i forgot how to be the happy mom

The other day a friend of mine told me to have fun with my kids.

I said in reply – I don’t know if I know how to do that anymore.

Just typing that brings tears to my eyes.

I know how to be the busy mom – moving from one urgent to another urgent to another there’s no toilet paper and the toilet’s overflowing and the kids are fighting and the smoke detector is going off and I can’t find my math sheet that was due three days ago urgency.  I’ve mastered the art of building lunches with almost bare pantries and finding last minute presents and helping with homework that was to be done the night before but now it is 7:11 and we need to leave at 7:18 kind of days.

I’ve figured out how to survive on three hours of interrupted feet in my face kids waking up sleep. I know the quickest way to Starbucks and that on certain days, like today, it is perfectly acceptable to order the extra shot of espresso and to get it extra hot and maybe with a bit more sugar. I determined that making my bed isn’t required but that the kitchen island  better stay clean or it’s a green light telling everyone that the rest of the house is okay to be messed up.

I’ve mastered counting to ten ten times in a row and gathering my resolve and dealing with stress and listening to music to calm me down or trying to take an extra long shower so I can have maybe four minutes of quiet without hearing mo-o-om called and dealing with one boy who decided to sneak the last chip bag and throw the wrapper in his closet behind the box of legos.  The beast of laundry may still haunt me but even that has become putty in my mom hands as I know that those pants that were needed in the morning will get done even if I have to stay up to 2:30am.

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But having fun? Laughing? Just being the happy mom?

Sometimes I fear I’ve lost it in the busy and the stress.

I’ll try to play a game with them but my mind will race through the to-do list that has it’s own index and days of rolled over I’ll do it tomorrow items. While they’re drawing cards and laughing I’ll be creating a list of things I’ve forgotten to do and need to do and don’t really want to do but I can’t put off much longer.

Mom! It’s your turn!!

And I’ll be thinking about the toys that should be sorted or what to do for dinner or how to hide the card that brings you back to the beginning of Candyland because the game isn’t ever ending. Yeah, yeah, yeah… that’s a skill of motherhood. Perfecting the art of not going back to the CandyCane Forest.

Oh, please don’t get me wrong, I love love love my kids.

But sometimes I feel guilt. Guilt about not being more present or laughing more or having fun or not doing all the cool things that I think my kids deserve.  I’ll feel guilt about having to work and telling them just give me fifteen more minutes to get this done and then those fifteen minutes turn to thirty and then they’re on to something else. It’s so much mom pressure that I don’t think we talk about.

I want to be the happy go lucky fun mom.

But being a mom is hard.

happymom6

I’m not complaining. For real. But I’m just talking about some of those truths that moms deal with. Like Saturday – I spent almost an hour going back and forth with a very crabby five year old who refused to get dressed. Sounds simple, right? Like there’s a five step program to fixing this? Well, in that moment, there wasn’t. There was just me trying to understand why this was like this and then feeling guilt and like I wasn’t a good mom because we were in the midst of this battle over putting on clean underwear and pants and a shirt.

Where did the happy part go?

Where did the laughing, the Hallmark moments, the sitting at the table with the glitter and making snowflakes part of being a mom go? Because I could sit at the table and make snowflakes with glitter with them and even though I’d be having fun part of me, truthfully, would be thinking now how in the world am I going to get this glitter cleaned up?

You know. I think the truth is that sometimes we just need to acknowledge that there are seasons in our life that are just hard work. Motherhood being one of them. Especially those years when they’re all under five – that’s when I need Starbucks delivered and extra help especially in cleaning those bathrooms especially again when I had little boys who had no sense of aim and their directional abilities included hitting anything within five feet of the target. But just because it’s hard or we lost that happy for a bit doesn’t make us a bad mom.

I want happy to return.

So I’m deciding every day to do one thing that makes me happy. One thing. Maybe it’s listening to music that I love or spending thirty minutes watching Modern Family on Hulu. Maybe it’s cleaning up my Facebook stream and getting rid of people who cause me angst. Maybe it’s deciding to play that game with my kids and to really really play it but letting myself have grace if I find myself thinking about the dishes that need to be done as I flip over the double yellow card.

One thing.

I don’t want to minimize the hard parts of motherhood and to shout just be happy moms! because I know it can be a hard hard thing and you can feel lost in the midst of motherhood and wondering if you make a difference and then wonder who in the world am I and why am I not happy when it seems like the rest of the world has mastered that? 

Sometimes sometimes sometimes it’s easy to lose us and our happy in the midst of this crazy life journey with twenty plus years of motherhood tucked in the middle. Tears. You’re not alone, sweet mother, if you’ve ever felt this way.  Listen, please, please, please. You are not the only mom who has ever stood in the kitchen with kids running around and dishes piled high and loud noises and tears have filled your eyes as you wondered what happened to happy.  It’s okay. For real. I know those moments hurt and can make you feel like you just want to throw your hands in the air and that sometimes you just want a break and sometimes just a hug or to be loved and told you matter. 

So listen.

It is okay. You are a good mom. Even in all those moments.

Maybe we should all make a goal for this year to find one more thing to do to be happy.  A Happy Moms Project, perhaps. Not built on artificial pretenses or doing crazy extra things or being perfect, but really on loving ourselves and taking time for ourselves and learning to be in the moment just for a bit with our kids.

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It’s about grace today. And knowing that happy can come back. And maybe maybe maybe just allowing yourself a moment to be happy and to let the cares of the world and never ending to-do’s fall off of your back just for a moment. It’s in stepping back and working hard to get that deep breath and to fill your head with words about the awesome that you do versus telling yourself all the things you didn’t do. It’s in letting that laugh come back and the wonder that your kids have mastered but you’ve temporarily lost in the busy.

Yes, that. That is what I want you to read.

And yes, you’re doing unbelievable things. Even if it feels ordinary and exasperating and tiring.

With love. Hope. And the words I’m proud of you to all of you today.

Happy can be there. We didn’t forget. We just got busy.

Smile.

From me, the real mom up here in the semi-frozen tundra of Minnesota, to all of you – My friends on this crazy exasperating loving amazing tiring and beautiful journey called motherhood.

~Rachel

Want more community and a group of moms determined to find happy? That’s this page.

For more encouragement and some real life words about being a mom grab my Dear Mom Letters Ebook

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309 Responses to “i forgot how to be the happy mom”

  1. December 15, 2014

    Nicole Reply

    Wow. This is exactly how I have been feeling lately. Thank you for writing this, and sharing. It has made me feel better just knowing that someone else feels the same way. Thank you!

    • December 15, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are welcome, Nicole. Thanks for commenting. It’s good to know we’re not alone in this crazy journey of motherhood.

      Rachel

      • July 14, 2015

        Mary Reply

        The hardest part of not having fun as a mother is watching your children become adults and not liking what they have become. I have two adult children and one of them brings me nothing but worry. They are good kids but sitting back and watching them make mistakes is very difficult and when you try to offer advice the one gets angry and disrespectful and this is not how I tried to raise her. Your post was good, it reminded me that I need to have my own fun and try not to let their actions hurt so much.

        • July 31, 2015

          denise kinzel Reply

          U r right there! Watchin ur kids all turn into adults is the hardest by far. I wish i could put all 3 back in diapers. They dont turn out exactly how u wanted. They r there own person. But most of all…love and respect are the most important things a mom could want. Unfortunately…i dont get that. Just a empty nest! We can only hope they feel different on the inside than how they act on outside. Sometimes ur kids can make u feel like u failed when u were a good mom. Hopefully things will change cuz god knows ur kids change like the weather. No mom is alone. Im hear to talk!

          • January 3, 2016

            patty

            My daughter is 27. AT 25 she met a girl who was raised in foster homes and doesn’t “like” parents. After 3 months of dating, she told me she and Christina we getting married. I asked if she was sure she wanted to get married so soon after meeting this person. Our daughter has turned on us and said she had a horrible childhood. She developed depression and threatened us with suicide when we discussed anything she didn’t want to. She was a perfect child until she met this person. She was an only child being raised by “have” parents who grew up in “have not” families. We gave her everything including our time and love. It was tearing us apart and destroying our relationship. She came “home” this Christmas and stayed with my niece who is transgender. I went to their house to bring her a gift and they wouldn’t let her come to the door. My niece threatened to call the cops if I didn’t get off her property. Needless to say we were angry and hurt. We decided to let her go. She already had us blocked from any type of contact with her including her address. When your kids don’t turn out the way you hoped, and all we hoped for was a decent relationship, it isn’t your fault. Many parents give too much and are taken for granted …. until they’re needed AGAIN. But she’ll have to get herself up and dusted off unless she learns how to apologize and appreciate her parents

          • January 28, 2016

            Louise

            I wish I could put mine back in diapers…best time of my life…best !!
            As adults, they really don’t want to listen to advice…..from me, experienced in almost everything..give my babies back to me..please

        • August 3, 2015

          Trillium Reply

          I am in exactly the same boat. Good adult children but angst nontheless. After so many years of caring for, helping, loving my children to the point of putting my needs on the back burner, it is disorienting to turn off the “responsibility” switch and on the “focus on yourself” switch.

          • August 3, 2015

            Rachel Marie Martin

            That switch is an interesting thing indeed. Part of my journey has been in seeing that happen in many friends lives and in my own – which is why I think I write so much about not forgetting us in motherhood. Thank you for sharing and blessings as you discover you.

            Rachel

        • August 8, 2015

          Mel Reply

          Mary and Rachel,
          You have both brightened my day. I love my children and what pains me are the same things that Mary speaks of. Why will they never listen to years of experience but instead go off and make huge mistakes that will have negative impacts on their future. The choices they are making are breaking my heart. The disrespect and abuse is breaking my heart. It is time to just watch from a distance and pray they see the error of their ways. I will always be here for them but I have to live for me too. Thank you both.

          • January 12, 2016

            Lydia

            Some individual just aren´t willing to learn from others and have the need to take their own decision og learn from their own mistake. Thats just how it is and I can just imagine how hard it is for parents to see you child making a mistake, but sometimes mistakes are necessary for the develipment of that individual. The only thing that we as parents can do is be their for them when they need us and offer advise if they ask us

          • February 3, 2016

            Liz

            Wonderful post! Thanks for this. My project for this year is trying out one super easy mindfulness (or meditation/relaxation) technique per week, with similar aims. Looking after ourselves is so important! Hoping your smile comes back and stays back.

        • September 10, 2015

          Roberta Reply

          Mary, your not alone. I too have adult children. It’s hard for me to not let it hurt so much. The post does have great ideas and brought back my own thoughts of what I once did for me and my happiness and finding purpose on this earth again.

        • November 4, 2015

          Jenn Reply

          I just read this, and Im just lost.. I have 7,almost 8 year old son and I feel like I have lost all control..He is an only child and hid father has never seen him, so im a single I’m a single. He is a good boy for the most part, but the arguing and back talk is getting worse..I have tried everything from taking away something he loves to time out in the corner.. He promises he will be better and then “boom” he is right back to the samethin.. it really breaks my heart the way he talks to me and I feel like he hates me and he is my world and I would do anything in this world for him. I have done everything to talking to him in a not arguing to grounding him taking away toys timeouts in the corner. It is not only making me miserable but I am sure it is making him miserable as well and he does know that I will do everything I can in my power to make sure he is taken care of like he should be. I go to bed at night crying. He is so well loved by everybody that he is around he is for the most part a very happy little boy. He tries so hard and is so worried about how he can make people like him and he gets so nervous that he is going to upset somebody like in school for example his teacher that I know it breaks his heart if he does something wrong or makes a mistake and he thinks that whoever he made the mistake with is not going to like him anymore. For a seven year old child he has a very very big heart. He never meet a stranger. He does it seem to think he can confide in me and tell me anything he was being bullied in school by a bigger student and my son is only in second grade and he was afraid to tell me what was going on and I know him very well I know when something is bothering him. When I asked him about it he tells me nothing is wrong and he is OK. That really frightens me because if he feels he cannot confide in me his own mother I am scared that those feelings are being bottled up in them and they’re going to get bigger and bigger and making him miserable. My son has a lot of energy and he has been tested for ADHD add everything and he does not have any of those he is an extremely smart little boy and my fear as I said I want him to be able to confide in me when he needs something or needs to talk to me because it breaks my heart that he feels he cannot come to me and I need him to come to me when something is bothering him at school or anything so I can take care of it at that time so it does not get out of hand. I don’t know where to go from here. He confides in his school counselor he tells her everything and I think he is so worried about hurting my feelings or thinking I am going to be disappointed in him that he’s afraid to tell me and that breaks my heart. If you have any suggestions please let me know or please direct me to the right place or website or something to where I can do what I need to do to help resolve these issues. I need all the help I can get because as I said that little boy is my world and I don’t know what I would do without him. So very sorry this comment is so long but any suggestions or anything anything you can do to help your point me in the right direction would be appreciated thank you so much

          • December 29, 2015

            Edith

            Jenn,
            I know this story. Mine is now 12. I’m married and have a supportive person try and help me parent our amazingly wonderful child who sometimes can’t get control of himself and pushes back with everything he has. We just opted for medication to assist him. If you and he are not in counseling get some. Support for you, for him, and someone to work with you both. Teach him to meditate, do yoga together, get him involved in things that teach self control and respect, give him outlets for his energy, give him places he can turn upside-down. That last one may seem weird but there’s something truly restorative about that practice. Keep setting the boundaries that he can’t set for himself. Set them with love, not with the goal that behavior change is around the corner. His brain has not fully developed to help him with this.Give him the feeling he has choices, even if they don’t always work. Hang in there.

