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Mom Adventures

10 Habits of Happy Moms

Easter (Sunny Side Up)

I hope all of you beautiful moms had a happy Mother’s Day on Sunday!  We had a nice low key day and it was fun being spoiled by my crew.  I was getting Kole ready for school this morning and he said “well.. are you sad mom?  Your special day is over.”  Ha!  Harsh right?  I looked at the breakfast dishes and thought yup.. back to reality. ;)

I’m going to detour quickly just today from home decor, organization and fashion so pop back in for my next post if you come here solely for those things!  I’ve been a mom now for over 15 years and while I hardly feel like that has made me an expert on the subject (right.. ha) I do feel like I have learned and grown so much since I brought my first sweet baby girl home from the hospital.  I was thinking a lot last week about motherhood and the ups and downs I’ve had throughout the years and if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s this: if you are a happy person, truly happy inside, you will be able to give your kids all that they need to be happy and feel loved and successful.  It’s really all about getting in a good place with yourself so that you can endlessly give back to your kids.  In the past 10 plus years I’ve been blogging I often get asked how I always seem to be so happy.  I assure you I have my not so sunny days!  We all do.  But overall.. I really am genuinly happy and there are things I work hard to prioritize that help me stay positive every day.  I’ve seen other happy moms with these same habits and wanted to share them with you.  We’ve all heard these things before, but if you’re a mom and are struggling right now (we have all struggled at one point or another!) really focusing on one or two of these things might help.  These habits have all helped me immensely in this journey of motherhood and have made me a better person overall.

1 – Pursue a hobby/passion/outlet – It’s so easy to lose yourself once you become a mom.  Being a mom is 24/7.. it never stops!  You need an outlet that is just for YOU.  Not something that involves your kids or spouse.  When my girls were around 2 and 4 years old I felt so lost.  I was a stay at home mom and I loved it, but it was hard being home with my little girls all day and Kenny was so busy at work.  I had always loved writing and taking pictures so I started blogging as a fun outlet in the evenings when my girls were asleep and Kenny was still working.  I also spent their nap time scrapbooking as a creative outlet and I joined a gym with a great daycare and started taking aerobics classes a few times a week because in high school and college I loved dancing.  I looked forward to those outlets every day and when I was doing those things I felt more like myself than I had in a long time.  Doing things I loved each day gave me a boost so that the rest of the time when I was on mom duty I was happy and in a good mood and could handle all the things my girls dished out.  9 princess dress outfit changes a day?  Pulling your sister’s hair?  Fishy crackers all over the floor?  No biggie.. bring it on. ;)  What do you love to do that makes you feel excited and alive?  Take a salsa or tennis class, bake desserts, try out for a part in a community play.. whatever it is that brings you joy and happiness outside of being a mom – do it!  You can’t wait for when things “calm down.”  Things NEVER calm down when you have kids (another truth I’ve learned!).  Schedule time in your calendar for your hobby/outlet and then stick to that appointment for yourself like you would for a doctor appointment!  It doesn’t mean you don’t prioritize your kids.  You can be completely there for them and still have something for yourself.  You might have to cut out some TV time or a little sleep (unless those are your happy outlets.. ha!) but you can make it happen if you care enough to make it happen.

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Life with my girls before little brother came along. :)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

(I know some of you originally found me because of my early scrapbooking posts!)

2 – Stay productive – Everyone might not feel this way, but I know for me that I’m so much happier when I feel productive.  Days when I accomplish something are always good days for me and as a direct result of my good day I’m more patient and upbeat with my kids.  It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as cleaning out a junk drawer.  I just feel happy when I feel like I’ve accomplished something that I care about so I make sure to plan my day and always allow time for the to-do’s that are important to me.  I don’t mean just being busy and putting out fires all day!  Cleaning the kitchen for the 6th time doesn’t count. :)  I mean setting aside time to focus and get something done that is on my goal/priority list so that when I’m spending the rest of the day doing mom activities I still feel accomplished. Not that the mundane mom duties aren’t important!  They are.  But sometimes they can feel.. mundane. :)

(Now that my kids are in school this is easier, but when they were little we would always have “nap/quiet time” in the afternoon and they went to bed earlier at night so I used those times to accomplish things that were important to me.  I would also organize our home while my kids were playing in the same room they were in.  I was spending time with them while also getting something done that was important to me.)  

