Ever meet another mum who just seems to be glowing with happiness all the time? Someone who may not have it all together, but she’s too busy enjoying life to mind the baby spew stain on her top or the messy mum-bun in her hair? Well, you can get in on that happiness too – it’s really not that hard. Practise a few of these habits of happy mums and you’ll be on your way to new mum nirvana in no time.
1. Get out of the house
When is the last time you went outside, even if just to the letterbox and back? Better yet, pop your baby into the pram and go for a short walk in the sunshine. Fresh air and being out-of-doors are natural mood enhancers and will give you a little pick-me-up even if you can only manage five minutes.
2. Eat, sleep, repeat
There’s nothing nice about being sleep-deprived and eating rubbish. Yes, the early days are tough on sleep for everyone in the household. But once your baby starts getting more ZZZs, you need to, too. Put down that basket of washing and go to bed. And when you wake up in the morning, have some porridge and fresh fruit drizzled with honey. Happy mums sleep and eat well.
3. Get some girl time
Female friends are crucial to your sanity, particularly other mums who have been there, done that! Happy mums need close friends to confide in, share successes, and seek advice about challenges. A problem shared is a problem halved, so cherish your bonds with your girlfriends, and keep them close.
4. Ask for help
No one likes a martyr — and it’s not good for you (or anyone around you) to perpetuate the myth of the mum who can do it all. There’s no shame in needing and asking for help. Happy mums ask for help when they need it, even if it’s hard. Pro tip: It gets easier the more often you ask and accept help.
Happy mums get exercise a few times a week. Regular exercise makes you feel good, and elevates your mood. If you can get to the gym, more power to you. But if you can’t, walking with your baby in the pram, or going for an early-morning run while your partner looks after the baby, or even doing a yoga routine in your lounge will all make a difference to your happiness and health.
6. Get some time away from the baby
Going to the gym or for a walk alone kills two birds with one stone: Exercise (see number 5) and care of your own identity outside of motherhood. Or just schedule some regular baby-free time for yourself each week. Take an hour to have a hot bath with the door locked and a good book, or catch a movie with a friend. Happy mums nurture their souls with some refreshing, recharging time to themselves.
7. Look to the future
This, too, shall pass. A year from now, you won’t feel so frazzled and exhausted and overwhelmed. Happy mums adopt a long-term view of their circumstances, and remember that no matter how hard today is, it will not last forever.
8. Do unto others
Bake a banana loaf for your elderly neighbour; invite another lonely mum and her baby over for coffee; call your mother-in-law to say hello “just because”. You don’t have to make extravagant gestures, but helping others can give you a great feeling of goodwill and happiness that will last beyond the act itself.
9. Hug or cuddle
As a new mum, it’s easy to get “touched out” when your baby is constantly feeding or hanging on you. But quiet, non-demanding cuddles can have a very positive effect on your mood. Lay down on the sofa with your baby and just cuddle with them. Hug your partner when they come home from work. Human touch is a necessity for happiness, and you’ll want to get all you can now before your little ones grow up.
10. Laugh often
Watch silly YouTube videos and comedy shows, blow raspberries on your baby’s tummy, look at funny memes on the internet. Whatever it takes to increase your daily laughter quota, do it. Laughing produces serotonin, which is a “happy chemical” that lives up to its name. So laugh as much as you can, and enjoy the laughter of your little one as they see how happy you are and reflect it back to you.