5 ways to be {happier} at home

i have a love/hate relationship with staying at home with my kids. i know it's my calling and what i was designed to do. yet, i struggle with so much of the tediousness of the job. i can on any given day want to just quit. call in the temp. mama is taking a mental health day. but, alas, i can only call grandma so many times. 

don't get me wrong. mothering is the most amazing job i've ever held. the rewards are sevenfold. to see my children growing in front of me is a blessing and something i wouldn't want to miss for the world. but we've all had those days. days filled with explosive poop, whining {every mother's nemesis}, tears on everyone's part, tantrums, puke, and sibling fights that just might go to blows. it happens. sometimes every day, sometimes every now and then. but it's a part of parenting, and a big part of being a mom. how do we choose to face these days? 

i'll admit sometimes i do not face them as gracefully as i should. some days i drag my feet, complain at every corner, watch the clock till nap time, and call my mom. other days i see the beauty in the runny noses, and the sweet tears. to help me make it thru each day i have a list. a list to remind myself how to be happier and live graciously with my role as keeper of the home and mother. 

and, since it's always kind to share...

1. lose your expectations.
 very simple, yet one of the hardest to do. i used to struggle with so much frustration when things wouldn't go the way i wanted. when you have kids, i'll guarantee you it's probably not going to go the way you are imagining it to go most of the time. someone is going to wake up early, not eat their dinner you spent an hour on, and fight you at bed time. just expect that. 
  there may be those unicorns-dancing-on-a-rainbow moments. you'll be surprised to find them more often when you choose to live in grace and lose those expectations you put on yourself and family.
 now! here me on this though. i did not say don't have goals. you should have goals. for your children. for your home. for your marriage. but don't be so reliant on those goals that any deviation from them creates a sense of defeat. and!! i did not say to slack off and just let it all go to pot. you need to communicate to your husband what he expects to see when he gets home. have a humble conversation about realistic goals and then strive to meet those expectations. how do you do this with littles running around? grace and child labor. 

2. stop looking at others.
 blog world, pinterest and facebook are full of beautifully kept homes. filled with pictures of these moms who seem to keep it together, make an amazing dinner, entertain their children and educate them at the same time all while having a very happy husband and a rockin body. one of a few things is going on in these pictures. one, they are fakey faker pants. you don't see that their kitchen is clean because they moved all the crap onto the table behind them. or two, they are in a totally different life stage than you. maybe it's all genuine and their children are older and more self sufficient enabling them to prepare the meal and clean, all while the kids do their own homework and they get to work out in the morning after a full nights sleep. or, maybe they really are super mom. if that's you rock on, you get a gold star. 
 however, i am constantly comparing my home to those of others both in real relationships and the blog ones. i have to stop looking and envying. i have to stop looking and seeing only that they are doing it better. does it mean i stop looking at their blog or photos? no. it means i've learned to look with understanding eyes. and i look to enjoy, not to compare.

3. have a plan.
 this might seem contradictory to #1 up there, but let me explain. children thrive in routine and a predictable day. free time, though it does have a place, can be a major struggle for littles. i find that when i have a plan to our day we have a better day. when i get them up and it's just do what you want and "why can't you just play with your toys?" that's when we struggle. that's when we whine, and fight. when i have thought out the things we will do the next day and have done as much as i can to make it successful then we may just get to see a unicorn. 

4. play music.
  i love music. so do my children. in 10+ years of working with children i've never met one that didn't like music. i've always been one to have music on while cleaning, or working out (when i used to do that.), but now i find it's on all day. it helps change the mood when necessary. and you never know when a spontaneous dance party may break out. those are the best kind. 

5. have fun & laugh often.
  though our job as homemakers have very serious responsibilities tied to it, it is a job where we are free {and encouraged} to be silly, crazy, wacky, and all around fun. what would your kids do if you started to make lunch and only spoke in the swedish chef voice. or wake them up from nap time with balloons and a snack picnic. there are so many moment when we can have fun people. plain old fun. we've forgotten how as adults. we put expectations onto the kind of mom we should be by looking at all these other moms, all while we fail to see the child who looks at us as the best mom just as we are. stop and have fun. 
 my kids (almost 4, 17 months, 5 months) cry at the same time at least once every day. it's normal for me. and i have two choices. i can cry about it. or i can laugh at it. i choose to laugh at it. laugh at the silly. laugh at the stressful. laugh at yourself. i choose to laugh and find joy. i don't always do it well. and sometimes i need to go into the garage and have a mommy moment so i don't sell the kids, but i try so hard to laugh and not loose hope. 

so there it is. my list. i hope it helps encourage you in your everyday as it has me. now you tell me. what are ways you use to help you get thru the tough and mundane days?

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