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up) 
3 – Exercise – Honestly moving every day even if it’s just for 20 minutes makes such a HUGE difference for me when it comes to my mood.  That endorphin rush is real!  I love to start my day with a quick walk/run or exercise class or something.  It immediately puts me in a better mood and makes me happy.  We all know that when we look and feel better about ourselves we behave better to the people around us.  When my girls were little I loved taking them for walks in our jogging stroller (seriously a good jogging stroller is the best investment you can make when you have small kids!).  Fresh air also does wonders for your mood.

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Ellie and I went on walks every morning.  Getting outside was a huge help to me in those early years of motherhood!  

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Really all of my kids lived in jogging strollers. :)

The best for me is when I can exercise with a friend or two which leads me to my next tip..

4 – Prioritize time with friends – Moms.. this is HUGE.  It’s so important to surround yourself with friends who are going through similar mom struggles.  Spending time laughing and venting with close friends about the ups and downs of life with kids is hands down the best therapy out there!  You can gain so many ideas from each other and more than anything it just helps to know that you’re normal!  You’re not going crazy.. your struggles are real and common to most moms.  Spending time with friends is such a happiness boost and I can always tell by my mood when I’ve gone too long without girlfriend time.  If you don’t have a close circle of mom friends get out of your comfort zone and create one!  When I quit teaching to stay home with Ellie I was so lonely.  We had just moved into a new city and a new neighborhood and all of the friends I had made in San Diego were working.  I had seen young kids in our neighborhood but didn’t know anyone.  Feeling depressed and lonely one day I made flyers.  Flyers you guys!  I’m not kidding.  Although I kind of wish I was. ;)  I hung them on all of the mailboxes in our neighborhood and delivered them door to door.  They said “If you have kids come to the cul – de – sac at 4:00 on Thursday!  Kids can play and moms can chat!”  I was SO nervous no one would come!  I took Ellie who was about 14 months old at the time and went to the cul-de-sac Thursday at 4:00 and to my relief 4 other moms came with small kids!  We all met and had so much fun getting to know each other while the kids played.  We decided we’d meet the next Thursday too.  People in the neighborhood saw us and started hearing about our group in the cul-de-sac and before long we had about 15 moms and over 30 kids meeting once a week for the neighborhood play date.  We met every Thursday for years!  We all became close friends and even though now most of us have moved out of that neighborhood we still keep in touch and get so excited to see each other.

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

(I couldn’t find a picture of us all in the cul-de-sac even though I know I have one!  But this was dinner with a few of my neighborhood mom friends over 10 years ago.  We also started doing moms night out once every other month too!)

I honestly think about our playgroup and can’t believe I dared to initiate it all!  But I did and having mom friends when my kids were little truly saved me.  I really believe that you get back from this world what you put into it so get out there and make new friends.  Invite someone to lunch or invite a couple of moms to meet you at a local park.. make flyers if you have to!  Just put yourself out there, find your tribe and then be there for them and their kids.  Because they will be there for you and yours and having close friends like that will bring a lot of happiness into your life.  (On a side note.. it’s so important to choose your friends wisely!  Spend time with people who work hard, are positive and uplifting and who truly want what’s best for you and your kids.  Stay away from moms who are all about gossip, competition and negativity.)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

So grateful for all of my amazing friends!

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Me with 3 of my besties.  We thought we deserved pedicures and diet cokes last week for mother’s day.  I think we were right. :)

5 – Prioritize your marriage – This is so important and can be such a struggle when you have kids.  It’s so easy to lose sight of the relationship you and your husband have with each other when kids come into the picture.  They have a way of taking over and monopolizing every minute of your life!  There’s the obvious solution to schedule date nights but I think it’s also important to find other ways to squeeze in alone time with your spouse.  Kenny and I have always loved going on walks or hikes together.  We try to fit in a quick walk whenever we can.  Sometimes it’s on a week night during a quick 50 minute break in-between driving our kids to activities.  Sometimes it’s early on a Saturday morning before our teenage girls wake up while Kole watches cartoons.  Whenever we have to run quick errands on weekends we go with each other and leave the kids home as much as we can.  Any extra time we can sneak in together is precious because with three kids we are usually in divide and conquer mode going in different directions.  Costco runs are more fun with each other and just spending any time together to laugh and talk and not think about the kids is a good thing!  We were just talking today about how we need to schedule more quick over night trips together on weekends.  It’s hard to get away when you have kids and so many activities going on.  We’ve found the key is scheduling it in advance and then prioritizing it.  If you can’t afford a sitter work out a trade with a close friend.  We used to do that a lot when my girls were little!

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Getting together with other couples is also something we want to prioritize more.  So nice to take a night off from being mom and dad and just relaxing with couple friends!  

