Amongst this chaotic and often mundane journey we call motherhood, the joy of being a mother sometimes gets lost. It’s not always easy to find joy in the journey, but experiencing motherhood joy is certainly possible for all of us.
In this post, we explore some meaningful ways that help us realize the joy of being a mother, including important mindset shifts, how to keep gratitude at the forefront, and learning to create margins for ourselves in motherhood.
Motherhood is a wondrous journey in which we experience the purest form of love we could ever imagine.
Some say that being a mother makes you a better person or that there’s never a dull moment. In any case, it’s incredibly rewarding but also challenges us like nothing else, with amazing highs and soul-crushing lows.
The joy of being a mother is priceless when you experience it, but sometimes the joy of motherhood gets hidden among all the layers of responsibility, exhaustion, and expectations that come with along with it.
How do you feel joy in motherhood?
When we become mothers for the first time, we want to love it and are excited to experience its greatest joys and all the amazing things we’ve been told about being a mom. The love for our new baby is all-consuming and like nothing we could have ever imagined.
For some of us, the experience as a new mom is magical, but for a good many of us, it’s not. This is sometimes due to postpartum depression, which affects upwards of 1 in 7 women.
But more often than not, it’s simply due to the fact that being a mom is just about the hardest thing we’ve ever done.
We constantly worry that we are not doing a good job and the daily routine of caring for a new baby is overwhelming. Childcare duties can be stifling and there are many hard days full of dull moments and late nights. It’s no wonder we sometimes question whether this motherhood thing is right for us at all.
Logically, we know that motherhood is supposed to be a beautiful thing and we yearn to feel the joy of being a mother, but instead, we find ourselves struggling with it.
People tell us to “cherish every moment”, but when we’re in the thick of it, this feels nearly impossible. We’re simply trying to figure out the best way to make it through the day.
Realize that you’re not going to find joy in every moment and that’s normal.
Being a new mother is utterly exhausting and even as your kids get older and become less dependent on you for their every need, you realize that every stage of motherhood comes with its unique set of challenges.
Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs you’ve ever had and also wonderful all at the same time, but often all you can manage to feel at the end of a long day is how hard this journey really is.
It’s normal to feel this way. You’re not going to find joy in every moment of the day, maybe some days, not even at all, but try to find joy in some of the moments along the way, in the little things.
I like to call these your “heart moments”. They are as simple as the name implies – a moment that warms your heart and fills it with love.
Maybe it’s when you’re putting your little one in for a nap and you notice how soft her hair is and it gives you a warm feeling inside.
Perhaps it’s something really cute or funny that your son said that day or the extra long hug he insisted on giving you before he went off to school.
That’s your heart moment for the day – stop, pause, and absorb it.
They may feel few and far between, but don’t let them pass you by unnoticed because those are the moments that will remind you of the joy in motherhood.
Keep a written record of your heart moments.
You might not remember these heart moments from day to day, but if you stop to notice when you have them, I promise you’ll start looking for them more and more and this practice of noticing will have a great impact on shifting your perspective and allowing you to find more joy in your life.
AND if you take the extra time to write them down in a journal (or even in the notes section of your phone) and keep a record of your heart moments, you will benefit even more.
There are two reasons for this –
You can refer back to it in dark times.
By keeping a written record, you can refer back to it whenever you’re feeling down or things are particularly heavy.
We all go through difficult periods in which we have trouble finding the positive in our days. By keeping a record of all your heart moments, you will have something to look back on that is a wonderful reminder of all the good feelings and joyful moments you’ve experienced.
This written record of your heart moments is like keeping a gratitude journal for your motherhood journey and can serve to lift you up during trying times.
It will help you notice and create heart moments.
When we practice gratitude and make the effort to notice the good in our lives, it keeps positivity at the forefront of our minds, and in effect, we notice the good more and more and feel a greater sense of overall happiness.
This is because when we believe something is true, our brains seek out evidence to support it. This is a fundamental principle in a gratitude practice.
So once you start keeping a log of your heart moments and your brain is more attuned to them, you’ll find that it’s much easier to spot those moments. You will start to unconsciously look for them throughout the day and will find yourself naturally feeling more grateful for all the good you notice in your parenting journey.
Furthermore, because you’re aware of the fact that you’re keeping this little journal full of words of encouragement, not only will you be looking for heart moments throughout the day, but you will also find yourself engaging in activities with your children that will foster more of them.
You will start to create heart moments to notice. ♥️
Create margins for yourself in motherhood.
Creating margins for yourself is a big part of finding joy in your motherhood journey.
It’s all about learning how to prioritize yourself, take care of your needs, and bring joy into your every day so that you can feel more balanced, grounded, happy, and grateful.
Why is creating margins in motherhood important?
This is important because it’s all too easy to become consumed by motherhood and all its responsibilities and expectations.
I’m sure you have heard the expression “lost in motherhood” before because we often lose sight of who we are once we become mothers and struggle to maintain a sense of identity outside of this role.
When this happens, it’s much more likely to become burnt out and even start to resent your role as a mother.
How do you create margins in motherhood?
Find your happiness formula
One of the most important parts of creating margins in motherhood is to make sure you understand what you need to feel happy and then figure out ways to bring this into your day-to-day life.
The first step is to reflect on what combination of tools, habits, routines, and activities make you feel your best. This is your own personal “happiness formula” and it will be different for everyone.
For example, some of the things in my happiness formula are:
- My early morning ritual – waking up early to take care of myself 1st thing
- Joyful movement – exercising in some way every day but in a way I enjoy, that feels good to me (biking, walking, yoga)
- My journaling practice – regularly journaling for clarity and to process my thoughts and emotions
- Healthy food choices – knowing that I am eating nutritious foods makes me feel good about how I’m taking care of myself
If you’d like to explore this further, visit my post “How to Create a ‘What Makes You Happy List’, in which I explain how to come up with your happiness formula and the importance of finding what works for you.
Thread small and simple acts of self-care throughout your day
Another key element of creating margins in motherhood is to prioritize your self-care.
Self-care doesn’t have to be anything cumbersome that we need to spend a lot of time and effort on. All we really need to do is to establish habits and practices that make us feel good and find ways to seamlessly thread them throughout our daily routines.
Small and simple acts of self-care that you naturally weave into your daily rhythm can have a big impact on your mental and physical health, overall well-being, and your ability to experience motherhood joy.
These small acts of self-care can be as simple as making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals, checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling throughout the day, or taking a couple of minutes for mindful breathing.
Take ownership of meeting your own needs
Last, it’s important to prioritize your needs and take ownership of meeting them. Many of us struggle with mom guilt whenever we do something for ourselves, but by taking care of yourself first and foremost, you are actually doing the best thing possible for your family.
The bottom line is that as mothers, we need to create these margins in motherhood for ourselves because no one else is going to do it for us. And, if we are not able to do it for ourselves, it becomes that much harder to find joy in motherhood, or in our lives at all.
Although not always effortless, finding motherhood joy is certainly possible.
I hope that if you are struggling to find joy in your motherhood journey, this post has helped you see that it is possible for you to experience the wondrous joy of being a mother.
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former fashion industry executive turned blogger, who is on a journey to live life as the best version of herself. Through her website, littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice and heartfelt insights to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life.