          • December 29, 2015

            Martha

            Jenn, My heart goes out to you. I have an 8 year old son who is the same as yours. He’s a very sensitive child who wants to please others and who is afraid to make a mistake. And when he was bullied, he didn’t tell me most of the time but would act out at home by arguing and back-talking. He would do that because he was angry inside from the bullying. We got my son a punching bag to punch out his anger. Maybe you can have him draw a picture about school and have him tell you about the picture. I don’t know any other suggestions right now because we never figured out how to get my son to stand up for himself or tell me every time when he was bullied until he started taking karate. I would also say, though, to pray to God for wisdom and strength to know what to do to help him. {{Hugs!}}

          • December 30, 2015

            Sonia

            There is nothing better to read something positive to your child where you could teach him or her some spiritual values. Give your child a good hug and make sure you tell him or her three good things about him or her daily. Be genuine and be real. The child will realize that you find something good in him or her and will feel secure and give you peace of mind. Put this plan to work. Mark it in a calendar each day you have completed and the results. You will find yourself nagging less, praising him more, having a closer relationship and a more confident child who will make you proud. Remember be genuine.

          • December 30, 2015

            Andrea

            Jenn, I have boys just like yours. My first son was an only child for his first 8 years and I remember his 8th year being the WORST. He was my little buddy for so long. We had a special connection…the perfect mother/son relationship. Then, he hit 8 and it all flipped upside down. It turned out to be a phase and it did pass after a while – by the time he was 9, I think. Now, my second son is 8 and I’m seeing it all over again. I keep having to remind myself: ‘He’ll grow out it…he’ll grow out of it’. I can see the smirk on his face when he’s managed to finally push my buttons to the point that I’ve become infuriated. And like your son, he is a perfect angel at school, very smart, tender-hearted, and all of that. I read a book once about childhood behavior and it said that approximately every other year of their life is another growth spurt and their bodies are growing at enormous rates, hormones pumping through them, and this causes them to be a little crazy (okay, a lot crazy sometimes! ha)
            I’m terrible at following my own advice but sometimes I try to take a break from being so mom-ish and spend a little time building my relationship with them. Sometimes I can only last about 10-15 minutes, but I try. haha By this, I mean I try to create situations that we can just be together without me fussing at him. For my middle son, it’s taking just him with me to the store and I have to remind myself to not fuss at all for this one trip and try my best to make the whole trip about just being happy together even if he gets away with really small things during that trip. When we get home, everything goes back to normal but I can see a little difference in how he treats me after that and I feel less guilt because we did have a good memory for the day. I need to get back to doing this right now, myself!

          • December 30, 2015

            Shanna

            Pray for him and yourself. Do you attend church? God can work miracles. It’s so hard without a father figure. I grew up without one. Pray. Take care sweet Jenn.

          • January 1, 2016

            Tiffany

            Jenn, my mama’s heart sank for you as I read this. I can hear your heart and passion for your son in your words. Being a mom, OF A BOY, is an interesting puzzle to figure out at best. And I want to tell you how much I admire single mommies!! (And daddies, for that matter) I want to be honest with you in a very compassionate way. Your words held a lot of guilt about what you may or not be able to provide for your son. To a certain degree that “mother’s guilt” grips us all, for many different reasons! I have 4 children, 3 of whom are boys, one being a year and a half older than his twin brothers. Those three will be the death of me, I’m sure! 😉 The oldest (8 yrs) one struggles with his feelings and his behavior that springs from those intense feelings that he doesn’t know how to manage. And I feel defeated most days when it comes to him. If your son finds comfort and freedom to express himself to the school counselor, I would say relax and find peace in knowing he’s capable of it. Support that relationship, just let him know that you are always willing to listen to him, share with him your own fears and shortcomings in a positive way that shows how you overcame them, and in doing so you will leave those highways of communication open for when he is ready to come to you. He is your son and, as you have already observed, he wants to please you :) I want to be my children’s end all/be all because, hey, they’re mine! But everyday I pray that if they can’t come to me that they would be surrounded with people who would guide them in the right direction, which always benefits my relationship with them. And we even talk about the fact that they will find that they will face things they may not feel comfort talking to me about, but that these people (aunts, uncles, friends parents, church leaders, etc) love them and would always be there to listen to them and help them. And so when they struggle with something and fee they can’t come to me, and yet I know they have sought out advice from one of these trusted sources, I let the guilt go and find peace in knowing they are “ok”. Your son is 7 and you will always be his hero!! :) You sound like a wonderful mom! Relax mama and know he’s going to be ok :) In the meantime, I find counseling helps me stay focused :) You have been through a lot in your life. How much of what you’re carrying effects this parenting anxiety you feel? A good counselor can help you organize your thoughts and ease your fears, which can help you relax and enjoy more. I needed it and still do at times :) {{Hugs to you}}

          • January 16, 2016

            Rachel

            Hi Jen. You ask for suggestions. Try http://www.simplicityparenting.com Sounds as though you and and your son are under a lot of stress. This has terrible behavioral implications for you both and can color your whole world. Best wishes.

        • January 13, 2016

          Aleesha Reply

          I too have an 18 year old daughter graduating from high school this year, and a 23 year old son. Both I love them to the moon and back! But exactly what you said, I thought once kids become adults we are finished. It’s just so HARD To let go!!

        • January 29, 2016

          Gwen Reply

          I have been a not happy mom for a few years now and relate to this description. However much I tell myself to go and do stuff for myself and ignore the disrespect and still( at advancing teenage years) constant demands…the guilt gets me every time. I feel like I went terribly wrong somewhere? But thanks Mary for this post I am going to TRY to detach more and fulfill some of my needs for a change.

      • September 21, 2015

        reva Reply

        omg you are so right about the kitchen island!!!!!!!!!!! when I clean it, it feels like the surrounding tornado isn’t looming as much!

      • December 30, 2015

        Kelly Reply

        Thank you! I know just what that feels like. It is comforting to know we aren’t alone.

        BTW, make those snowflakes. Use play dough to clean up glitter, roll it in a ball and roll the ball all over the glitter. When it gets coated kneed it like dough and keep going. As a bonus you get sparkly play dough without the extra cost!

      • January 2, 2016

        Robin Reply

        Wow…it’s like you studied my life and told my story. I never knew what it was but I knew something was wrong…I lost my fun dang it! I have 5 children 2 of which suffer from mental illness and autism and one has physical issues. All of which are time stealers. I want to have fun and I want to just relax and chill out as I’m so often told…right, like I never thought to chill, like I want to be this mom….this over stressed out of her freaking mind mom. Anyway.. thank you for your amazing insight and thank you for actually knowing what my problem is, soon to be was 😉

      • January 17, 2016

        Korrey Reply

        I have been living this way forever it seems. Life is so incredibly hectic and I feel like such a horrible mom because though I know my kids are fed and clean and ….and I know I love them with all of my heart…a love ive never experienced..a love that brought me to life and I would never change that in a moment..i just wish I wasn’t so busy and that I could do something for me for a change without feeling guilty and wishing that when I do have a break, I had more energy to do wonderfully funny fun things with the kiddos, but the “I’m getting old” comes creeping into my head and I just want to rest, I just want a little bit of doing nothing…and in those moments, I feel like a horrible mom because, once again, the happy fun times with the kiddos gets overlooked. I hate it. To be young again, to have that energy, to have that motivation to just live and not stay busy all the time. I want to hear my kids laughing and smiling and I want to be a part of that joy…I want to cause some of that joy…I want to return to them the joy and love that they bring into my life…I know I feel it…a love so intense that it cant be completely explained…but I wonder, do they know it…even in my busy moments..do they know.

      • February 11, 2016

        sova elena Reply

        I needed this article sooooo much. I had a rough day today. Nothing seemed to add up. Today was the day I cried and cried my heart out!!I cried because it’s hard being a mon and I feel guilty thinking this way.I need a break and I don’t know how to do that since my husband is exhausted too with all the cleaning and cooking. I am too tired to do all that. But,I need a break and ,again,I feel guilty saying this. Your article has helped,but I need time to embrace the idea that it s OK what I am feeling. I love my one year old baby,but I m exhausted.

      • February 16, 2016

        Dottie Reply

        Rachel, thank you for writing this about your life being a mom. I love all the posts and most of them really hit home. I am glad I read all the posts the mom’s wrote, it mad me feel better about myself and that I wasn’t a bad parent but a good one. Thank you again…

    • February 9, 2015

      Angela Reply

      Thank you for the post. I literally pray every single day for God to grant me a light heart for my two little ones. Every. Single. Day. I wasn’t sure if it was helping my mom get through cancer, or my 2.5 year old’s ICU stay (he’s fine now), or just a gloomy Michigan winter, but now I feel comforted in knowing that many mothers feel this at times. Prayers and well-wishes for the happy mother project!

    • March 30, 2015

      Erin Reply

      I say there’s a quiet chaos to being a working Mom. Your blog guides me through my day sometimes when I am in the trenches and just want to throw in the towel. I’m fighting with therapy and fighting with being the one that’s always in the wrong. But your blog shows me it’s OK to be human…it’s OK to be me…and it’s OK to be a Mom. I relish in that simplistic idea that being Mom is enough. And it’s enough for the mini creation I call heaven, my daughter. So thank you.

    • June 28, 2015

      gretchen Reply

      There was a time when I, too, forgot how to be happy. Then I got a divorce, married a wonderful person who helped me parent the kids and clean the house etc. The load became easier but the work wasn’t done. I started going to therapy because I realized that I needed a place to vent, I needed someone to listen to me and not be interrupted by my own kids or my friend’s kids as we tried to share with each other over coffee. And I put myself on the to-do list. I made time for me to go and enjoy something that only I wanted to do, be that a manicure or a yoga class. I also learned how to say “No”, no to the PTA board position and no to volunteering to be the room mom in both of my children’s classrooms, no to family who thought it would be easy for me to come to them and visit, no to other parents who assumed I’d pick up the slack/do the job. There needed to be a balance in my life and it required me to say no. Your happiness is important! I realized that I wanted my children to remember me happy not as the mom that could do it all and juggle so many things at once. Choose Happy!

      • June 28, 2015

        Rachel Marie Martin Reply

        Thank you, Gretchen. Your comment is wonderful and means much to me.

        rachel

      • July 21, 2015

        Liz Reply

        Thanks Gretchen. Very well said!

    • July 2, 2015

      cindy Reply

      yes! This is me–in a big NUT shell:) Thanks for the validation. I truly believe we can band together and support each other. Motherhood is wonderful, fulfilling, exhausting, tiring, boring (waiting for xyz to get out of xyz), busy, chaos, dirty, mean, and just plain crazy! But, we do it! We love our babies!!
      xo

    • July 22, 2015

      debra Reply

      this is exactly how I feel but I need it for my young adult children. I went though a divorce at 26 years so my kids were 24 and 19. he married again as soon as the divorce was final. 10 days later. so it has been really hard. I never saw it coming and I feel like I lost everyone at once and they are angry too but I am so devastated I can’t begin to deal with it. It has been 3 years and I am really starting to wonder will I ever be happy again.