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

6 – Take care of yourself – I feel more strongly about this every year!  It really is just re-iterating the things I mentioned above, but honestly.. you can only be the best mom to your kids if you feel good yourself.  Drink water, exercise, get enough sleep (my constant struggle I’m trying to prioritize this year!), make time for things you love.  If you don’t do things like this often you might feel a little selfish when you start prioritizing yourself.  Moms are used to taking care of everyone else first.  But I promise.. the more you focus on fitting in the things you need to feel happy the more you’ll see what a positive impact it has on your whole family.  You’ll be less snappy and won’t feel exhausted and resentful when so many things fall on you.  Because let’s face it.. a lot falls on mom every day!  Tell yourself that when you’re taking care of yourself you are really taking care of your family too because you absolutely are.  You’ll be able to give them your best self instead of your tired, overworked exhausted self.

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

I try to take a bubble bath once a week!  (Usually on Friday nights.)  It’s one of my favorite ways to relax. 

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

I light my candles and dim the lights and just soak. :)  I always feel so happy and relaxed after a hot bath!  

7 – Don’t compare –  This is hard to do but honestly the quicker you learn to not compare yourself to other moms the happier you’ll be.  No good comes from comparison!  Everyone is different with different life situations and different kids and we all have different strengths and weaknesses.  It’s so important to focus on what you’re doing right and take the pressure off of yourself!  I have a good friend who fixes her kids a big homemade breakfast every day.  Eggs, pancakes.. all the things!  My kids have been raised on cereal and instant oatmeal and get homemade breakfast on special weekends when dad is in the mood to cook. :)  I feel no shame!  And while my friend is certainly a better cook than I am, I don’t think she’s a better mom because she cooks more.  We are both good moms in different ways.  My kids might not wake up to a homemade meal every morning, but they do wake up to a huge hug and smile and a note in their lunch box and they know how much they mean to me.  Just love your kids!  Be there for them.  Do the best that you can and don’t worry about what other moms are doing.  Blogs and IG and Pinterest are so great for ideas and inspiration but if you’re following moms who make you feel like you aren’t doing a good job stop following them.  Stay in your lane and focus on being the best mom you can.  Comparison will never make you happy.  Or make you a better mom.  It’s not about being a “perfect mom” anyway.. it’s about being the perfect mom for your kids and only YOU can do that.

8 – Focus on the positive – Every single day is full of ups and downs.  It’s completely up to us to decide what to focus on.  I’m so grateful my mom was a positive, upbeat person and focused a lot on gratitude when I was growing up because it’s something that comes easily for me now.  You know the movie “Inside Out” with the cute girl Riley who moves to a new city and her emotions are the characters?  We love that movie and every time we watch it my kids tease me about being so much like “Joy” – always trying to cheer everyone up and point out the bright side of every situation.  (We have jokes about who everyone else in that movie represents in our family too. :)  I’m sure I annoy my kids that way but I feel like it’s something they have to learn!  This blog is called Sunny Side Up for a reason. ;)  I really think focusing on the positive is so important if you want to be truly happy.  I went through a really hard season before we had kids when my husband was in law school and we were living on the east coast.  I was teaching school and working jobs after school to keep us out of debt.  Kenny was studying around the clock and I was so homesick for my family and friends and life before we moved.  I decided to keep a gratitude journal because I felt so depressed and negative and it helped me immensely!  I know gratitude journals sound cheesy but you guys.. I’m not kidding.  Actually having to write down things you are grateful for really helps shift your focus.  Life is full of difficult and sad things but it’s also full of fun and wonderful things.  So is motherhood.  Choose every day to focus on the positive things.  It’s a choice you have to deliberately make.  I recently bought this gratitude journal (it’s my current favorite) if you think something like that might help you.

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

(Similar glass jars)

Gratitude jars are also great if you want to involve your kids in focusing on one thing they are grateful for each day.

9 – Establish routines and teach your kids to pitch in – Moms have a million things on their plates every day and we all know how hard it is to focus when the house is a mess and there is no order.  Also kids thrive on routine (especially young kids) so if you’re feeling like your mornings, days or evenings are stressful, take some time to look at your schedule and create some routines and order for your day.  It’s amazing how just getting a routine down for something like laundry can be life changing for your sanity!  I’ve had to do this so many times and as my kids get older and our schedule changes I have to keep tweaking our home routines so that there is a flow to our day and things get done around the house.  It’s hard to teach kids to help around the house because we (meaning all moms) can usually do it so much faster and better, but I’m telling you.. you have to take the time to teach them!  Now that my kids are older and I’m working more it is such a life saver to have their help with cleaning and laundry.  Plus kids need to learn those skills for when they have their own homes someday.  These expectation charts I shared on my blog last summer are a perfect way to get your kids helping around the house and summer is a great time to start if this is something you feel like you need more of in your life!  There have been many times that re-adjusting our routines and getting my kids to pitch in and help more has made all the difference for me and my mood!  And mom’s mood usually sets the tone. :)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Anything that becomes a struggle I create a routine for!  This was my system for dealing with outfit drama every morning with my girls when they were younger. :)  

