are people you know (or at least think you know). But what we often don’t realize, is that Instagram is a lot like the glowing model on the billboard.
Our Instagram friends (not always, but a majority) create a scene and put in a huge effort to capture the perfect shot, simply to post it to their feed, creating an over-exaggerated sneak peek into their lives.
Understandably, this makes it hard not to compare our lives to the snapshot we see of their lives. The important thing to realize here is that we get to choose the standard we compare ourselves to.
If we choose to compare ourselves to this billboard hottie, or to the perfectly manicured mom who always matches outfits with her daughter, and always appears to be so put together on your Instagram feed, then you won’t be happy.
The reason for this is that we have made up in our minds that other people are leading better lives than we are. Which in reality, isn’t even true.
Picture Perfect Or False Reality?
There’s an amazing podcast, which I highly recommend you listen to, called the Happiness Lab. Episode 2, really struck a chord with me. They give an example of how our happiness is based on our perspective, and how we compare ourselves to others.
In this example, they talk about the three Olympic medals and the people who have earned them. They surveyed a group of people and had them all look at pictures of three different medalists’. One who earned a gold medal, one who earned a silver medal, and one who earned a bronze medal.
The goal was to rate the medalists’ happiness on a scale of 1-10 (1 being agony and 10 being ecstasy) based on the face the medalists’ were making in the picture, the moment they received their medal.
Turns out, the bronze medalist averaged a happiness score of 7.1 and the silver medalist averaged a score of 4.8. I was shocked to hear that the bronze medalist, who finished last was rated closer to ecstasy, and the silver medalist was closer to agony.
The reason for this is that if you look at the bigger picture here, the bronze medalist is happier because they had two options. They could have earned the bronze medal, or they could have ended up not even placing. The fact that they earned the bronze medal, made them so happy because it was much better than the alternative of not placing.
The silver medalist on the other and, earned a score of 4.8, which is closer to agony, than ecstasy. The reason the silver medalists’ earned this score, is also because they had two options. They could have won the gold medal, or they could have earned the bronze medal.
Seeing as the silver medalists’, look at it this way, they realize that they could have potentially earned the gold medal, and in turn, they feel as though they have failed.
The craziest part of this entire survey is that as an outsider, someone who would simply be grateful to even make it to the Olympics, I thought it was crazy that someone could feel as though they failed for placing second in the world.
This proves just how powerful our minds are. In order to be happy, you need to change your perspective, be grateful for all the great gifts and talents you have and stop comparing yourself to others, or to what could have been.
For more resources regarding this silver medal theory, check out this article that was posted on Forbes.
Get Out Of The House
Want to be happy as a stay at home mom? Get out of the house.
Based on personal experience, I know it’s not that easy, and I know just how hard this one can actually be, and yet it seems so simple. All you have to do is leave the house, but some days, it just seems so hard.
There are days when I have so much to do around the house, that time slips away and 5 o’clock rolls around and I realize I haven’t even opened the front door all day. There are other days, where I have no excuse, other than packing up my toddler, wrestling her into her car seat, and driving somewhere just feels impossible.
Although these are both seemingly valid excuses in my mind, it’s definitely not impossible, and I have noticed a significant change in my mood and my overall happiness on the days when I leave the house.
There is something to be said for breathing in fresh air and feeling the sunshine on your face. It’s exceptionally refreshing.
So in order to be happier, and to raise happier kids, force yourself to get outside for 10 minutes a day. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a trip to the grocery store, or even if you just sit on your driveway and watch the cars drive by. Get outside, breathe some fresh air and feel the sunshine.
If you’re like me and you live somewhere that sees it’s fair share of cold snowy days, go for a drive and take a trip to a coffee shop and buy yourself and the kiddos a round of hot chocolate, or even take them sledding and build a snowman. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you make an effort to leave your house.
Talk To Strangers
I know, I know, we have always been taught, and still teach our kids, to never talk to strangers. But for the sake of our happiness, I’m breaking the rules on this one.
Going along with getting out of the house. Make the trip count. Interact with strangers that you meet throughout the day. Talk to someone in the grocery store line as you wait, or make conversation with the clerk as you check out.
Our society has grown so distant from each other thanks to the invention of automated machines. I know I’m guilty of avoiding long check-out lines and opting for the self check out lane.
While this does help our shopping experience to go quicker, we are missing out on vital human interaction that we fundamentally crave.
Humans are a social species and we thrive on social interactions. As a stay at home mom, we aren’t surrounded by colleagues or customers all day, like a normal job.
