How to be a Happy Mom (the Ultimate List of Habits)

Inside: The ultimate list of habits to help you be a happy mama

smiling mom and daughter How to be a happy mom the ultimate list of habits

How did you imagine motherhood when you decided you wanted to be a mom?  Was it constant struggles with patience? Inability to keep the house clean? No time for friends?  I doubt it.  Before we became moms, we all imagined a happy, clean home full of laughter, obedient children, a loving husband, and a life full of exciting milestones.

But somewhere along the line, that vision of ideal motherhood became unrealistic.  Why?  Because our dream of the perfect mom life did not include the challenges, the stress, the lack of time, and all the mundane little things, sometimes unpleasant, that came with motherhood.

The truth is, motherhood is full of happy moments, joyful memories, and exciting milestones.  But it’s also full of the other details that make you a mother.  The sleepless nights.  The worries.  The longing to talk to an adult throughout the day.

All these things are a part of motherhood.  And even though it can be easy to get into a rut of the same yoga pants + mom-bun day in and day out, and not getting out because you don’t like the way you look, or because you’re tired of comparing yourself to other moms, it’s important to realize that you already have all you need to be happy.  All you may need is some adjustments to your current habits. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

So what is it that happy moms do or have that makes them so happy?

Habits of a happy mom

1. She fills her own cup first

A happy mom realizes that to serve those around her, she needs to take care of herself first.  She needs to fill her own cup before she pours into others’.

2. She sings in the shower

If she’s off-tune, she doesn’t care.  She sings in the shower, in the car, and anywhere in between.  Singing simply makes her feel good.  An article by Psychology Today suggests that singing promotes happiness.

3. She dances like no-one is watching

Dancing gets her blood flowing, her heart rate up, and puts a smile on her face.  Even if her dancing is simply jumping up and down or moving side to side to the beat of her favorite tune, it still counts, and it makes her feel good.

4. She laughs

A happy mom laughs often.  She spends time around the people that make her laugh, she finds other ways to make herself laugh, and she makes others laugh, too.

5. She has a creative hobby

Did you have a hobby before you became a mom?  Whether it was painting, knitting, scrapbooking, or another craft you enjoyed doing, chances are, you had this hobby because you enjoyed it.  You may have pushed it on the back burner when the kids came along, and because there were more important things to be done.  

Try bringing that hobby back into your life.  There’s something special about the making process.  A happy mom loves seeing what she creates with her own two hands.  The process of making relaxes her, and the finished project gives her a feeling of accomplishment.

You may consider yourself as not being creative, but if you’ve never tried, you’ll never know.  Try picking up a new craft.  Ask a friend to teach you, ask YouTube, or take a class on a website like Skillshare.  Learn about Skillshare and try it for free for two months by clicking the image below.

6. She makes time for her friends

This is a sore subject for a good number of moms.  They simply don’t have time to connect with old friends or make new ones.  A happy mom is intentional about investing in her friendships, even if it’s a once per month get-together. 

Can’t go on a girls’ dinner out?  Try a playdate with a friend and her kids.  Keep in touch with your fellow mom friends, encourage them when they need it, and you’ll be encouraged too.

7. She takes breaks

We do this momming job around the clock.  It’s the only job (this and being a caretaker) that requires you to work 24/7.  No matter how much we love our kids and being around them, sometimes we need a break.  A happy mom takes regular breaks and gets out of the house alone.  Even if it’s a short trip to a nail salon or to get a massage once in a while, she makes it happen.  

Not sure if your husband will be on board?  The best thing you can do is talk to him.  Explain how you feel, and tell him how you think you might feel if you take a short break.  Then ask him to get on board with the idea of you taking breaks.

8. She reads 

Whether it’s during quiet time before the kids get up, or before bed when they’re asleep, she spends the time to read.  She reads novels, books to improve her personal learning, or the Bible.  

For me, it’s the latter.  I spend time reading the Bible and praying every evening before I go to bed.  I try to fit in other reading throughout the day, but reading the Bible is most important to me.  It’s an amazing feeling when you know that you have a Guide that holds your hand and walks you through the toughest parts of life, even if you have no idea how to handle a challenging situation.  The peace that I have in having a guide makes me happy.

9. She asks for help when she needs it

A happy mom is not ashamed to ask for help.  She accepts the help when it’s offered, and when she’s able, she offers help in return.  Are you stuck in the “I have to do all the things by myself” mindset?  Read this article about accepting help when you’re not used to it.