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Our Daily Expectation Charts!  The one on the left is for younger kids and the one on the right is for older kids.  You can download them for free here.  I’m definitely printing these out again in a few weeks when my kids get out of school.  We loved using them last summer.  I guess I should say I loved using them last summer.  Not sure if my kids were as enthusiastic as I was about them. ;)

10 – Spend quality fun time with your kids –  This is such an obvious thing to do but I’m always amazed at how hard it can be to carve out quality FUN time with each of my kids.  Between all of the school stuff and activities and work and  “Did you eat your breakfast?  Clean your room!  Start your homework!” There are SO many things to keep track of and so many things we have to nag our kids about all day.  I really have to focus every day on just relaxing and looking for time to spend with my kids having fun with them.  Sometimes we can do a special lunch or go on vacation, but mostly it’s important to find little pockets during regular, ordinary days when you can connect on their level.  For me this usually means listening to hip hop music in the car with my teenager and dancing together (trying to ignore all side glances at the stop light) or watching a quick TV show with Ad on the couch because she’s my child who loves to just be together and cuddle.  Or playing ball with Kole for 10 minutes in the hallway and listening with my FULL attention about his latest favorite video game and how he dominated level 4.  It’s not always easy!  Sometimes it’s hard to stop and cuddle on the couch when there is a sink full of dishes and I could care less about Plants vs. Zombies!  But I love my kids and they need my time and attention.  Even though I don’t always enjoy the things they enjoy, getting on their level and showing them that I care about them and the things they care about is what builds a good relationship with them.  Plus just laughing and having fun with my kids takes the stress out of the every day.  Laughing, talking, hugging, spending quality time with them.. often it’s in those moments that I really enjoy my role as a mom and feel so grateful for my kids.

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

Couldn’t love these 3 more!

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

One other truth I’ve learned over the past 15 years?

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

They grow up pretty fast!

Ten Habits of Happy Moms (Sunny Side Up)

So you might as well buckle up and enjoy the journey. :) 

xoxo, Erin
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52 thoughts on “10 Habits of Happy Moms

  1. Erin-
    This post is so good! Even left me teary eyed & those are your children all grown up! LOl But its a reminder that our girls are growing up so fast too. On Mother’s Day, My girls and I looked up past Mother’s Day pictures-their 1st Mother’s Day etc…Leaves a lump in my throat.

    I think we could be sisters(from a different mom of course-unless your mom wants to adopt me – I’m potty trained & just need hugs on occasion) . Haha! I LOVE to organize & always have. I just cleaned our silverware drawer the other day & you would have thought I climbed Mt Everest. I dreaded opening that drawer up & now,the angels sing when its open. I (finally) bought bins with compartments for our girls bathroom drawers.I think it took all of 8yrs to get that job tackled( I can’t believe I just admitted this). But they have an organized space for everything they need & are using it. I even go in there just to see it when their at school b/c I’m so proud of myself…and its nice to see an organized drawer :)

    I think the gratitude jar is a wonderful Idea! I’m trying my best to instill positive attitudes with our girls. Our teen can be slightly negative(maybe goes with the age at 14) especially about school & homework But whats crazy is she still comes out swinging with the honor roll. This Jar has her name all over it.

    I did exactly what you said & started learning to sew then lead me to machine embroidery a few years ago! I love creating personalized pretty.little. things. I turned it into a small business.I can’t believe how much happiness I create for myself when I make things for others that they love! Making others happy is what I love to do best & laugh. can’t leave that out! I highly encourage any mom to try something new!

    I really enjoyed this post! I could go on & on & on but I will save you some time and sanity.
    I hope you have a wonderful day today!

    1. Jennifer! I don’t even know where to start because I love everything you just mentioned! I love that we have so much in common and I can tell you my mom would give you a huge hug and welcome you on over in a heart beat! Ha! ;) Seriously isn’t organizing the best pick me up!? And don’t feel ashamed to admit how long a project took you. That is me and my closet! It’s such a hot mess and I feel like we’ll be in this house 10 years before I prioritize it! Maybe this summer. You are motivating me! :) I LOVE that you found a happy outlet that brings you joy. That is HUGE! It really makes all the different in motherhood and life in general. Thank you so much for your fun comment! I loved getting to know more about you! And yes btw.. moodiness with teens is totally normal but will drive you crazy anyway. Hang in there! The struggle is real. ;) Thank you again Jennifer! Loved hearing from you! xo

  2. Love this post Erin! As I was reading this I can see how most of it can apply to just about any woman whether they’re a mother or not. I think of myself who’s not a mother but still would need time spent with other women, find my own hobbies/interests, exercise, etc. to be able to be a positive person that my husband would enjoy being with. Thank you for posting!

