We are three months in to my husband working two jobs (one full-time and one part-time), and it has been a difficult stage. We’re not sure when the end of his double employment will be, but hopefully he’ll be down to one job within the next couple of months. Right now, his “extra” job takes him away two evenings a week and then a full shift on Saturday.

Throughout the past three months, I have given a lot of thought to being a happy mom. As I wrote in my post about homeschooling during difficult seasons, the evenings have been tough. We make it through our homeschool day, and then there’s dinner to fix, messes to clean up, laundry to fold, baths to give, and no Daddy to help us get it all done! It’s really easy to fall into the pattern of focusing on all of the tasks that must be done and to just “get through the day” rather than living life with a joyful spirit.

I think that it’s really important to be a joyful mom. Before I had kids, I taught science to groups of homeschoolers. I always had the kids write in journals as a way to wrap up what we had studied that day. One day, we were studying sound and the sense of hearing, and I asked the kids to write about what sounds they liked or didn’t like. One seven year old girl wrote that she liked “the sound of Mommy being happy.” It struck me then, not even having kids yet, how much kids want their moms to be happy!

Being a Happy Mom

I have been realizing that being a happy mom involves a balance of two seemingly opposite thoughts.

Thought #1: It is difficult, if not impossible, to be a happy mom when I am exhausted and over-extended.

Our life is already fairly simple (because taking care of four boys is pretty much a full-time job!), but I have had to scale back even more during this time. I have learned that it is better to feed the boys sandwiches for dinner and to remain calm and happy than to cook and clean up a more interesting dinner and be exhausted and short-tempered. If we have errands to run or an event to get ready for, it’s best to just cancel school for the day. When I am under pressure to fit too many things into too little time, the temptation to be grouchy with my kids and their inevitable messes is just too great.

Thought #2: Our happiness is not really about the circumstances, but about who God is.

Ultimately, though, my happiness cannot depend on what is going on in my life. I try to plan for an hour of quiet in the afternoon in which the older two boys do something quiet by themselves while the younger two are napping because that hour of quiet really helps me to re-charge for the rest of the day. However, this doesn’t always happen! It’s good to take the opportunity to rest if I can, but if the baby wakes up screaming halfway through nap time, I can still be joyful and serve this little guy that the Lord has given me.

Our happiness should not depend on our circumstances but on God, who is always good and who is always working things out for our good. Scripture is full of examples of people (many of whom were in very difficult circumstances) joyfully praising God as they meditate on what is true about Him.

I will give thanks to the LORD will all my heart;

I will tell of all Your wonders.

I will be glad and exult in You;

Psalm 9:1-2

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

But he who trusts in the LORD,

lovingkindness shall surround him.

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;

And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

Psalm 32:10-11

Dwelling on the difficulties of life is the wrong perspective because God’s lovingkindness surrounds us! He is orchestrating the events of my life for good, not for my ruin, so there’s no reason to approach each day as if it’s drudgery.

I am not writing about being a happy mom because I have succeeding in becoming one. Rather, I am writing this post because I believe that becoming a happy mom is worth pursuing. God’s grace is enough for all of the challenges we face, and we can trust Him with a joyful heart!

13 Comments

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  1. joanne Feb 26, 2013

    thanks for that inspireing thought, it is hard to remember this on days that are not easy, but we should always be thinking this way!

    Reply
  2. Liz @ The Hesitant Housewife Feb 26, 2013

    I SO needed to read this tonight. I have 4 little boys and we homeschool. It was a TERRIBLE day. Just one fit or fight after the other...and to be honest, I wasn't helping :(

    My boys were VERY aware of my attitude. I need an adjustment by morning. Thank you for this!

    Reply
  3. Leslie / Cute and Peculiar Feb 26, 2013

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder. I have had a pitty party lately, I have two boys that are 1 and 2 yrs old and am pregnant. I have gone from positive, active mom to exhausted, grumpy mommy. Your last statement really spoke to me. I have definitely looked at days in drudgery rather than feeling blessed for what the Lord is doing in our lives. Thank you for the great post. Pinned.

    Reply
  4. Mel@TheDIzzyMom Feb 27, 2013

    This really spoke to me. I have recently begun to grow my relationship with God and have felt lighter and happier when I trust in Him and tell Him my worries and frustrations. When I let the negatives of daily life become the focus, I feel overwhelmed and angry. This post was a great read, thank you!

    Reply
  5. Hannah Feb 27, 2013

    Thanks for sharing how God has been teaching you! I've been convicted about the same thing lately as I keep catching myself viewing the kids as "automatic work generators" ;) rather than the blessings and reward they really are (Psalm 127)! It really takes perspective and purpose to ENJOY them each day.

    Reply
  6. Falon Feb 27, 2013

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder. In these long winter months it seems easy to dwell with a bad attitude. It's very apparent our kids pick up on it but it's not so easy to fix it. And you are exactly right, we can only count on God to help us find our true happiness. Thanks again. I loved this post.

    Reply
  7. Allison Feb 28, 2013

    Really great post Sarah, and it puts things into perspective for me. I am worn out, and my husband only works one job! I want my kids to remember me as a joyful mom. :)

    Reply
  8. Kristalyn (Learning is Messy) Mar 3, 2013

    thank you for writing this. thank you for saying, "i like to hear my mom when she is happy". i have been reading several parenting books lately to try to hone in on what i need to be happy; filling my own cup so i can give to my boys joyfully.

    Reply
  9. Ira Katherine Mar 8, 2013

    It's hard to praise God in the midst of the storm, but then again as Christians we must develop that attitude of praising and thanking Him regardless of the situation we are in. If there's one thing I only regret now, it is that I only get to read your article now. Thank you for being a blessing to another exhausted and short-tempered mom. :)

    Reply
  10. Katie May 12, 2013

    I was also struck by the line “i like to hear my mom when she is happy” - I have memories of my mom being happy and hope that my children have memories of me goofing off as well as being joyful while doing the tasks of motherhood. We're all happier when I'm happy and I'm in charge of that, not them! Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  11. Serena Sep 20, 2013

    I SO needed to read this this morning. I have been struggling with balance in my and my children's lives and a reminder like this about bringing joy into our days beyond what actually goes on is just what I needed. I definitely want to be remembered as a joyful, engaged and loving Mum!

    Reply
  12. Brandie Jan 23, 2014

    Thank you so much. I needed this. I was just thinking yesterday that sometimes life is so hard, what's the point. I have so much to be happy about and thankful for, yet I'm so tired that can't find joy in anything.

    Reply
  13. Steph Jan 23, 2014

    Thank you for good, challenging words!

    Reply

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