      • August 22, 2015

        Lesli Reply

        I had a similar experience. Divorced at 26 years marriage, one kid ,15, left at home. You lost the dream, the future with THAT family. It is never the same. Many different things will happen to you some good, that never would have happened before. I hope you reach for something you love, a place, a cause, animals ,faith, a passion,a friend be it family or not. I am still on my journey as while we are, living this IS our time on this earth. Best wishes. Leslie

    • August 3, 2015

      Jo Reply

      Wow. Me. Yes. Thanks. Sleep. Fun. Lack of. Food. Another meal. Snack. Tired. Bored. Lonely. Grateful. Loved. Still tired

    • August 5, 2015

      Madison Judd Reply

      I FELT like this way too much. I remembered having one child and that motherhood was more enjoyable in the way of spending qualitity time. Three kids later and I was just waking up to be a laundry folder, meal maker, bath giver but not really a mom. I remember a day I told my husband I hated cooking for our family and just plain hated being a mom (I think I was just stuck in a rut)…Fast forward to now, I’ve begun a practice of mindfulness. Which means I try to be in whatever moment I am in. So when I am cooking I enjoy it because I won’t get that moment back and when I hear the chaos that comes w a tiny house and three kids I love it because I won’t ever get that moment back. Do I always love it, no..but am I aware that these moments are really a gift, very much.

      • September 10, 2015

        Casandra Reply

        Madison, your comment about mindfulness was really touching. It’s so true. And like the author of this post, I find myself thinking out my to-do lists as I’m experiencing a different moment altogether. It can be so difficult to juggle all of the mom/wife/employee duties throughout the day. Being mindful that each moment matters is so important. Thanks for sharing.

      • October 24, 2015

        Tony Reply

        Madison – I read your post with interest that’s what I need – how to learn to practice mindfulness. I’m a proper grumpy old dad, need to fix that for my own reasons as much as my kids. Can you point me to anywhere I can learn about mindfulness techniques please ?

    • February 12, 2016

      Angelique Reply

      Thanks Madison! I can relate 100%, my boys is not little anymore, but I still strugle being a single mom. It though, but your post makes me feel much better. We all are doing the best we can!

  2. December 15, 2014

    Mandy Reply

    I have two little boys and I can relate. It comes in waves for me. Like I will have days or if I’m lucky weeks where things feel manageable and dare I say almost peaceful. Then someone will get hit with a cold or maybe it’s nothing at all that I can point a finger to, but it gets overwhelming. And I find myself frustrated, feeling isolated, stifled and even angry. Then I catch myself and the guilt sets in. I love these guys with every fiber of my being but it is SO hard sometimes. Add keeping a fulfilled marriage to the mix and it seems impossible at times. Anyways, it’s important to not feel alone and to be authentic with our struggles. Because chances are, they aren’t unique to just us. Thanks for keeping it real.

    • December 15, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are very welcome, Mandy. As I always say — there is no perfect there is only real. Hoping for moments of peace in the midst of crazy.

      Rachel

  3. December 15, 2014

    amy Reply

    Very well written. I’m standing here with years in my eyes. I think all mom’s need to read this and know it’s ok. It’s ok to take a minute and not worry about the thousands of things that need to be done. And if something doesn’t get done it’s not the end of the world; it doesn’t make us bad mom’s.

    • December 15, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you Amy. I think there is great power in being real. Healing really.

      Blessings to you today.

      Rachel

  4. December 15, 2014

    Patty Reply

    thank you for this. I didn’t realize how much I needed it, until the tears started to fall.

  5. December 15, 2014

    Kirsten Reply

    Thank you. I guess I forgot that I forgot how to be happy. And when your post showed up today, I started to cry. I, too, want to be the happy mom and I related to everything in your post. So thank you for being the reminder I needed today to pause and take it in for a moment.

  6. December 15, 2014

    Michelle Liimatainen Reply

    Your blog posts always make me feel like I am not alone. That I am not the only Mother that deals with this stuff. Although, all mine are teens now it doesn’t stop. Life has been crazy. I have two very sick kids, a house that is a mess and 2 grown dogs and a puppy trashing it more and more daily. I am on the phone with Dr’s and hospital’s and specialists and schools trying to get the days excused to make sure he still graduates this year and that my other can go onto high school. Three weeks of illness in both of them. I’m losing my mind. I don’t even know what a shower is most days and forget washing my hair. It’s a mess in a ponytail….BUT….we are doing what NEEDS TO BE DONE!!!!

    You are there in the moments they will remember. They won’t remember a game of Candy Land but they will remember how you dried them off after a bath, how you tucked them in at night and went through your bedtime routine. They will always remember the taste of your sandwiches and when they make one themselves as an adult they will tell you it’s not as good as the one you used to make. My 27 Yr. old loves MY grilled cheese and won’t eat any other. 😉

    That is the stuff they take with them…I promise you. :) Be strong. You are doing it all right.

  7. December 15, 2014

    Michelle Liimatainen Reply

    I forgot to add that savoring a cup of tea while the dishes rot in the sink isn’t the end of the world. We will get them done. Take the time. I took time to read your blog today. That was my me time….THANK YOU for that. Now….off to heal the sick.

  8. December 15, 2014

    Sarah Reply

    Thank you for this. Just last night I was saying that I was feeling overwhelmed (3.5 month old and 3.5 year old girls) and that I was missing out on just being in the moment with them. I joined my 3.5 year old on her fort that she had built and tried hard to have fun, even with the to do list of things we needed to accomplish after bed time. After the girls were in bed, my husband pushed me out the door for a 5 minute walk around the block by myself. It was lovely, snow and Christmas lights (we are your Canadian neighbours to the north). I came home feeling much calmer and happier. So important to just take a few minutes for ourselves. Thank you for writing this, it helps to know I’m not alone!

    • June 26, 2015

      Katie Reply

      Taking the walk outside is great. I have 3 children. I sent my oldest off to college last Fall and crashed into a horrible depression even though I still have 2 at home. Cherish every moment. It is not about how many games you play it’s about being together. But when stress crashed in a walk by yourself is a great idea, as is yoga, and prayer. Nit to mention a dinner out with friends. Also write down 3 things you are grateful for every day. You can do it, one day at a time.

  9. December 15, 2014

    emily Reply

    I cannot stand it when I sit down to play a game or read a book to my daughter…only to have my to-do list stream through my head. Or to just focus on a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Then she smiles at me…and I melt. The kiddos are having a great time, so we need to join them in this joy!
    Great reminder. Thank you!

  10. December 15, 2014

    M Payne Reply

    Once again, your post is so timely! I too have been wondering where all the fun and silliness has gone around here. I’ve been thinking about making 2015 the year of silly – a way to reconnect with what makes me happy and how to just laugh more with all those people I love. I’d totally be up for a Happy project if you start one – a way to tap into that fun side of myself again and stop taking myself so bloody seriously 😉 Life is meant to be joyful, right!? and I know being more gentle with myself and not beating myself up about all the mom guilt, etc is one way to get there. I hope you are able to find that happy place over the holidays!

  11. December 15, 2014

    Angela K Reply

    Oh ya, I totally see myself forgetting how to have fun, and my son is only 3.5 yrs old. But there are all the normal things to do plus deep cleaning the entire house because the dog got fleas bad…so I when boy wakes from his nap I will stop and play with play dough with him like I didn’t do yesterday when he asked. Thank you for the reminder!!!!!!! <3

  12. December 15, 2014

    Jenna Reply

    Today this post was exactly what I needed to read…..I can’t thank you enough for the words you have written here- they truly made the difference that I have desperately needed for some time now.

  13. December 15, 2014

    Rebecca Reply

    I can relate to your post, and as a homeschooling mom I can add the fact that I am with my kids 24/7/365 and really all I want to do is find some space. I feel guilty for not playing after I’ve spent 3 hours with them working on reading and math. I get so tired by bed time story hour has fallen to the wayside for simply “go to bed.” There are special moments of laughter and around the dinner table when they talk about the silliest things. Those are the times I try to remember when I feel like I cant do another thing. Its quaint to say “this too shall pass” but Hallelujah it is true! You are doing a good thing.

  14. December 15, 2014

    Tanya Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Every word resonates with me, which is usually the case with every blog you share.

    I have a five-year-old son and a two-year old daughter and I am bitter. I’m exhausted and I cannot find Joy in motherhood. At all.

  15. December 15, 2014

    Momma Kat G Reply

    You have NO idea how much this sums up my feelings of late. I am a mom of a 6 yo and 4 yo. Today, while I worked from my computer at Mickey D’s (I travel for my FT job) and my littles were off to school and our child care provider’s, I watched this mom and her child with envy. She PLAYED with her child, she LAUGHED with her child, she SMILED with her child…and I felt jealous…and sad. I don’t know how to do that anymore, it seems… and tonight, when I took a few moments to tickle them, my boy with the hair-trigger reflux puked up his dinner from laughing too hard… Motherhood IS a hard job… but I wish someone could help me find the fun in it to make the hard more bearable. I am all for some sort of “finding the fun” in 2015.

  16. December 15, 2014

    Charlie Reply

    Having raised six girls and having had my share of “Where is the happy” moments I have to say … This is the most truthful and touching post I’ve read in awhile. So much time is spent on just not being in the present moment with our children. Thank you so much for affirming these young mommas. I have 12 grands now and have wTched my daughters at various times go through the tough times…. I hope to show them this piece and tell them how proud I of them… Thank you again Rachael for being so open and honest…. These sweet women deserve that.

  17. December 16, 2014

    Susan Reply

    We as moms do the best we can, there is no manual that we get when we have are children we do the best we can, an hope that we having loving children that grow into amazing Adults. There is not one mother in this world that can say they are the perfect mom, if they think they are there kidding themselves. No mom is perfect…. Just remember love your children no matter what and do the best you can. I did the best I knew how and im the mom of Three amazing adults now !

  18. December 16, 2014

    Shannon Reply

    You hit the nail on the head. It’s so hard to enjoy the time with our kids when our brains can’t ever “turn off.” I am trying to do what you are — forcing myself to have a little time to myself each day — as well as making more time for my son, even when there are other things I should be doing! One of my friends always says, “Tomorrow. Everything will be there tomorrow.” I need her constant reminder that the chores won’t ever go away but childhood will!
    Peace and love to you and your family this holiday season.
    Shannon in PA

  19. December 17, 2014

    Melissa Reply

    I appreciate your thoughts here and sharing your feelings so openly. It’s true we need to “take care of ourselves” but we also need to not feel the need to control all of our circumstances or for our lives to look “perfect.” It is also true that we are enabling our children’s creativity and joy by organizing and arranging, by feeding and clothing them so selflessly. And while they are young we have to do all of those things for them. But my kids are now 9, 7, 5, and 2 and especially the older 2 have a lot of responsibility which actually makes my life a lot easier. And I have long ago given up this idea of “control.” Do I cook and clean and do my best to make sure our house is in order? Sure I do. But do I let to-do lists own me? No, I don’t think I do. I find a lot of joy in the moments of life, because people matter, tasks do not. I hope this can happen for you and some of your readers too. Let go, Someone is in control and I’m glad it doesn’t have to be me!

  20. December 17, 2014

    Heather Reply

    Thanks for posting this. It’s like you had a hidden camera in my life. Thank you again.

  21. December 17, 2014

    crystal Reply

    As I left my kids room tonight my 4yr old yelled Im the meanest mom ever. I wondered what I was doing wrong, why bedtime is such hell these days, and why am I always so unhappy. “This isnt what I signed up for!” I cried to an empty livingroom. And then minutes later I sat down and read this. Tears tears tears. Thank you mama. You get it. I am there with you. I want to be happy too and its really hard right now. I have never commented before but this touched me so deeply. Thank you for writing this. We need to be more truthful and open about how truly hard motherhood is. Much love to you

    • December 18, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you, Crystal. Much love in return. I think there is freedom in being real and in that freedom we have the realization that we’re really doing better than we thought and that others have struggles too.

      May you have a day with bits of joy sprinkled without.

      Rachel

  22. December 19, 2014

    Andrea Reply

    I cried also when I read this as a mom of twin four year old boys. I love them more than anything in the world but also feel overwhelmed at times when work is busy and they are fighting, house is a mess, etc……. I just take a deep breath and think hard that these times are going to pass. I know I will look back and want them to be little again even though this is crazy. ha! LOVED your article and so many can relate, not just myself. Thanks again for those kind and inspiring words. Happy Holidays from one busy mom to another!!!

  23. December 20, 2014

    Elizabeth Reply

    Oh my goodness, 100 times yes. I am so in on the Happy Moms Project. Thanks for speaking to this mom’s spirit tonight.

  24. December 20, 2014

    Sabrina Reply

    Today. I cried. And cried. My kids hugged me. My husband hugged me. And I just kept crying. Everyone asking what was wrong and how they could help. I had no words. I couldn’t put the feelings that you wrote above into words. I spent my day somber. Trying to get by and trying to understand myself and how to describe my feelings. I put my kids to bed. Opened my facebook and there was this post in my feed. I read it. And I cried. This is exactly it. What I was feeling. But couldn’t piece together. Thank You. I sent it to my husband. Bc I couldn’t have said it any better. and I’ll take the advice. And work on one small thing again. Thank You.