    1. Thank you so much Debbie! I completely agree! Most of these habits are really just LIFE habits and ways we can all be happy day to day. I’m so happy you enjoyed this post! xo

  3. Every word is so true in this post Erin. I think no matter what stage you are in life you have to carve out time for yourself and prioritize. We are only as good to others as we are to ourselves. I loved reading this post. Until I got to the end. Then the tears fell. It does go by so fast. And is it crazy that I remember your babies that little? Time goes by quickly when your having fun! xo

    1. Cathy! Thank you! It really is crazy how quickly they grow up. I shed a tear almost every time I look at my kids’ baby pictures! Love that line you shared “we are only as good to others as we are to ourselves”.. so much truth to that. I’m so happy you enjoyed this post and I am so grateful you have been with me so long! I love that we are such close friends and haven’t even met in real life! Even though I feel like we have. :) So grateful for our friendship! xo

  4. Love this post, Erin!! My husband and I have been trying to start a family and this was wonderful advice to read and keep in mind for the future!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Kaitlin! Thank you and best of luck getting your family started. Such an exciting time! :) xo

  5. This is such a thoughtful and well written post. As a mom of a 21 year old son and 17 year old daughter I found this all very relatable. Really wonderful advice and much needed reminders for parents with children of any age. Enjoyed reading this! :-) And yes, they do grow up so fast!

    1. Thank you so much Tina! I’m so happy you liked this post! And happy it was relatable with older kids too. Isn’t it crazy to have kids as old as we do now? Everyone tells you how quickly it goes by but when you’re in the thick of it it feels like it lasts forever. Until one day all of the sudden you have one in high school and think WOW.. how did that happen!? :) Loved hearing from you today! xo

  6. What an awesome post, Erin! I’ve followed you for years, and love your organization posts! And you’ve made your home so beautiful and welcoming.. But your positivity has always drawn me to your site the most. Now in my 17th year of parenting, and my oldest going off to college in the fall, I’m finding myself a bit lost. Your #1 tip in this post is something I’ve definitely put on the back burner, and if anyone else out there is reading this…make it a priority to pursue something that is just for YOU. Yes, I’ve had that part-time job and lucky enough to work from home, and yes, I’ve really tried incorporating all of the other things on your list into my life…but I think just going through those motions and not forcing yourself to do something that brings serious joy to your life outside of family life can leave one feeling like, who am I outside of mom? I know this is a bit rambling, but know that your positivity and words today have given me so much to think about and start implementing in my life as my world will start changing in the fall! Wishing you a great day here in Sunny (finally!) San Diego!

    1. Susan I absolutely loved everything you just shared! First of all I will be sending all the tissues your way in the fall! It just comes so fast and I will be in your shoes in just a few short years. I’m sure so many feelings and emotions are wrapped up in that life adjustment.. I know there will be for me too. I think this happens to SO many moms and I’ve seen it happen to close friends of mine. It’s hard to pursue something for ourselves when we are so busy working and taking care of our family! The good news is that it’s never too late and with your oldest leaving you will have time to find yourself again. Such a happy, fun time of life even though it will be hard and sad too. I think the adjustment just takes time. My older friends have learned to love the stage they are in now with kids moved out! I hope that we will get there when it’s time too. :) Thank you for sharing Susan! I loved hearing from you! And yes.. thank goodness for a little sun today! :) xo

  7. Ok this post brought me to tears. Our daughter graduates from high school in a couple of weeks. To be perfectly honest, I am going to be lost when she leaves for college. She is our only child, and my husband and I have dedicated our lives to her. I don’t have any regrets, because she is one amazing young lady. But the adjustment is going to be tough. There is no one I like to be with as much I love being with her. We opened a women’s fitness center together last year, so we even work together. I guess now I may have time for those nice spa days (:

    1. Susan! Oh no.. I didn’t mean to make you cry! But I would be reaching for ALL the tissues too if my daughter was graduating this year! I think the adjustment is so hard for most moms.. even if you have been good at prioritizing things for yourself. It’s just the end of an era and so crazy that all of the sudden they are so independent. I get sad thinking about that stage too, but keep reminding myself that I’ll still see my kids (hopefully you’ll still see her LOTS!) and yes.. time for spa days and all the things you didn’t have time for before. And a fun time for you and your husband to be together! But an adjustment for sure. I wish I lived closer and could take you to lunch and cry with you! A close friend of mine just went through this and it was hard at first for sure, but months later she was doing great and really enjoying life. Sending all the hugs your way. I’ll be thinking about you! xo

      1. I would totally take you up on that lunch if we lived closer together. I will celebrating my precious girl and her accomplishments, and trusting God to direct both of our futures. Be blessed and thanks for the great blog content!

