4 Steps to Joy in the Journey of Parenting

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Joy in parenting comes when we seek it in the everyday, and let go of false expectations.If you were to make a movie about parenting, would you fill the screen with joyful moments or with the moments when drudgery reigns?

Would you show a weary mom navigating runny noses, laundry, and endless crying? Or a mother and child snuggling and giggling together?

Or would you include both?

If you said both, your movie would win prizes for realism. Because the parenting journey really does contain both: drudgery that makes you want to scream, and joy that makes your heart sing.

Daniel Gilbert, PhD,[1] author of Stumbling on Happiness, acknowledges that young children don’t always make the activities of daily life more enjoyable. However, he said, “Kids do bring joy. They bring transcendent moments in which you feel so happy that it outweighs all the hard work you’ve done.”

He added, “There are little moments that are grand-slam home runs.”

Maximizing Your Joy

So how can you maximize the joy in your parenting journey? Here are 4 vital steps:

Watch for joy

  • Focus on what you adore about your child: listen to his laughter, watch his little face soften as he sleeps, take a mental picture of the way he smiles at you.
  • Find joy in the world around your child. Look to nature, for instance: instead of checking social media or eyeing that laundry yet to be done, enjoy a cup of cocoa while watching trees sway outside the window.

Create joy

  • Cultivate enthusiasm. Decide not to complain when drudgery occurs. The mom who does a little happy-dance when she gets the toilet unplugged will create a much happier atmosphere in her home than the mom who whines while she works.
  • Make up a goofy song for those unlovely moments of life. Singing, “This is the way we change the sheets . . . so early in the morning…” will feel so silly that you’ll find it easier to smile down the frustration of a wet bed.

Let go of un-joy

  • Get rid of false expectations. Drop the myths of parenting, like “My child should make me happy,” or “I should always look like a perfect parent,” or “I should keep score so I’ll know if my partner is doing his share.”
  • Toss out worry, guilt, and fear. Seek support from reliable friends and family, and from your church or social group. Do the best you know how, and accept that learning to parent is part of the journey.

Keep looking forward

  • Don’t lament “the way life used to be.” Live now!
  • Imagine your child as an adult. What can you do today to build the kind of joyful, healthy relationship you and your child will enjoy for years to come?

Try these steps today and see how joy starts to appear when you least expect it.

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Parenting isn’t easy.
As parents ourselves, we get that some days along the parenting journey
are far from joyful.
That’s why we’re here to cheer parents on.

 If you would like to have our team behind you,
consider joining our Earn While You Learn program
(through pregnancy and the first year beyond)
or signing up for Life Coaching at any stage of your journey.

Call or text us today to see how you can get started!

 

 

 

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[1] Dr. Gilbert is quoted here: https://www.parenting.com/article/how-to-be-a-happier-mom

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