10. She shuts down the self-criticism

She knows that criticizing herself isn’t constructive.  She realized that the critic inside her takes her happiness away.  So she shuts her down as soon as that critic surfaces.

11. She learns from her failures

She knows that failures are lessons in disguise.  She learns from her failures and tries again.  She looks at tomorrow as a fresh start.

12. She doesn’t compare herself to other moms or her kids to other moms’ kids

A happy mom realizes that comparison is a thief of joy.  She knows that if she compares her life, her choices, her abilities, and even her temperament and character with another mom’s, she’s comparing apples to seahorses.  

Whether we compare and see ourselves the one not measuring up or vice versa, the truth is, comparison is not healthy. Comparison either leaves us feeling superior to another mom, or it makes us feel inferior. And neither one builds anyone up or helps anyone become a happy mom.

13. She chooses to focus on the positive 

Negative things happen, but a happy mom doesn’t dwell on them.  Instead, she focuses on the positives and looks for the best in every situation.

14. She is in tune with her health

She knows the importance of moving, whether it’s a regular exercise routine or a daily walk outside, she realizes that it plays an important role in her well-being.  She invests in her health by avoiding unhealthy foods and taking her vitamins.  Doing this she knows she is taking good care of her health and that makes her happy.

15. She invests in her marriage

A happy mom prioritizes her marriage.  She is intentional in making her husband happy.  She makes time in her day just for him, and they go on regular date nights together.

If you don’t have anyone to leave your kids with, consider offering to watch a friend’s kids for an evening, and ask for the same favor in return.  Date nights, even if they happen once per month, can make a big difference in drawing closer to your husband.

16. She has regular alone time with each of her kids

When life is busy it’s easy to feel guilt creep in when it comes to intentional time with children.  A happy mom knows the importance of special time with each of her kids.  She knows that even 10 minutes on the couch with each one of her children goes a long way.  They can cuddle, talk, or simply spend time together where she is concentrated solely on one child.  She invests in each one of her children daily, and that makes her happy.

17. She teaches her kids how to be independent

A happy mom knows that teaching responsibility and independence to her kids isn’t selfish.  She is preparing them by teaching them good habits and helping them gain life skills early on.

18. She regularly plans family fun

She loves surprising her loved ones and enjoys spending time with them.  She plans regular family fun even if it’s a picnic at a neighborhood park.

19. She holds herself back from yelling at her kids

A happy mom knows that no matter how tempting it might be to yell at her kids when someone just pulled the last straw, yelling doesn’t solve anything, and only makes things worse.  After she yells, she feels guilty for yelling and there is sadness about the situation.  It’s hard to be a happy mom when you’re a yelling mom.  If you struggle with yelling, read this article about what you can do to stop yelling at your kids.

20. She says no

A happy mom knows when she has too much on her plate and doesn’t feel guilty about saying no.  She has boundaries and protects them well.

21. She pauses before responding

She eliminates the guilt of speaking without thinking first by pausing before saying a word.

22. She picks her battles

A happy mom realizes that she cannot fight every battle presented to her, and although she cannot eliminate all the battles, she will fight the important ones.

23. She forgives, even when forgiveness isn’t asked for

When a happy mom forgives her offender, she knows that she is doing this for her own happiness.  If she holds on to the pain someone else has caused her, it affects her more than it affects the other person.  Forgiveness gives her peace, and that leads to happiness.

24. She is grateful for what she has

She is thankful for everything in her life – her family, her home, her friends, the family income, and the car she drives.  It’s not wrong to have a goal to get a better car or to improve your home, but a happy mom knows the importance of enjoying what you have right now.

25. She has deep internal values

A truly happy mom believes that there is a reason behind her existence.  She believes in a Maker who created all things, she believes that everyone has a purpose, and she believes that everything happens for a reason.  She reads her Bible daily, and spends time in prayer, handing over all her worries to God who she knows has a plan for her life. 

She knows that she is never truly lost, even if she feels like she doesn’t know the way out of a situation.  She knows that she is guided by the Almighty who sees everything and knows what’s best for her.

26. She has routines

Routines give her peace.  Routines provide predictability, and when everyone in the household knows what comes next, a mom spends less time giving directions and more time enjoying her motherhood.

27. She gets her sleep

A happy mom knows the importance of good sleep.  She knows how much sleep she needs and she plans her day to get the sleep she needs.  She knows that if she doesn’t get her sleep, she’ll be a grumpy mom, and it’s hard to feel happy when she’s grumpy.