Instead, we spend most of our days somewhat isolated, in the house with our babies. Getting out of the house is a great start to boosting your happiness, but talking to a stranger significantly increases your happiness and elevates your mood.
Now, I understand some of us, including myself, are painfully shy introverts, and the thought of striking up a conversation with a totally random stranger, seems petrifying.
So to get past this, start simple. Pay someone a compliment. Find one thing you like about their outfit, or their hair, or their makeup, or their shoes (it doesn’t matter!) and let them know that you appreciate it, and be genuine about it, people can sense when a compliment is inauthentic.
They could respond with a simple thank you, or they could respond with a full-on story regarding how they came to own the jacket you complimented. You never know.
Remember, our happiness is based on an accumulative score of positive interactions we experience throughout the day, and positive interactions with strangers, score major brownie points when it comes to our happiness!
As humans, we crave to be a part of something, so when we feel isolated, or removed from a situation, we tend to feel less happy. This means that we are actually craving to share an experience with someone else.
As a stay at home mom, this can happen a lot where we feel out of the loop, or left out from society, because we are home with our children all day as opposed to working in an office surrounded by other people.
Without these random and even small interactions, we can feel very lonely.
So, as I mentioned previously, interacting with strangers can help immensely when it comes to banishing those feelings of loneliness and isolation, but what about our children?
Like I said, humans crave to be a part of something, and they crave the feeling of sharing an experience. This starts from the minute we are born. Have you ever noticed, that your newborn will try to catch your gaze and make eye contact? This is their way of sharing an experience with you. We literally crave this from the start.
So, as you are home with your children and your toddler has pulled on your pant leg for the last 10 minutes saying mom for the billionth time, take a break from whatever you are doing, and really live in that moment and share it with your little one.
They are craving that bonding moment with you to increase their overall happiness by sharing an experience with you.
In the same podcast that I mentioned earlier, The Happiness Lab (seriously go listen to it), they talk about a study where they had two groups of parents and their children. The experiment was to have the children point at an interesting object that they wanted their parents to look at.
In Group A, the parents would look at their child and then look at the object their child was pointing to.
In Group B, the parents would only look at the object their child was pointing to.
Over time, the children in Group B stopped pointing out the interesting objects to their parents.
This study shows that the children weren’t only interested in the strange objects, but they were more interested in sharing the experience of looking at the strange objects with their parents.
So, mommas, I know that throughout the day you are extremely busy and have a million things to get done, and at a moment’s notice, you could snap. But, try to remember that your little ones just want to spend time and share their life with you.
When your toddler is nagging and tugging on your pant leg, just take a moment to acknowledge what he is showing you. It only takes a second to boost his happiness and strengthen the bond you share. Doing this will not only increase your happiness score, but it will also increase your little one’s happiness score.
Work Towards Something
Just because you are a stay at home mom, does not mean that you can’t work. Now, when I say work, it’s all relative. You don’t have to earn money to work towards something.
One of the key components to rating our happiness comes from a sense of satisfaction with our lives, as well as experiencing positive emotions. In this case, the positive emotion I want to showcase is pride. Pride leads to satisfaction, which ultimately boosts our happiness.
When we have something to work towards, we feel a sense of pride or accomplishment (satisfaction) once it’s done, or even once we reach a significant milestone in the process.
For me, I chose to start a blog. Working on this blog has improved my overall happiness score immensely. It has given me something to work on, and to be proud of. Not only that, but it has helped build my self-confidence, and it has also constructively filled my time instead of wasting it mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (which is what I used to fill my free time with).
Choosing something to works towards is completely personal. For me, it was creating this blog, but for you, it could be working towards a fitness goal, or learning a new skill such as playing an instrument or learning photography. That’s the beauty of it, you get to choose.
As long as you are progressing and learning, you are becoming a better version of yourself and therefore become happier.
You Control Your Life, You Create Your Happiness
The search for happiness in our generation has begun to consume our thoughts. Depression, anxiety, and loneliness are at an all-time high.
The problem is, we don’t seem to understand that our journey to achieving happiness is so simple and it’s completely in our control.
The way our society is composed has caused us to lose sight of how much control we have over our lives. We have almost accepted defeat.
We scroll through Instagram comparing ourselves to others and create this false reality that other people are happier than we are.
We isolate ourselves and let our minds tell us that striking up a conversation in the grocery store check out line will be unbearably awkward. That is wrong. Everything our minds are telling us is wrong.
So, mommas if you really want to know how to be happy as a stay at home mom, then take charge of your own happiness, push past the comfort zone your mind has created and get off Instagram, get out of the house, talk to strangers, engage with your children, and work towards bettering yourself! I promise you’ll be happy you did.