  8. Erin,

    I read every post of your blog, but I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite posts of all time! So many good tidbits. I currently have a 4 year old son and 1 year old daughter and I am LOVING every second of it (despite the hard things…like the fact that my sick daughter woke up 4 times last night :( ). So glad I’m learning what it takes to be a happy mom now so I’m not sabotaging this time with my kids and am able to enjoy every stage. Thanks for your words of encouragement to all of us moms!

    1. Julia! It made me so happy to hear that you loved this post! Thank you. Honestly that means so much to me. I’m also so happy to hear that you are loving motherhood. It really is the best. Hard! And often full of sleep deprivation (ha) but the best. :) Thank you so much for your sweet comment! xo

  9. Thank you so much Erin for this awesome post. I have been following you for years and always find your advice and activities and depth of sharing inspirational. I agree with another comment above that this is your all-time best post—something for everyone and so much wisdom. You are indeed a “sunny” person who brings so much joy to others.

    1. Ginny that was such a kind and sincere compliment.. it almost made me cry! I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and for hanging with me for so long. Means a lot. :) xo

  10. Hi Erin!
    I loved this post so much!! It made me both laugh and cry!! The part where you put flyers on doors in order to meet other mothers with children in your new neighborhood sure tugged at my heart! We moved to a new town when our daughter was 10 years old,. it was the beginning of summer, so school was out; she was very lonely for friends, so I took her around door to door looking for playmates. We found several, and they ended up becoming very good friends for years to come!
    I am so grateful for your blog and all the things you talk about. You are such an incredible mother to your children, and you have a wonderful family.
    Jane Carden

    1. Jane I love that you took your sweet 10 year old around to find friends! You are an incredible mother too and you have shown so much kindness to me through the years. Always leaving the sweetest, heartfelt comments. It speaks volumes about you and your character. I’m grateful for you! People like you make blogging so much fun and I’m incredibly grateful you stop by and spend time with me here. Thank you sweet friend! xo

  11. Loved this post! My “babies” are 16 and 18, but this post still applies. I’ve been feeling a little down lately, and these are all great ideas even just for life! When I was a stay-at-home mom, one of my goals was to read the newspaper every day so I had something to talk about other than poopy diapers! That worked well for me, but I wish I had taken more time for myself back then. Anyway, thank you for your positive outlook and sharing it with us!

    1. Beth I completely agree! These things are helpful regardless of the stage we are in and really whether or not we have kids! I love your goal! If my mom was here she would tell me I need to take on that advice because I am always clueless with what’s going on in the news.. ha! She calls and fills me in on world events all the time. :) Thank you Beth! I’m so happy you enjoyed this post and am sorry you’ve been feeling down lately. I hope you feel more like yourself soon. Sending a huge hug your way! xo

  12. Nice list, Erin! I am in the next phase of life— our 4 kids are in their thirties and have toddlers and babies of their own. From my vantage point, I agree with your points and would add a couple more: find meaningful volunteer opportunities. I enjoy the boards I’ve been part of, driving a Meals on Wheels route, serving on church committees, etc.. It was a great way for this stay at home mom to meet people and have my own thing. My second recommendation is something I WISH I’d done: spend one on one time with each child. I had four kids in four years, including twins so the first few years were about surviving! When I got a sitter, it was to go out with friends, go to meetings or just grocery shop.. I should have gotten a sitter for 3 kids and gone on an outing with each one of them periodically. They are all excellent adults so it all turned out okay in spite of not a lot of individual attention.