  25. December 21, 2014

    Wendy Reply

    Thank you for this very thoughtful blog. As a mom full-time working mom to two teenaged girls & a 12 year old boy I find that I am constantly tired & that I have to fake having fun. There is so much pressure to be the “perfect mom” that we mom’s miss the journey.

  26. December 21, 2014

    Amy Reply

    I thought it was something I’d done, maybe I needed therapy, or a maid, maybe it was PPD, or maybe I needed to completely let go of keeping a semi clean house all together. But no, this is it. This is why I cry at night and feel guilty for not parenting my 5 yo with glee while having 2 infants. I really lost the happy and tears and stress have replaced it. I’m glad I’m not alone in this. I really want to let go and be happy again.

  27. December 21, 2014

    Annelies Reply

    Ok, I’m signing up for the club!
    I’m mama to a 5yr old girl and a week old baby boy and this has been a really stressful week, juggling, managing, sleeping and settling into life with two little people and Christmas to plan.
    I have always been such a happy fun person and your post has helped me get back on that track – of course, we lose our real selves at times in the relentless end of laundry, hoovering, cooking, working and school runs, but I am determined to make 2015 fun for my ‘play with me mamma’ daughter and for me, and try to leave her ‘five more mins hunny’ hunny mamma somewhere else.

    Xxxx

  28. December 21, 2014

    marcelle Reply

    Im failing…mother of a 6.5 yo and twin 2.5 yos…all boys…working full time….and Im failing…with the boys….failing at work and..add to that failng as a wife. I just cant seem to make it all work…as much as I want to change, I just have not been successful…chalk up another failure.

    Your post is great, but it only serves to remind me that I am failing at yet something else..dont think I remember what laughter means…its been that long.

    I wish you and the other moms that posted comments luck in 2015 and making this a happy year. Love to you all and happy holidays!!

    • August 6, 2015

      kat Reply

      Marcelle, I hope that since you have posted your comment to this article that you have had a chance to rest. To catch your breath. Honey, we all fail. I know I fail daily. I think, as moms, we put more pressure on ourselves to be all and do all. We expect far more out of us than anyone else does. It may seem like you are pulled in all directions between the house, the job, the kids, and significant others in your life. But I want you to know you are not alone. You’re not the only one. I’m praying encouragement into your life. I’m praying that friends and family will speak a word or two that lighten up your load, that even random acts of kindness from strangers will bring a smile to your face. I’m praying that you see the joy and love in your children’s eyes.

  29. December 22, 2014

    Kristi Reply

    “Sometimes sometimes sometimes it’s easy to lose us and our happy in the midst of this crazy life journey with twenty plus years of motherhood tucked in the middle.”

    So true. The sacrifice of self for our children and husbands is truly a sacrifice. Our wants and needs are no longer the #1 priority. HOWEVER, we do still need to take care of ourselves. Enjoying a few moments each day can go a long way towards regaining some joy and happiness. Thanks, Rachel, for sharing so openly; this mom appreciates it.

  30. December 22, 2014

    Amy Reply

    You know, over the summer, I made an instagram hashtag #happymom because I wanted to do exactly this. Remember how to be happy. But then… you know, life happened and I forget about it a lot. Thanks for the reminder. I’m bringing back the hashtag in 2015.

  31. December 23, 2014

    Sarah Reply

    I’ve been feeling like this for years.. With the occasional glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, but I refuse to give up and believe that happy won’t return

  32. December 23, 2014

    Martha Reply

    When I say this I’m sure I will be judged or scoffed at. I’m a single stay at home mother of one. More times than not I feel this way too. I love on a fixed income due, due to complications after giving birth I cannot work. It is stressful trying to support myself and my daughter on an income meant for someone living in a nursing home. My house stays a wreck, my personal life is in shambles, but I have my daughter and that’s the silver lining. God has truly blessed me. I have decided to give up the stereotype of the “perfect mom” and just go with it. It’s taken 8 years but I doing it. Your posts especially the strength of a mother post has touched my heart. I thought I’d share despite always having chronic pain and stress I try to deal with the happiness part by letting go. I ask myself is it worth having a spotless home and being grumpy and hateful toward!my blessing? Is it worth her picking up that behavior herself? So I leave the glitter in the floor until I can get to it. But being truly happy and playing the boring board games and focusing is hard. Thank you for your post and I’ve decided not to let the glitter on the floor bother me and make me feel terrible and realize it’s not selfish to sit in my chair reading posts from different moms and reading my bible and exploring pinterest is ok. I have to find the old me again so my daughter and I will enjoy our time together before she hits that dreaded stage of “drop me off around the corner” and the threat of walking her into school in my pjs and unfixed hair is not a laughing matter.

  33. December 23, 2014

    Debra Reply

    I sooooo needed this right now especially during the holidays when we should be happiest. I’m losing it with the stress of gift buying, wrapping, planning Christmas meal, making sure house is in order, all the while being interruped every 2 seconds with “mom where’s ___; mom so & so hit me, mom I’m hungry, mom I need to go to the bathroom, but I’m scared & don’t want to go by myself, mom can you play with us” etc etc. I do want to play, but that means leaving all that other to do stuff undone, which leaves me staying up until midnight or later getting it done as quietly as I can so I don’t wake anyone then getting less sleep, which leaves me a big cranky pants & resentful towards my husband whose snoring away. Yes this made me feel better & I know we’re not alone, but most days it sure feels like it. I do have that one thing I do for myself to try & bring the happy back & to get rid of the frustration & be myself, but I’m finding that it’s causing conflict in the family so now I have to adjust my thing that helps me stay sane so the rest of the family can try to run smoothly. It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s what we do. Motherhood is the hardest job yet the most rewarding & I can’t imagine my life without my 3 kiddos, but boy someone should have told me about this part vs just the highlights.

  34. December 23, 2014

    Melissa Reply

    I’m so relieved it’s not just me. I have often wondered lately why I can’t seem to be happy or have fun anymore. Overall, I just feel stressed, sad, or angry most of the time. Finances stress me out, and my kids’ constantly asking for new things makes me feel guilty that I can’t buy them that $200 lego set that they asked Santa for, or the $400 power wheels toy. I feel angry that I signed myself up for student loans years before I met my husband, back when I thought I would never get married or have kids, so now I have to work to pay those loans off, and more guilt that can’t be home with my little ones. And I feel sad that I seemed to have lost the person I used to be, the person I was when I was in my 20’s. I love my children more than life itself and would do it all over again, but it doesn’t change those nagging feelings that get to me every day. Those feelings creep in when I am trying like mad to get everything done in a day, and can never get it all done because I’m constantly interrupted or derailed. I can’t seem to remember to let go of all of that and be present in the moment. I know someday I will miss these days, but right now I feel like I’m just treading water and trying to survive.

  35. January 1, 2015

    Angela Reply

    Thank you. I am worn out. Day nine of nasty cold virus attacking my family…husband has it the worst (sinus infrction). I am worn out and not happy. Moms don’t get to take sick days.. I envy my 7, 5.5 and 2 year olds’ ability to be oblivious to all the things needing to be done around the house and just play. Or to be able to sit down and not have a to do list a mile long on my brain.

    It was so refreshing to read this today…to realize I am not alone. Thank you.

    I recently lost my die-hard optimism…maybe I can find it again someday soon. :)

  36. January 3, 2015

    Life As A Convert Reply

    Sometimes I try to have fun with my kids – but it is during those times that I realize I can’t force happiness. I just have to let go of some of my responsibilities and go with the new flow of children pulling me down to their level of what the world is like.

  37. January 10, 2015

    Julie S Reply

    Thank you. We had a really rough night and I’m crying my eyes out for all my wrongs. It’s good to know I am not alone and I am not the most terrible mom ever.

  38. January 20, 2015

    Kelly Reply

    Being a single mom to a sassy 5 year old princess, I can relate to this all too well. Thank you for writing this. Sometimes it hard to remember to be happy even though you want to scream. Playing games can be torture. I love my little artist but sometimes, okay most times, she draws a tiny animal in the center of an entire piece of paper and the rest gets thrown into the garbage before I can stop it. But you are right. Take it one day at a time, cherish it and relax.

  39. February 4, 2015

    Laura @ Mothering Spirit Reply

    I love this so much. I made two simple resolutions for New Year’s, and one of them was to have fun with my kids. I felt so embarrassed that this was my oh-so-needed resolution that I didn’t tell a SOUL – I mean, shouldn’t that be a given as a parent? But I get caught up in the urgent and the rest, just like you. I have a long ways to go on this, but I am trying each day to do one little thing to have fun with my kiddos. And oh, the days when I do are so great. Just 10 minutes of chasing them around the house while they laugh is the best.

  40. February 9, 2015

    Kristin Reply

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. As a Mom to 4 kids from 3-11yrs who also works I am so relieved to find it isn’t just me.

  41. February 9, 2015

    jesmine Reply

    As a mother of 5 girls, I sobbed reading this. We as mother’s have a lot on our plates and sometimes can be too critical of one another instead of empathetic and supportive. I appreciate this so dearly. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to come together in truth and in a safe place to realize we are not alone. Cheers to being Happy and not feeling guilty about it. Xoxo

  42. February 10, 2015

    Jayden Reply

    I’m not a mom (I’m a dad!) but I know exactly how all of this feels. Both my partner and I have felt these concerns and similar thoughts of “why am I not fun anymore” and constant feeling of suckage and self-loathing and self-deprecation and WE BOTH REALLY NEEDED THIS. I read it out to her. We really needed it.

    So thank you heaps. You have lifted my spirits some.

  43. February 10, 2015

    Amy Phoenix Reply

    Thank you…

  44. February 10, 2015

    Lacey Reply

    Thank you. Thank you! I’ve been struggling so much lately with trying to enjoy motherhood. I remember having my first and it was hard, but it felt so special! Now that I have three kiddos, pets, a daycare…library books are due, lunches to make, everyone is bickering, the house never feels clean…I feel a little like I’m drowning. I don’t want to just get through it, I want to be happy! Little steps I suppose! Your words are so real and they needed to be said! ❤

  45. February 10, 2015

    Elizabeth Reply

    Well said! I have felt that way a lot, even now as my kids are in middle school and high school. Cherish the fun moments, laughing and playing and making messes and being the fun happy mom, because the older they get, the faster they seem to grow up. (And you hit the nail on the head about Candyland, ha ha. Monopoly is even worse.

  46. February 11, 2015

    Fiona Reply

    Thank you for inspiring me to take time out with my kids – guilt free and try and laugh. I am trying to do one happy thing a day. Today we laughed whilst playing eye spy on the way back from school. Thank you x

  47. February 11, 2015

    Lindsay Reply

    What a great article. Couldn’t have been shared at a better time. As a mom of 7, I cannot tell you how many times I feel this way. Some days are great, most feeling tragically exhausting. Thanks for sharing and reminding us all that it’s o.k. to feel this way.

  48. February 11, 2015

    Pam Reply

    this post speaks to me. I have three boys that are 5,4 and almost a year old. My days and nights are exhausting. Some days I get a glimmer of happy and I know that it is possible for me to feel it but it is a lost emotion these days. Thank you for giving this feeling a voice.

  49. February 12, 2015

    Tania Reply

    I love your posts. They are real and beautiful.

  50. February 12, 2015

    Kayla Acker Reply

    This just filled my eyes with tears.. just something I needed to hear today. Thank you so much.

  51. February 23, 2015

    nicole Reply

    I liked reading your post. Yes it is true this will pass..I have 8 kids ranging from 13 on down. I think we fool ourselves into thinking we have to entertain and be fun all the timIn our house I got really run down keeping up and something had to be done. I enlisted ALL my children in helping with the house and themselves. We started doing cleaning games, contests, dinner, chores, prizes, etc. In turn this helped us to have fun, enjoy jobs and spend time. I think we all have breaking points but seriously we all need to just show our kids love.

  52. March 30, 2015

    Lindsay Reply

    Thank you so much for this tonight. I had a really tough day and I really needed to be reminded that life is too short to not be a happy mom, enjoy my children and be in the moment.

  53. March 30, 2015

    Ellen Reply

    This is exactly what I was thinking as I was brushing my teeth tonight. Where did my happiness go? Did I ever have it? I needed to read this. As my kids would say “it’s like you read my mind”. Nope, I’m a mom. I know exactly what you need or want. It’s my superpower. My new superpower is going to be doing something for me one time per day WITHOUT guilt, because I’m a mom and I deserve it.
    Thank you.