28. She plans ahead

Even though she enjoys spontaneous activities with her family, she knows that lots of spontaneity can lead to chaos and overwhelm.  This is why she plans her time, meals, and family activities.

29. She manages her time well

A happy mom knows that she has a finite amount of time, and she is intentional in spending it where it matters.  She likes her social media, but she has a strict time limit on scrolling her feeds ad looking at stories.  She invests time in the areas of life that need it most.  To learn more about time management, read Time Blocking for Busy Moms.

30. She finds ways to serve those around her

A happy mom knows the importance of serving others.  Serving others doesn’t have to take too much time.  If she is able to volunteer at a local food pantry, that’s great, but she can serve in other ways, too. An act of kindness like bringing dinner to a friend with a newborn baby can go a long way.  Serving others, even if it’s in “little” ways, makes her happy.

31. She talks about her feelings and frustrations

She has a circle of trusted people to whom she can share her woes.  She tells her husband about her feelings instead of shutting down.  She talks to her mom, sister, or a friend about something that frustrated her, but she doesn’t dwell on it.  She then lets it go and focuses on the positive.

32. She doesn’t gossip

She realizes that gossiping doesn’t fuel her soul, and doesn’t do any good for the other person.  A happy mom is intentional about avoiding gossip.

33. She is nice to strangers

A happy mom is nice to those around her, even if they’re not so nice to her.  She knows that the world needs more kindness and spreads it willingly.

34. She enjoys the little things

Whether it’s the field flowers brought to her, the drawings drawn for her, or rocks picked out just for her, she accepts all these gifts with great pleasure.  She tells her kids how special they make her feel.  She enjoys all the other little things in life because these little things are all a part of her family’s story.

35. She doesn’t expect perfection

A happy mom doesn’t put pressure on herself to be perfect.  She knows that perfection is the slayer of joy, and she doesn’t expect her husband or kids to be perfect, either.  Improving an area of her world is always present in her life, but she focuses on progress instead of perfection.

36. She intentionally captures the memories, even if she doesn’t look her best

A happy mom knows the importance of making real, raw memories.  She doesn’t shy away from the camera, even if her hair is a mess and she has no makeup on.  She takes photos with her family to be enjoyed for years to come.  To get inspired to take photos even when you don’t feel put together, read What Most Moms Aren’s Doing and Why Every Mom Should.

37. She slows down and intentionally enjoys motherhood

She realizes that her kids are with her for a limited amount of time, and she intentionally enjoys the time she has with them.  She realizes that motherhood is a journey to be enjoyed.

You can’t expect to be happy 100% of the time. Be realistic.  If you’re not you will be even more unhappy when you don’t meet your own expectations.

Habits Reality Check

I know what you’re thinking.  This is a very long list of habits, how can you possibly implement them all?  You don’t need to incorporate them all into your life to be happy.  Start with the one most important to you.  The truth is, while it does take time to implement new habits, once they’re a part of your life, a lot of them take little time to maintain.


You now have an enormous list of habits of a happy mom to pick from and implement, but how do you find the time to incorporate these new habits into your already-busy life?  There’s a trick to this that works like magic.  Read about it in How to Find Time in Your Day.

Now that you know how to find the time for new habits, don’t get overwhelmed.  Chances are, you already have some of these habits.  Look over the list and check those off.

Then, find a habit you want to incorporate into your life.  Pick only one.  Add it to your daily activities, and take intentional action on it for a week.  

At the end of the week, review.  How did you do with your new habit?  Did you work on it as planned?  If not, try again next week.  Don’t be discouraged.  If you’ve not met your goal the second week, consider adjusting it.  It may have been too big of a bite at this stage. If you need more detailed, actionable information on reaching your goals, here’s an article on reaching your goals.

If you stayed on track with your new habit all week, great!  Look through your list and add another one, and do it for a week.  By slowly incorporating the new habits one by one into your life, you will not get overwhelmed, and you’ll be a lot less likely to give up.  Instead, you will ease into your new way of enjoying motherhood.

This is motherhood.  It’s challenging and beautiful.  It’s exasperating and rewarding.  If like me, you wanted to be a mom ever since you were little, guess what?  You’re living your dream.  Enjoy it, and stay happy.

Laughing mom with little girl Being a happy mom the ultimate list of habits

How to be a happy mom the ultimate list of habits of a joyful mommy

How to be a Happy Mom (the Ultimate List of Habits)

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