    1. Love your ideas Maureen! I agree.. volunteering can be so good for your soul and for meeting people! Definitely something to look into doing more as the kids get older and more independent. I love serving in my church too. And yes.. one on one time is important, but having 4 kids in 4 years is a different beast all on its own! I’m so impressed you survived and no doubt you needed those breaks when you had a sitter! Your kids might not have had as much one on one time but how amazing to grow up with siblings that close in age. Kole gets lots of one on one time with me but I sometimes wish I could have had one more to be close in age to play with him! He is on his own a lot with two older sisters who are in a totally different stage. We all just do the best we can I guess! Sounds like your kids turned out amazing and no doubt it’s because they had an amazing mom. :) xo

  13. Erin, I LOVE this post. I love all your posts, but this one spoke volumes to me. I follow you because of how real and happy I can tell that you are. I am the same. I am literally one of those people who genuinely loves being alive. You are too. Thank you for your words of wisdom. Thank you for being real and teaching us how to find joy. I loved your post so much about having fresh flowers throughout your home. I do that now. My favorite coat ever is the green TopShop coat your posted from Nordstrom. Your lists are better than Oprah’s. Love ya tons. ☀️🌷

    1. Melissa! I feel like we are long lost sisters! It means so much to me that you love my posts and I’m still in love with that green TopShop coat too! :) Your comment made me so happy. I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and for reading. Love ya tons back. ;) xo

  14. Hi Erin

    I have been following you for a few years over here in the UK and I really needed your post yesterday. My 3 girls are around the same age as your children so your posts are always relevant to the stages that I find myself in on this journey of motherhood. This is the best post that I have read on your blog (and you have many great posts) because it is so real! I have read it over about 3 times to take in all the fab advice and tips. I also love your organisational posts/ tips and your home is beautiful! I have even shown your blog to my older girls to inspire them to try to organise themselves (small steps ;)) – my eight year old is not so much into tidying and organising. I know that I will revisit this post many times to remind myself that it is ok not to be perfect all the time and to stay positive and grateful because before too long they will be all grown up!.

    Caroline x

    1. Thank you so much Caroline! Your sweet words made me so happy. It means a lot to me that my blog and this post have been helpful to you! And I love that your 3 girls are similar ages! So much in common for both of us. Small steps with the organizing for sure. Especially with kids! We take it one step at a time over here too. :) Thank you again Caroline. Such a heartfelt comment.. I loved hearing from you today! xo

  15. Erin, this is a fantastic post! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it out and share it, along with your wonderful pictures. I truly appreciate all the advice and suggestions. My older daughter graduated high school on Monday and with it being so close to Mother’s Day, I had all the feelings of wow, how did this happen so fast! I’ve done some of the things you suggest over the years, , especially when my girls were younger. Got together with other moms, moms night out, that kind of thing. You are so right, it helps SO much! Even as my daughters started high school, I got involved with the band parent group. What a blessing that has been. Now that I work outside the home again, life is pretty hectic, but it will change again as my daughter heads into college. Commitments and schedules will definitely be changing. I really, really appreciate your focus on being positive and grateful. I’m finding myself focusing on those practices more and more. Yes, I like to read your posts for tips on organizing and fun finds, but mostly I like your posts for your wonderful uplifting and encouraging personality and the beauty that shines from your love of life, family and your friends. Thank you for all that you do and share! You’ve helped me in more ways than I can ever express. Grateful thanks and big hugs to you!

    1. Jeanne! I’ve been thinking of you! She did it! Graduated high school. Oh my word.. such a huge milestone for your family. Congratulations! Having it that close to mother’s day would absolutely bring up so many feelings. I want to mail you a box of tissues! Change is another constant of motherhood isn’t it? We are always having to adapt to each new stage our kids are in and it’s hard! I know change is hard for me. But I agree.. focusing on the positive and being grateful helps so much. You have helped me so much Jeanne. There have been so many days when your thoughtful, sincere comments were just what I needed to hear. I’m so grateful for your encouragement and support! Thank you. Give your daughter a huge hug for me! And pat yourself on the back. :) xo

  16. Great post Erin! I’ve been reading your blog for years, your very inspiring! Hats off to this post!!! Thank you for blogging 🤗

  17. Erin, this is such a thought out post with excellent advice.
    As a Mom of two boys, now 18 and 20, I have incorporated many of the things on your list, but some that I wish I paid more attention to are: Keeping your marriage a priority. As with many Moms, my kids always came first and I wish I would have casted a little more light/focus on my husband. Now that our youngest is heading off to college, we can focus a bit more attention on ourselves as a couple. Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask for “help”. We sometimes do so much for others and for our kids and family that we sacrifice our own happiness at times. Don’t let yourself get to the end of your rope, before asking for help from your older kids, spouse, friends etc. I had a tendency to do it all on my own and would always have a “breaking point”, that resulted in unhappiness or straight out frustration. Lastly, and I know many of the younger Moms are doing this already, but have the “tough” talks with your kids/teens about things that will impact their life in every aspect…i.e. sex, porn use in boys/men, building authentic/true friendships/relationships and not substituting screen time/social media for those true relationships. In this world of “virtual life”, it is really easy to see how some can stray from having true friendships and relationships. Much love to all you Moms/Women!!