  54. March 30, 2015

    elena Reply

    Thank you! I am nearly crying, it’s exactly how I feel right now!

  55. March 31, 2015

    Laurie Reply

    Thank you Rachel,
    So good as usual. You are changing lives with your ministry. Thank you for being real and for putting into words and validating how many of us feel. I am going to make it my first priority to laugh and smile with my children when they come home from school today :)
    Laurie

  56. March 31, 2015

    Leanne Redding Reply

    I’m the stressed mom. The phone always in hand to do work mom. Just this morning my preschooler told me to put my phone in my “cubby” while we did Legos. I am actually putting college on hold after going for a few years because I’m so stressed. Today I’m going to put my phone away, put off the housework, and just play. Thank you for reminding me.

  57. April 1, 2015

    Amy Reply

    I desperately needed this article today. Thank you. I work full time and am working on my MBA at 3am every morning, have three kids (1, 3, and 7), an amazing husband who was laid off a few months ago and is now also going back to school, and I feel I’ve lost my joy in the midst of all of this goodness! It felt good to know I’m not alone in the struggle for balance.

  58. April 29, 2015

    Jackie Reply

    what a beautiful thing to read. I was asking myself the past few days ‘am I doing enough?’ . I feel like I’m neglecting some part of my children’s lives, are they getting enough attention, are they having enough fun? Are they seeing too much of the stress that comes along with parents that work wonky shifts and are searching long and hard for the perfect balance?

    There’s a never ending checklist in my brain and I plan on adding a few happy moments to it. A happy mom equals a happy family. Thank you Rachel for this read. It was a great reminder. :)

  59. April 29, 2015

    Lara Reply

    Oh thank you, your words ring so true and explain exactly how I’m feeling. The guilt and the pressure I put on myself. Thank you so much for your words of comfort and inspiration.
    Lara (Melbourne, Australia)

  60. April 30, 2015

    Dawnelle Reply

    I to live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota and can resonate with your article so much. I felt like you were speaking right to me. What great advice for moms! Hard to see the blessings right in front of us some days and even harder to appreciate them. I too am working at it and love knowing that there are others out there that feel the same way. Thank you so much for sharing , your honesty was so enlightening.

  61. June 14, 2015

    Tina Reply

    Thank you so much for this! After 20 years of parenting, you’d think I have it all figured out…well not really. This post really hit home & helped me realize I’m not alone. ive been struggling to figure out what I was feeling, why I didn’t enjoy playing games anymore. Why I can’t answer the question of what makes me happy, me not the kids or the spouse or the grandparents or my friends…me. What do I want to do??? Now I realize…in the hustle & bustle of creating a family and raising my kids…I forgot how to be happy. I continually put myself on the back burner to be present for my kids & spouse, always striving to make sure they are happy that I forgot how to make myself happy. I’m always so busy trying to put on the right mask that I don’t know how to be real, to be happy. Thank you for putting into words what I feel inside and don’t don’t know how to express.

  62. June 24, 2015

    Andrea Reply

    Thank you for this post. I feel the same way. I’ve mastered running the house and getting things done and getting people to where they need to go. But I’ve totally lost the “happy.” :( I find praise music works sometimes. But, as a newly single mom, sometimes it doesn’t. I enjoy reading your blog which gives me a sense of being in this together!

  63. June 24, 2015

    Rachel Reply

    I think especially in the “Pinterest/social media everyone can be a perfect parent behind the veil of a keyboard” age the struggle to be present and have fun is real. Guilt creeps in no matter what we do and we doubt. It is the biggest part of parenthood I was entirely not prepared for. Thanks for putting it out there and sharing :)

  64. June 25, 2015

    Rex Harris Reply

    If life has taught me anything, it’s that being a grandparent is much different than being a parent. Becoming a grand parent at a young age has also helped me to become a better dad to my older kids. My kids and my grand kids are the people who I prefer to be around, more than any… and play is what you make it, from what I have experienced. It’s more enjoyable when you just bring them into the loop and learn together. Great post!

  65. June 25, 2015

    Kate Swenson Reply

    I love this post. I have two boys and one is autistic and nonverbal at age 4. I get so wrapped up in the speech and therapy and teaching and patience and hoping and crying that I sometimes honestly forget that Cooper is just a little boy. I go numb and on auto pilot just to make it through. And it’s not fair to either of my boys. This post is great. And you are doing an amazing job mama. Head up!

  66. June 25, 2015

    Sia Hills Reply

    This is so true. Loved the part about the games (I am not sure I will ever be able to easily get through a game of Candy Land – ha). One thing I did that has helped alot, was to not compare myself to others (I know its a natural tendency for us moms, but I try…). Not compare how clean my house is to theirs, or how many outings my kids go on compared to theirs, or how many date nights or flowers I get, compared to “her”, or whether my make up is put on and I am in cute shoes like “she” is. Sometimes this means turning off the Facebook feed. Sometimes it means just reassuring myself in my head that I have giftings in certain areas, and short comings in others. I will work on my short comings – but I certainly cannot compare them to “her” giftings. I have one child with severe asthma, and we have had many hospital stays and close calls, etc. Sometimes, as scary as they were, those ER visits where a blessing. It was that point I just had to let everything else go, and focus on that child and that moment. It was tough. Bills still had to be paid. Mouths fed. Sleep fit in somewhere. But I learned to do things like walk through the hospital with my sick kiddo and fall in love with the fish tank we could gaze at, or the special drink he loved in the cafeteria. When hard times came in other areas, I would do the same thing. Lay in bed with my kids when they were sick, and think – I am so thankful I have this comfy bed, and a washer and dryer to clean up their messes with! Or when I was broke, take a minute away from work and walk with my kids through the woods and point out the magical kingdom we found there. They named it Princess land instead of the woods – and talk about to this day! For me I found focusing on the things I had to be grateful for brought the joy back. I get that is not easy in tough circumstances…and is not a judgement on anyone else. Just a tip of what helped me find those special moments to enjoy with my kids, when it felt like life was overwhelming me and might just swallow me up :)

  67. June 25, 2015

    Jayden Reply

    I’m almost 70 and have very grown children with grandchildren. I have lost my ‘HAPPY’ feeling helpless because none of their troubles, I’m able to control. I too, can’t enjoy my grandchildren or play wit them because my mind is cluttered with unfinished things. I find I’m not alone. My grandmother friends for the most part are loosing happy also.
    Thank you for writing and helping us see more clearly.

  68. June 25, 2015

    Sherrie Reply

    Wow!! I needed to read this, especially after the day I’ve had today. I think this entire article was written totally about me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “I’m a bad mom. I’m not the mom I want to be”. I sure wish motherhood (or at least my kids) would have come with an owner’s manual.

  69. June 26, 2015

    Lesley Els Reply

    So powerful, and so true. Hope I can find the “happy” again!!

  70. June 26, 2015

    Patricia Toscano Reply

    Hey I know how those days felt. I have a 3 tear old boy. There are some suggestions: get dad involved. Get support from your family, friends, community, babysitter. When the house is a crazy mess and you just can’t deal with it, if finances permit, take kids out somewhere fun and call a cleaner. Take the pressure off your shoulder. We tend to think we need to be super heroes. And we are a lot of times. But if we don’t take breaks to rest and re-energize you will run in low steam and burnt out. It’s just a real bad place to go. If you can’t afford taking all kids to daycare take the oldest. Maybe pre school or a sport. It’s totally understandable how you feel but remember that you deserve to rest and some me time and make a plan. I hope that helps.

  71. June 26, 2015

    Jenny Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this post!! This is exactly how I feel most days. It is nice to know I’m not alone.

  72. June 26, 2015

    Brooke Reply

    I cannot express how much I can relate to you! I was just telling my friend last week that I do not know how to be happy anymore and do not know how to fix it. She just sent me this link and you nailed it! I guess I never looked at it as doing one thing a day that makes me happy, instead I looked at it as “what is wrong with me, why can I not find joy in anything anymore” looking at the whole picture. I look at my husband and how happy he is when he plays with our girls and get jealous. Especially when the “to do” list constantly runs through my mind. Then I become angry because I feel like I do it all. I don’t do it all, but at the moment that is what it feels like. Selfish is what I feel and jealous, but I have been trying to get out of the house on my days off to do things with my girls. I have found that I can have fun and enjoy my girls when out of the home because I do not think of my “to do” list. Thank you for posting this article! I actually got teary eyed reading it because I feel exactly as you described… guilty! You are a great mom!

  73. June 26, 2015

    Randi Reply

    Thank you so much for being beyond honest and writing this. This article represents the way I have felt since my youngest started walking and talking. Just the other day I found myself in tears while doing dishes and thinking about all the time I didn’t sit and play with my kids that day. It can be more difficult being a stay at home mom than most may think. I don’t have “all the time in the world” to do w/e I want. I think most of us also put more on our shoulders because we stay home. I’m home all day, nothing should be out of place or have a speck of dust on it or I have failed my family. Yes, that is how I feel most days. I exhaust myself. I’ve been on the verge of thinking something must be wrong with me, I should feel more happiness. I pray everyday for God to help me have the strength to overcome my own crazy, out of control mind and to let me just take a breathe and relax. I find myself just letting go sometimes and singing at the top of my lungs to Taylor Swift while dancing in the living room with my kids, I think “why can’t I always be like this”. I feel that for most of us the key is finding BALANCE. I’m working on it, and flat out struggling with it…..but I won’t give up.

  74. June 26, 2015

    Luciana Reply

    From a busy mom in Argentina.. Thank you !!

  75. June 26, 2015

    Nikki Reply

    Wow. Thank you. I have forgotten how to be happy lately myself. Thanks for reminding me…

  76. June 26, 2015

    Lea Reply

    Wow!! I have been having a difficult time the past few years and this is exactly how I have been feeling. Where is the happy? Where us the fun? I feel like I am constantly running. There is always some chore that needs to be done! Thank you soo much for putting your experience into such eloquent words. It really does help to know that there are others going through the same thing. Most of the mom’s I know seem to have it all together. Thank you again for your words and bringing hope back into my days ☺

  77. June 26, 2015

    Emily Reply

    This is lovely. I feel I have lost myself to the busy but such a good reminder or acknowledgement or whatever. Thanks

  78. June 26, 2015

    tera Reply

    A lot of days I wonder if “todays” struggle is the one that will leave a permanent memory/scar. I wonder how many times i can say “I’m sorry, please forgive me. I’m just having a _______ day” Fill in the blank. Bad. Tiring. Frustrating. Overwhelming. But when your kid looks at you and says “you’re always tired” it’s so hard not to feel like a failure. It’s difficult to give more when you’re all burned out. I hate seeing the disappointment in their faces when all I want is to be left alone.The mental fatigue far surpasses the physical most days. So, I needed to read this today. Thank you for writing it.

  79. June 26, 2015

    Angela Reply

    I started reading, and until the first “picture break” I wondered if I had the right article!? So hard to universally define “happy.”
    I find the things mentioned at first as “fun.” I love scrambling with late laundering of baseball pants. The suspense if the dryer will *bing* “finished” or I’ll be forced to rip them out “unfinished” and thrust them at my son (all the while hoping they are dry enough that he doesn’t get jock itch.) I have snickered, then belly laughed at my kid’s meltdowns, then watched them turn into shared laughter before we just surrender and go make chicken nuggets for dinner and watch Cartoon Network. I have been missing a key dinner ingredient (or milk…again,) surveyed my kids grubby, mismatched appearances, decided they would be perfect on a “Save the Children” commercial yet we packed up and tackled the grocery store anyway. I’ve wiped noses with the inside bottom of my t-shirt, slept with a blanket…on a bare mattress…with a sick kid because I’m out of clean sheets at 4am and am so sleepy I can’t remember my own name. I have prayed for silence and peace when I’m sick, (as my husband travels for work,) while the kids wallow all over the bed (and me) eating my saltines and forcing me to listen/watch 1,000 episodes of Spongebob. The list truly goes on for miles….ugly, hard, crazy, funny, messy, tiring, humbling and beautiful moments.
    With the right attitude and perspective, I think you can redefine “happy.” It’s not super pretty and It does take some time, effort, and a healthy sense of humor to see, but it’s worth it. :)

  80. June 26, 2015

    lauren Reply

    Thank you for this. I feel like this a lot lately with my 8 year old daughter, I work full time, go to grad school part time, and I am a single mother. I have had most of my family members say that I should have not returned to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner because I am depriving my child of I quote “a good summer because you have homework”. I think society has this idea that mothers are only to tend to the home and kids, however we are not in the 1960s anymore! Thanks again for the good read, you hit it spot on!

    • August 31, 2015

      Jane Reply

      Keep telling yourself that.

  81. June 27, 2015

    Lisa Reply

    Ahh..been feeling this for way too long. Summer is here..kids home all day needing entertainment. DH..guess what-tonight you may come home to dishes in the sink, oh and that load of laundry I forgot to pull from the washer last night ridden with mildew smell needing a 2nd wash(promise you’ll have clean underwear in the am!) Didn’t make it to the grocery today..have no fear..kids at least had milk with breakfast. And YAY..it’s pizza party night for dinner..the kids are so excited..BON APPETITE!
    I got this :)

  82. June 27, 2015

    Julie Reply

    Very well spoken. It can be very hard to be a fun and happy mom when you are trying to keep the house a float so to speak. There are some days I focus on getting things done, but then I realize I need to spend some of that time just playing with my girls. Thanks again for the well spoken words. I always look forward to your encouraging posts.

  83. June 27, 2015

    Liz Reply

    Thank you. On top of going back to school full time (which is extremely stressful in and of itself), I have an unsupportive spouse who has told me “it’s amazing you have any friends with how Eyeore-ish you are”. Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming upstream, but I love my girls more than anything and it helps give me motivation to keep doing as best as I can! I’m (selfishly) glad to see that other folks are going through this, and that I’m not alone.

  84. June 27, 2015

    chany Reply

    Truly amazing thank you for wditting what we all felt

  85. June 27, 2015

    Kathleen Reply

    Thanks for posting this… I feel this even moreso, being I am a single mom, work full time as a nurse and have minimal support from ex-husband or family. More often than not I feel like I am not doing a good job, like you said, all you want is some validation that you are doing the best you can and hug after another exhausting day.

  86. June 27, 2015

    Tess Reply

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I just went back to work after about two years home. Ugh! I’m exhausted…like can’t keep my eyes open exhausted. My kiddos didn’t get the memo on how to react to mom going back to work. You know the memo that instructs them that they must go to bed the first time I ask. So the with the exhaustion in high gear, I feel like a runaway train just trying to get things done that MUST get done. Then I feel guilty because I’ve yelled for 30 minutes telling all four kids to please, just get in the shower. Or I feel guilty because we are eating cereal for dinner or bagels for dinner. And I keep wondering when this will get easier? Because it never gets easier.

    The hardest part of this season is just trying to enjoy it…just a little. I know these days are numbered. And hoping that I don’t punch the next person in the grocery store that says “these are the days of your lives”.

  87. June 28, 2015

    Elaine Reply

    Thank you for this, this is the part where we get lost. I have tried to forgive myself until I finally did. All those uncontrollable bitter feelings where you are outside of yourself watching the chaos and having the expectations that someone will help you when they see that you haven’t washed the puke and pee out of your hair in three days. Somehow they miss that. It is about NOT having those expectations because noone can live up to them, which is hard to swallow I know. But just being okay with what is temporary anyway. We can love that we are the mom who doesnt get to wash or bathe for three days because that IS possible for us. We can do anything, and no one can but us for our children. So, the bitterness ends when we forgive our expectations and love who we are for being so strong. Forgive mom, she is superhuman.

  88. June 28, 2015

    Tracey Reply

    Always such wise words. I have a 17, 14, and 11 year old at home, and I teach 8th graders. I always struggle coming home from a full day of teaching and teenage drama to my own children. Maintaining patience, enthusiasm, and happiness after work for my own kids is the exhausting challenge I face. My youngest, at age 5, had the perfect and most profound advice…”Mommy, you need to take off your teacher pants and put on your mommy pants. Then you’ll feel better.” So, for six years and counting, that’s what I do; I take ten minutes to swap roles (and pants). Not a 100% happiness guarantee, but pretty close.

  89. June 29, 2015

    Misty Reply

    Wow. Ditto. What a struggle it is. And honestly, I quit reading most Mom blogs, because all they do is make me feel more inadequate, like I should be doing more. But, it’s hard. How can we even cut ourselves slack when see other moms seeming to have it all together? That part about making glitter snowflakes, so much yes.

  90. June 30, 2015

    Michelle Reply

    I never comment on these things, but have to thank you for explaining just how many of us feel deep down. Lord knows how many times I’ve cried in the shower, hidden from their happy faces, wondering how I could possibly get it all done and still have an abundance of time for the fun things. Gotten frustrated at myself for failing to be everything….every other mother does it why can’t I? It’s nice to hear it’s not as easy as every other mother makes it out to be. Thank you!

  91. June 30, 2015

    Jill Reply

    You aren’t smiling in the photo towards the bottom. You’re posing. One paragraph down you erote something about smiling. Makes no sense.

  92. June 30, 2015

    Crystal Reply

    I lost my son to cancer three years ago. You would think (as I did) that it would somehow make me appreciate my time with my other kids more, you would think I would appreciate life more, you would think I’d want to make an effort to utilize my time more wisely, you would think I would do everything in my power to be closer to my other children….but it hasn’t happened and I hate myself, I hate cancer and I feel completely disconnected from everything and everyone. Especially my children. When the five of them are singing, all I can hear is the silence of the one who is gone. When they take a photo together, all I see is an empty space. I was gone for a year, torn away from my family, out of state while my son fought for his life. It was just me and him under unexplainable, intense, horrific situations…..my other children grew up so much during that time. In returning after his death, I was in shock. I missed our close connection, I missed the opportunity to fight for him, I lost over a year with my children, with my husband. I’ve come a long way, and I do try to make an effort, I really do, but it almost feels too late. Like they’ve grown too much, and I don’t know what to do with them anymore. They’re older now, which is lovely as they don’t NEED my attention the same way they used to, but I miss that close connection we ALL once had. That’s why I’m not always the happy mom. But I am a grateful mom, and I believe my kids have given me much grace and that they understand why I struggle…and I hope that they see when I DO make the effort, that I love them all very much……..

  93. June 30, 2015

    Jenny Reply

    A key point in sharing “happy” moments with my kids came from finding things that we both enjoyed. As parents we do a lot of things for our kids’ enjoyment/growth that we don’t necessarily enjoy. For example, I often took my kids to playgrounds (where I had to chase and guard them from falls every second) and that was good for them, but not my source of happiness–to me it was stressful and tedious. But, at night before bedtime stories and tucking them in, we sometime had “snuggle parties”. A blanket on the floor in the living room, Tom Paxton on the record player, candles up high where no one could knock them over, and we would just hang out on the blanket and enjoy the music. The kids would often dance about and be silly, we sang, and we snuggled, and it was all just the kind of peaceful play that made ME happy!
    My advice: don’t feel guilty if parenting isn’t always fun (it is hard work), but do find things you can share with your kids that do truly make you happy. The memories will bring you happiness again and again.

    • August 8, 2015

      Shefali Reply

      Thank you for this Jenny!!!! I totally feel this way and felt so alone wondering why I don’t enjoy playing with dinosaurs and cars all the time. But I love watching Octonauts with them! So I will do that and feel happy and not worry about it. THANK YOU for admitting that you don’t like things they like and are ok with that. You saved me!

  94. June 30, 2015

    Lauren Reply

    Thank you Thank you Thank you! I live this reality every day and every day I struggle with finding the happy part! It is as if you read my mind and put it on paper. It feels good to know that I am not alone and that I share this crazy thing called motherhood with brave moms like you!!

  95. June 30, 2015

    Nina Reply

    Relate 100%.

  96. June 30, 2015

    Nurah Reply

    Wow. Wow. Wow. This is me. This is my season in life. Most days I wonder what happened to the happy. And I can’t even bring myself to laugh. Or smile. Because there’s just so much to do and so much to deal with. And amidst it all, one feels so utterly alone. Sigh. Thank You for this reminder. Today, I will endeavor to find my happy, a happy. Hopefully, the first of many. Thank You.

  97. June 30, 2015

    Marsha Reply

    I sit here in tears even 6 months after you posted this because you have described exactly where I am at right now! I thank you so much for your post and cannot express how much it helps to know that I am not alone!

  98. July 1, 2015

    Robin Reply

    Thank you. I needed this today. As a single mom of 3, i feel this most days. along with the guilt of either not spending enough time with them, then with them and not getting everything else done. reminds me to be happy in the moment.

  99. July 1, 2015

    Laura Reply

    Love that I found this article, as two of our three are in college I look back and know I was a good Mom, but also I know I wasn’t a happy Mom. I wanted to be there with all my heart I just lost the joy somewhere along the way. That’s ok I look back and they all know how loved they are and how much they mean to us. Their Dad is happy man and I think we just took our roles and didn’t change them. The kids call him Disney dad he’s fun and I sometimes think there’s not room for two of those parents. Loved the article

  100. July 1, 2015

    Amber Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes and made me feel less alone. Thankyou for writing what so many people feel but can’t or won’t say. I am having a day where I’m down on my self and feeling guilty for so many things that I can and some I can’t control. This has lifted me up and helped me to feel a little less upset with myself:)

  101. July 1, 2015

    Amy Reply

    YES. It is hard work. Not always happy work, but there IS joy to be had in these parenting years. Thanks for the reminder.

  102. July 1, 2015

    Jen Reply

    “I want happy to return”

    Wow – took the words out of my, uh, keyboard (?).

  103. July 1, 2015

    April Reply

    You put to words everything I’ve been feeling. With two little ones, 5 and 3, I struggle daily with coming out of the chaos and frustration to find an ounce of joy. My best friend always says, it’s just the season that we’re in. I needed this encouragement today, so thank you.

  104. July 1, 2015

    Summer Reply

    Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before, I can’t seem to tell anymore) my oldest (2) started singing on the way to daycare. I turned off the music and just listened to the lighthearted wonder of a 2YO singing at 7am in the backseat of my car. It made me realize that those are the moments, my mommy moments. They may only last 5 minutes, which makes them all more important to catch.

  105. July 1, 2015

    shirley Reply

    Thank you for this.. As a single mother of 3 children UNDER 5.. Tears poured as I read this. I’m def going to try ‘me’ time & try to be a happy mom for my babies, but as you said its hard!
    I feel like a horrible mom because they always fight so i’m always refereeing……
    Thank you.. I look forward to your future posts

  106. July 1, 2015

    Heart Reply

    Thank you for this. I so need this. It’s so easy to forget the happy when you are a single mom without any support from anyone. The list of things to do just gets overwhelming and it makes me want to crawl in a hole and not come out for a year but I can’t because I have to work, work and work some more to make sure my daughter has all she needs. And on days when I get 3 hours or less of sleep, I snap at the littlest things, then I feel guilty because I feel I’m not the mom my daughter deserves. And when my daughter misbehaves, I worry if I am raising her well, if I am doing enough. It’s easier to feel like a failure than be the happy mom when you have so much on your plate. But at the end of the day, when all is peaceful and quiet, I lie down and hug my daughter, listen to her softly breathing beside me, the tears are all worth it because she is my happy.

  107. July 2, 2015

    Courtney Lynn Reply

    Absolutely love this article, it is so true and exactly what so many moms think each and every day. No one ever shares with us when we find out we are going to be having kids all the downsides of that, the long late nights sleep deprived, the temper tantrums that take us to our breaking point, the personal meltdowns that we face on a weekly basis feeling like we failed as parents and wonder if we can go on. Lol
    They only talk about all the great things and I love that you share the real issues we all face, so people know they aren’t alone in feeling what they feel. I know just a short time ago I was feeling all those unpleasant feelings and more. I was tired, stressed daily, not focused on the little things I could do to make our lives better and enjoy the time we had together. Then I had a friend share something with me and I have to say it helped so much, I was not crashing after dinner so exsusated from the day, I was in a better mood and was able to focus on getting stuff done to allow me more time to do what was enjoyable with them. I found Thrive by LeVel and it has given me the ability to be a better mom, wife and person. Rachel if you are ever interested and want to see if this could help you too I’d love to send you some for free to try. I know it’s made a difference for us and I am very grateful for that!!
    Have a great day!!!

  108. July 3, 2015

    Ashli Reply

    Thank you so much Rachel. As I sit here, just having finished cleaning the living room/my bedroom of its incredible mess that ended up being built up in the last two weeks, listening to my five year old complain about how its too hard to clean up her toy room/the used-to-be dining room with the threat that no mom ever really goes through with of “I will throw away the toys left on the floor in an hour!”, I saw this pop up on my facebook streak and took the time to read it. I really needed this. Thank you Rachel, you amazing mommy, you.