    1. Sandy it’s crazy how much I hear that! Women wishing they would have prioritized their marriages/husbands more. It’s such a difficult thing to do when our kids take up so much of our energy and time but I agree.. so important! And yes! Ask for help! I actually thought of that and one more tip but my post was already so long I left them off.. ha. I’m so glad you brought that up here! We all need help. There is no way to do it alone without completely losing your mind. I also agree about having ALL the tough talks. I think we are much better about that these days than our parents and grandparents! So many difficult things we have to talk about and teach our kids. Thank you so much for your insights! I loved your comment. I’m happy for you.. such a great time of life for you and your husband to get to enjoy each other and have fun together. :) xo

  18. Thank you SO much for this post. Puts so much into Perspective for me. I needed this. My baby is graduating high school next week and leaving to earn money for the summer to serve a full time mission in Mexico for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been worried about my role as a mom now, and selfishly I am sad because that part of being a “kids at home” mom is over. I appreciate your advice to take care of me and renew a Love for my hubby. I am excited for that.

    1. Barbara I think it’s so normal to feel sad and a little lost when your kids move out! Not selfish at all. Congratulations on the mission.. that’s so exciting! I have no doubt you’ll hit your stride and really enjoy more time for yourself and your husband. Part of me is a little jealous.. ha! ;) Thank you so much for your kind comment! xo

  19. Hi Erin, I’m a long time reader, first time commenter! Thank you for this post and for sharing, this really resonated for me- as a mother it’s good to be reminded there’s no need to feel guilty about investing in your own happiness! Might sound a bit strange but ive heard the concept likened to plane travel warnings before too, that is you need to fit your own oxygen mask before that of your children (so then you are in a position to help them)! Thanks again and would love to see more posts like this!

    1. Hi Claire! Thank you so much for reading and stopping by today to comment! It’s so nice to “meet” you. :) I’ve heard that analogy before too and love it. It really is true. How can we be any good to others when we are exhausted and frazzled? So absolutely do not feel guilty! I’m so happy you enjoyed this post. :) Thanks again! xo

  20. Erin, this post is just beautiful and so full of wisdom! I just read it for the third time and have been recommending it to friends left and right. Thank you for sharing your heart!!

  21. Hi Erin,
    You don’t know me, but I have been reading your blog for years, but it’s my first time commenting.
    I honestly only come to your website when I feel down, and it always makes me feel better, inspired, and hopeful that my home can look better, function better, and serve my family better, one day. I don’t even have it bookmarked or anything, I know to type your web address when I need to see the sunny side.
    Today was no exception. I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about habits mothers need to practice to be happy.
    Even though I am very different than you, I can still say that most of what you have on your list would have been on my top 10.
    I admit that I don’t have them all as Habits yet, but I agree to grow into all of them. So, thank you for the reminders,
    If I may, the only two habits that I would add are:
    1. To be reflective, to be intentionnally reflective. We, mothers, should plan to regularly sit down alone, and reflect on our motherhood. There are many reasons why we should do that, but one of the most important one is that it will allow us to be very clear on our overall goals/objectives as a mother, and it will also allow us to clarify the particular goals/objectives for specific areas of each of our children’s lives . We then will be able to define, re-define, re-think, re-frame what are the most important things we want to accomplish as a mother for a specific season of our life. I cannot emphasize enough how this needs to be done regularly, at least every 6 months, especially while our kids are at home with us. I guarantee that everything else, every actions, every decisions/sacrifice will then be easier to make, once our ultimate goal is articulated, clear, and present in your mind.
    2. The other habit that I recommend is to keep a journal, a placeholder, a personal companion where we not only record what happened, but where we also dream big, imagine, project. (personnally, that what keeps me sane). We need to make sure we commit to REGULARLY write something in it, and to also revisit past entries, to be reminded of what we should be garteful for.
    Again, thank you for the list, and sorry for the long comment.

    1. What a sweet comment Sylvie! I’m so touched that you come to my blog to be cheered up when you’re feeling down. That means a lot to me! I absolutely love the two habits you added and have been thinking about them. I don’t think I am reflective enough and it’s such a great reminder to stop and really think about our ultimate goals as moms and whether or not our actions line up with them. I love the idea of keeping a journal too! This blog was my journal in a way when my kids were young and I’m so grateful for those older entries blog entries. Such wise advice. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by to visit from time to time. I’m honored! xo

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