  109. July 3, 2015

    alienredqueen Reply

    “But sometimes I feel guilt. Guilt about not being more present or laughing more or having fun or not doing all the cool things that I think my kids deserve. ”

    So much this! Sometimes I feel guilty because I can’t concentrate on playing dolls and stuff like that; I get bored. My mind wanders. A four year old’s narrative only has so much depth. lol. But we can draw together for hours. She just doesn’t always want to do that. Haha. But, yeah. Guilt is such a destructive and useless emotion.

  110. July 3, 2015

    Kristin Reply

    It is 9pm, youngest asleep and my oldest is talking/playing/watching tv in the playroom…I sat on the couch wondering why I wasn’t playing with him…and then I opened my facebook and there was your blog…I read it with tears streaming down my face, feeling every word you wrote…feeling grateful that I am normal! It is summer vacation for us and I have decided that instead of hoping they play nice and with each other, I will make sure to play and to join the water fights, and leave the dishes in the sink and laundry unfolded…I will not let summer go by without enjoying my children…Thank you for opening my eyes and validating my feelings/life!!

  111. July 5, 2015

    Angie Durrell Reply

    I am SOOOO happy that I do not feel alone! That others feel this exact same way!!!!! Love Love this! Thank you

  112. July 5, 2015

    Anh Reply

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. It was just what I needed to hear because I feel like I don’t know how to be happy too with my kids.

  113. July 5, 2015

    Stacy Reply

    “you feel like you just want to throw your hands in the air and that sometimes you just want a break and sometimes just a hug or to be loved and told you matter. ”

    This was totally me today!! And thank you for writing this, I definitely needed to read that I’m not the only one!

  114. July 8, 2015

    Kathrine Reply

    Love this! So very true.

  115. July 8, 2015

    Jenny Reply

    I think I’ve lost myself in the special needs life, and I have it easy compared to many, many parents! Sometimes I think autism took the music out of my life (because my son couldn’t stand it) and that was the beginning of the end.

  116. July 9, 2015

    Maryl Reply

    Wait, why are we spending so much time playing Candyland with our kids? And “helping” them with homework? (doing it for them?) And all that other crazy stuff? Please excuse my ignorance, because right now my kids are only two and in utero (twins).

    Maybe we are making this mom job a lot harder than it should be? I don’t remember ever playing Candyland with my mother when I was a kid. I played board games with the other neighborhood girls, when the weather wasn’t good enough to run around outside just being kids. When it came to schoolwork, if I asked my mother for help, she would tell me that she had already been to school. And if I didn’t do my homework when I was supposed to have it done, then I had better be ready to face up to the consequences when the teacher asked the work that was assigned to ME (not my mother)! Harsh, I know, but I think I am a better person for it? Having learned to function on my own and accept personal responsibility.

    Let’s all be happy moms, and stop micromanaging our kids’ childhoods! Then maybe fun family together time can really be fun! And our kids will thank us for letting them grow into capable adults.

  117. July 9, 2015

    Jean Reply

    This made me cry. And nothing makes me cry! I’ve read a million “mom articles” but nothing that spoke to me quite like this. Thank you so much, I truly needed it.

  118. July 9, 2015

    Sandra Reply

    Random thoughts from Sandy: Just don’t eat food to be happy is all I have to say. I’m 60, mom of nine, grandmother to 11. I forgot about me for about 20 years, and put on nearly 60 pounds. I joined Weight Watchers, and got all of the extra weight off. Take a little time for yourself along the way. Say no when there is no way you can possibly do something, but say yes when it feels right, and enjoy the moment. Bathing the grandbaby–sit on the edge and soak your feet, and splash with him, take him on a walk even if it is hot, and let him spray you with the spray fan. Don’t try for perfection all of the time. Heck, most of the time. Do find your joy and happiness, as someone told me you can’t get tea out of an empty tea pot, so refill yourself. Find humor in the fact that you thought about washing the blue spot of plague discloser off of your new sofa before you ran out of the door, and you didn’t, and whichever child accidentally spit the blue stuff on your sofa, noticed it, and cut the fabric circle out, so the white batting below showed–true story. Laughed my head off….and patched it. Seriously, sofa soon was a little grungy and you had to look to find the patch. Life with children is busy and it is hard, but take time to stop and laugh once in awhile. Do little things that make you happy, and hire a sitter, or trade with a friend, and get out of the house once a week. Go get a soda pop while gassing up your car without any kids–leave them with the husband. Seriously, it will go wrong as they don’t really watch kids. Well, maybe some, do, but mine did a horrible job so I didn’t ask him too often. Single moms have it the worst–help one out, and that will really make your day. Smile. When you notice your face is frozen in a grimace….relax and smile. People need to see your smile. Find joy in the little stuff. You can do it.

  119. July 9, 2015

    Michelle C Reply

    I am a mom of four kids. One grown, and 3 small boys. The oldest is five and twins that will be three next month. My husband is deployed and though we have somehow managed to almost make it to the half way point, there are many days, sometimes endless moments in a day or even multiple days in a row that I find myself searching to see if I can even remember happy.
    Over stressed and overwhelmed often lately, I needed to read this. Thank you for the reminder and grounding me again if only just for a moment. I’m so tired of being tired, cranky and mean. It’s not how I want my boys to remember me when they remember their childhood.
    It’s so easy to forgot you are not alone. Thank you for the reminder.

  120. July 10, 2015

    Becky Kemp Reply

    I loved reading this post. I am in the middle of motherhood and am trying to learn to enjoy the journey. I have been a mom for almost 17 years and at times feel like I know less about it now then when I started to have my family. Last year, when I turned 39 years old I knew I needed to change. My life was so full of fear, doubt and insecurity and a lot of anxiety. I was trying to control every situation as a mother, a wife and a women. I prayed for help to God and He helped me start a journey of recovery. Motherhood is hard. Why did I think it would be easy? One thing I have started to do is look for something good each day. I try to share a little goodness each day on my social media. (be.becky) It forces me to look for something good and then be willing to share. It helps to keep me out of my own head of fear. It helps me to count my blessings instead of focusing on the negative. It helps me be me or to become who I am to become. One other thing that has helped my journey is a gratitude journal. As I write down what I am grateful for each night (10 things a night) it helps me look at life through positive and happy eyes. Life is s journey but we are to have joy in it…this I am coming to know.

  121. July 10, 2015

    Dmhmcbride Reply

    This is a wonderful article. I had three kids one year apart and worked full time. It was overwhelming most days and I honestly don’t remember a lot from when they were really little. I feel like I remember the good and bad days. Now my youngest will be six at the end of the month. It gets easier. All of mine are now in elementary school and it gets easier. They are only young once and the cleaning and laundry can wait. Play with them laugh with them. The time flies by and you can’t get the time back. Don’t stres about the small stuff!!!

  122. July 12, 2015

    Sharon Reply

    This is just what I need today, and probably a whole lot of days ago. I haven’t had a “Me-Day” in like forever. And being a working mom, I find it really hard to juggle work, housekeeping and mummy duties. Most of the time, when I get home, I am already tired from the hustle of my office work, I plan to take just 5 minutes to recharge and breathe and still can’t. Coz if I get still for a minute, all my “to-do’s” keep on popping in my head and it makes me edgy and itchy that I just brush off my recharge plans and dive in with the chores.

    Yesterday, it was already 8:30pm and I haven’t taken my bath (for the day) yet. But my kiddos were in the mood for music. I decided to jam with them, pushed off to later my bath time. And I enjoyed it a looooooooooot! It made me feel so good.

    There really is no SOP on how to manage our time and save our strength and keep our sanity in this challenge (and blessing) called ‘motherhood’, guess it’s mostly just finding ways to enjoy the ride and stop feeling guilty about everything. Our chores won’t end in a day. But those are what keep us going. Knowing that I am not alone, I realized that we are all great moms. I hope we find happiness just in that thought.

  123. July 12, 2015

    Dallas Reply

    I am a mom of two boys and a grandmother to one grandson. The fun times I have with him and all the things he says and does made me realize that I never really took the time to enjoy my boys. This is so very sad to me and so I make sure to enjoy every minute with my grandson. I wish I had known a clean house is not the most important thing.

  124. July 12, 2015

    Tanna Reply

    Thank you for this!!! I guess it turns out maybe I am a great mom, just a tired brain overwhelmed mom :) …..oh that glitter made me laugh….I was thinking “what a mess to clean up!” before I even got to that part

  125. July 13, 2015

    Katrina Reply

    Wow, I needed to read this and “hear” this. I pray to find the happy in the day and find more patience when we are doing that Science project and soap goes everywhere and food coloring graces my table or the sink over flows with 2 boys playing in the sink. I love being a mom and it is overwhelming but I yearn to hear the laughter at the end of the halls each day. I need to make that time at the end of the day with them and leave the mess and try not to let the chaos overtake my joy.

  126. July 13, 2015

    Nancy Sager Reply

    I, too had those feelings, but “way back” in 1960’s My girls are grown, with teenagers now. They talk about the same problems. One thing I noticed though – they have it much harder than I did. I was a stay at home mom, they have careers. They also have way more commitments for their kids than I did. My girls each had one kind of lesson or sport – theirs have many. On and on the comparisons go. A bit of advice from a 70+ Grandma – the world will not stop spinning if you drop a chore to have a fun time for an afternoon! Yes, you may have to stay up a half hour longer tonight to clean off the kitchen counters – but your children may remember your moment in time forever. They will be sitting around the table with kids of their own to talk about that great afternoon. From my side of life, “Life is Short” grab all the memories you can1

  127. July 13, 2015

    Lisa Reply

    Mother of 2 steps daughters, two adopted girls, two biological girls and two biological boys. Over the last 10+ years I feel like I’m the game Jenga.. People, events, history, experiences, work, school systems, sports association….you name it. These things have drained significant pieces of me me over the years. Which doesnt sound alarming, being that the main structure remained intact. But over time I’ve become less structurally sound. This sounds funny but anyone who has played the game can visually see what I mean. Here’s to ME winning the game with a smile. Thank you for sharing this article.

  128. July 13, 2015

    Suzanne Edgar Reply

    Just to say …. you are all doing a fantastic job..
    It’s hard and gets harder as they get older , then they turn into adults that are a credit to all of you and that’s a wonderful feeling..
    I found motherhood so hard, I was lucky had a hands on husband.. since divorced… our kids now parents and we are proud of them and I can relate to you all..
    Keep up the good work and love … and cherish the moments when can…
    The household stuff be there when they’ve flown the nest

    Happy parents make happy kids. If you cut corners , only you know that , gives you 5 more minutes enjoying them and baking, playing or reading , it’s worth the corner cut xxx

  129. July 13, 2015

    Lyndsy Walters Reply

    Truth!

  130. July 13, 2015

    Anon Reply

    The sad thing is that this is what I’m wondering about my marriage… where did the happy part go? The kids are a bright spot in the midst of something that seems so hard to fix.

  131. July 13, 2015

    Mary Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this. Thank you for telling me that I’m normal, and that I’m not a bad mother. That I’m a good mother. I really needed to hear that today. :):):)

  132. July 13, 2015

    Natalie Reply

    Thanks so much for this post Rachel. I cried reading it on an overwhelming day seemingly on repeat and felt so comforted. I don’t even remember when I last really and truly had fun, laughing until I cried and felt my cares were light . . . but tell myself that it is because I am working so hard to make a home, a life, a standard for our kids. I am doing alright. I will manage. This feeling will be but a shadow in the great memories I am helping to forge right now. I will try to find the moments where and when I can and know you can too. Thanks 😉

    • July 14, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are very welcome, Natalie. You are indeed forging great memories. With joy. ~Rachel

  133. July 14, 2015

    Victoria Reply

    Thank you. I really needed this. Glad I am not the only one. ☺️☺️

  134. July 14, 2015

    Martha Lafreda Reply

    this brought tears to my eyes, because it is so true and we moms do beat ourselves up too much but we just lost that happy….. I’m going to work on bringing my happy back 😀 thanks Rachel !

  135. July 14, 2015

    Virginia Reply

    This article is perfectly on target and so relatable for every mom. I thank you for the encouragement of continuing on in this path of motherhood that is so very rewarding on so many levels, but exhausting none the less. I am a teacher who thoroughly looks forward to spending what I have labeled the summer months as “relaxing with my four kids.” I try to work in the trips to the zoo, beach, museum, library, and the park- the trips that I remember so vividly as a child in a sea of six other siblings- also while trying to work around the constant work schedule of their law enforcement dad, or trying to plan it so some of their young cousins can join our group as well to foster a great memory for ALL!! :). And through trying so hard to work the stressful baseball playing schedules in amongst the many birthday/ graduation/ communion/ wedding/ anniversary/ shower family parties, I often complain about feeling like I’m being ripped into a million pieces. However, I realize there will be a time that this will be over, and all I’ll desperately long for is the chance to go to ONE MORE of these baseball games to be able to see my kiddo excel in something that was instilled in him by ME to begin with. I’ll look forward to just one more chance to see the joy in his face when he makes contact with the bat and gets a glorious hit, or the complete pride in his eyes when he makes the perfect play and gets the out at second base to end the inning. I’ll always love summertime – that time to “relax with my four kids.” And you know what? I think I’m taking them for a bike ride today to get some ice cream!! :) Thank you again for this article!! It was powerful enough to make me sit down and do a little of what I also love to do….write!
    ~Virginia

  136. July 14, 2015

    Denise Brockmeyer Reply

    You took every single word out of my heart – and surprisingly, you cooled down my guilt just knowing I am not alone out there. I work from home doing medical transcription and those 15 minutes are always, always longer 😉

    Thanks for this share. Brilliant piece to remind us moms we are ALL human. 5 kids, 3 kids or 1 kid.

  137. July 14, 2015

    Anne Reply

    My 3 kids are all grown up. The oldest girl has 2 children of her own, our middle girl is 28 & our youngest boy is 26. Guess what?….if you keep life real, you too will survive it all graciously! Here are just a few suggestions: don’t compete with other Moms ever, charity really does begin at home, dont spread yourself so thin volunteering….if you have work at home that needs to be done then that is where you should be…..keeping your home organized will give you peace of mind & more time to spend with your kids doing the fun stuff! I found the more organized my home was the less chaos in my life! And ironically the more organized you become the more time you have volunteer. Give your kids chores…they really do love to help. And if it doesn’t work today there is always tomorrow. Always make time for yourself….it rejuvenates your spirit! Give your adults kids the freedom to make mistakes…their mistakes are no longer your responsibility….it does not reflect on your parenting…it really doesn’t! Really, it is the only way they grow and learn. And when you become a Grandma like I did before the younger 2 were gone from home then be a helping Grandma but not a door mat….that child needs to learn to cope with their own babies so they can learn to be a better parent also!
    Society needs to quit comparing & judging parents because sometimes your kids will be different than you….that’s ok too!

  138. July 14, 2015

    Does it matter? Reply

    Always about the mom, or the mother. Keep in mind thus goes for the father’s as well. Myself being one of them. And cheers to single dad’s who have to play the dad AND “mom” role. I’m so busy trying to work, clean, cook, drive the family, yard work, laundry,etc. It’s difficult, as a man feels these same feelings as well, not just the the mom. My kids have a mother thankfully, but I do all the motherly things.

    • July 15, 2015

      Dan R Morris Reply

      Hey hey,
      This is Dan, Rachel’s business partner. We appreciate your comment but you must know that when one has a wonderful steak dinner, that does nothing to disparage the joy of shrimp.

      Rachel writes from her heart. From the heart of a mother. She has never forgotten about the sacrifices of dads, but isn’t one.

      We’ve got some great friends over at LifeofDad.com who do the same from the hearts of dads. We’d never want you to leave, but would love for you to experience them as well.

  139. July 14, 2015

    AnnGie Reply

    I love the idea of one happy activity. What a great habit, because moms, the before five is the easy part. You can easily clean up where they “missed their target” but the messes get harder. Yes toddlers are physically exhausting but just you wait. When your child gets left off a birthday list, doesn’t make the cheer team, breaks their collar bone, calls from an ambulance after a car wreck or gets their heart broken, these messes are harder to clean up. And they are mentally exhausting. Motherhood is hard. Do get in the habit of looking for happy and taking a little time to refresh. And, Laugh at those little ones! Oh how I wish I had laughed more and they love it when you laugh with them. That’s what they will remember.
    And then they leave! And that is hard too.

  140. July 16, 2015

    Sherry Reply

    Exactly why I chose not to have kids and don’t regret it for a moment.

  141. July 17, 2015

    Anna Reply

    Thank you for this! Being ever so real. Lately, this is me to a T. And often it’s just way to scary to come out and say it. But we all need to know that we’re not alone. So here’s to finding joy in at least one thing today!

  142. July 17, 2015

    bmommyx2 Reply

    I feel the same way. It’s not even that I forgot how, but I can’t find the time. I go all day & forget to drink water or eat let alone have fun. I’m so busy trying to keep up with what needs to be done, thinking about I the stuff I didn’t do & trying to keep my boys from doing damage to themselves, each other, our things or our home. I’m busy trying to keep everyone safe & healthy that I forget to enjoy. My hubby works hard & is gone all day & he thinks he is missing out while he is at work, but I’m here & I am missing out on everything as well. Sometimes I think the person who invented email & the internet should be shot, because I just wish life was simpler.

  143. July 17, 2015

    Shelley Reply

    So, now do all this as a single mom of a special needs kid, THEN tell me how you make it through the day.

    • July 18, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      I’m not sure if you know this Shelley, but I am a single mom of seven. I do it day after day after day. One day after another. And in it all, at this point, I’ve been determined to find happy again. I hope you can too.

      ~Rachel

  144. July 21, 2015

    Jenn Reply

    I’m sorry your days are so stressful and joyless. Your website name struck a chord and I knew I had to check it out, and I’m sad to see it’s not full of joy – yet. Let me share a secret with you and all the other too-busy mom’s here. It’s a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Check it out on Amazon or at your local library. This book literally changed my life. Literally. My house is always picked up now – or takes but a minute of toy pick-up to get there. It has allowed me to drop that to-do list in the trash and enjoy my kids. Saturday we spent 2 hours at the county fair, then 4 hours watching their daddy race. Saturday we spent 4 hours at the water park and the rest of the day lounging. I promise. It’ll help. Read it. Implement it. Life will become simple enough to pack full of joyful things that you can be present for.

    • July 21, 2015

      Jenn Reply

      *moms… sorry. Autocorrect got me.

  145. July 21, 2015

    Jenn Reply

    PS, we have a FB group called KonMari Adventures. It’s an awesome place full of inspiration and motivation that keeps you pushing forward when things get hard. For the most part it’s easy, just a bit time consuming, but man is it worth it for a weekend NOT spent cleaning.

  146. July 21, 2015

    Kelly Reply

    HUGS…..& I laugh as I also have tears in my eyes because I know how you feel..or I guess THIS IS HOW I feel…THANK YOU…Rachael!
    I kept thinking as the girls slowly went from babyhood to toddlers to bigger kids that it would get “easier”….OH MY GOSH!!!! NO THOUSAND TIMES no…teenagers are just as exhausting and frustrating and ooohhhhh just plain mean sometimes…to a mom who is there for EVERYTHING. Yes, I am oversensitive and that isn’t a strong suit right now in the throng of 3 young ladies..at ages: “13…15(with driving permit) and 18 going to college living at home…So help me God…I need every ounce of help and patience and understanding I can get right now…So I empathize with your current struggle Rachael..because I believe its a circle and the hard parts come back around again….Why? who knows but it doesn’t feel any easier 2nd time around.

  147. July 21, 2015

    Paul Reply

    Rachel, beautiful and true. As a loving and admiring husband of a mother of 4, how do be the best i can be for such a woman? Laundry. Check. Dishes. Check. Moral support. Check. Picking away at everything in her way. Check. But it just isn’t enough. You don’t mention a husband or father… if you could have him do anything, what would it be?

  148. July 24, 2015

    Lisa Marie Reply

    My 9 year old out of the blue told me yesterday,
    “You know, Mom, you don’t laugh very much.”

    He’s right. I don’t.

    Thanks for this.

  149. July 26, 2015

    Krissy Reply

    I can’t express how true this is for me. Thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, it’s nice to have the encouragement without judgment.

  150. July 26, 2015

    Jessica Lynn Reply

    A happy moms project! I can relate and am focusing on that. No one tells you hard how it really will be, but I think they key to being a little happier or fining the joys does begin with self-care. This leads to less stres and living in the moment. Great post!

  151. July 26, 2015

    Glenda Reply

    Thank you for being so open and truthful. I feel the same way its just so hard to admit it because I want to seem like I have it all together.

  152. July 27, 2015

    Brooke Reply

    Thank you for this post. I have a 3 year old and a 4 year old and I’ve told friends that I don’t feel any joy anymore. I need the happy! I’ve made a game with my kids that they have to make me laugh 5 times day. You should hear the knock knock jokes that make no sense that my oldest comes up with! But, when they do something totally random that makes me laugh, they get so excited!

  153. July 29, 2015

    Losa Reply

    I’ve been struggling a lot lately with wondering where MY happy went. I see my husbands happiness and my children’s happiness and even my granddaughters happiness. And I’m jealous of their smiles and laughter and furious with their total lack of care or concern for anything because I’ve always done it all!!!!! Turning to scripture didn’t help. When you read about the Proverbs 31 woman, you see how much she does for everyone around her. You see that her husband is lucky to have her. You see that her children call her blessed. But what you don’t see, is any mention of how SHE feels! One simple short statement at the end of a verse, kind of like it was just tossed in there…..”she will rejoice in time to come”……
    Well, I even doing this for almost 25 years now. My children are 24, 19, 14 and I have a 4 year old granddaughter and another granddaughter on the way. When does “time to come” become NOW?
    When will I find MY happiness?

  154. July 31, 2015

    Angie Reply

    My kids are in their early 20’s now and I still haven’t been able to locate the joy I lost years ago. UGH

    Thank you for this message and deeply needed reminder.

  155. August 2, 2015

    Chrystal Reply

    Thank you. For being honest, for being real, and for letting people know that they are not alone. No one has it all together and sometimes the hardest part for me to remember is I don’t have to. I want to take my three year old to he zoo and not worry about how long we are there. I want to let her get ALL the blocks out and not try to start putting them away before she is done playing with them. I want to play baseball with my stepson even though I’m horrible at it so he knows that what he wants is important to. Thank you for reminding me.

  156. August 2, 2015

    kirsty Reply

    This is SO refreshing and EXACTLY how I was feeling today!!! Thanks for making me feel normal and easing my guilt.

  157. August 2, 2015

    Niki Reply

    So nice to read this tonight as I’m laying down after doing 3 loads of needed laundry. It’s tough accomplishing household chores with a 6 yo and 19 month twins! It breaks my heart to know that my patience and energy and attention is focused so much on his little brothers. I try not to be too hard on myself as I know this phase will pass. I need to take it one day at a time. I’m creating my sons’ childhood memories and it’s up to me whether or not they are happy ones. So I make an extra effort when I can to take a few minutes each day to play a favorite game or play on the swingset, just him and me. Thanks for this post. It’s encouraging to know I am not the only mom who feels overwhelmed!

  158. August 3, 2015

    Izzy Champion Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    What you have described is exactly how I feel. The happy go lucky me is a distant memory. Motherhood has changed me into a person I no longer recognise. The yelling, the broken record talking. I love my kids with all my heart however they drive me up the bend. Lol I think karma is coming back to bite me. So yes it’s been a very challenging journey and I hope one day I will find the happy me somewhere along the line.

    Izzy

  159. August 3, 2015

    mikki Reply

    Great article! How us moms really feel but too ashamed to say out loud…..
    I have been feeling this way lately and I think we all know in our hearts what we need to do but still lose sight of getting to the end result and this piece is just motivational to keep yourself focused. 😊❤❤❤

  160. August 3, 2015

    Delia Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so needed to read this and it sums up how I feel a lot of the time. It was a perfectly timed reminder and one I desperately needed to hear. Thank you for understanding exactly how so many of us feel.

  161. August 3, 2015

    Naz Reply

    Dear My Spiritual Mother-Virtual Friend Rachel,
    I know you’ve probably received a million amazing emails in response to this incredible post/article you’ve written. I want you to know that I stumbled upon this post in the 60 seconds I had this morning while feeling very down with my 2 kids (a 6 year old and a 4 year old) and running around to get everything down and out of the house. I was crying the whole time I read your post. I could relate to every single word. A MILLION THANK YOU’s for posting this. I needed to read this during this time in my life. And I will pray for you and your family to live in that eternal happiness and bliss that we all seek. Thank you for making me feel better than I have in a long time.
    Love and Blessings!

    • August 3, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you thank you thank you… your intro made me smile. Sending hugs and a bit of joy.

      ~Rachel

  162. August 3, 2015

    Fiona Reply

    This just popped up in my news feed today. I’ve spent most of the day with tears in my eyes. Sometimes things present themselves for a reason. I’m taking this as a sign. Thank you for articulating my feelings and emotions so perfectly. Tomorrow is another day and I’ll find some happy in it. Xx

  163. August 3, 2015

    Rachael Reply

    yes, you are all too correct. Busy, busy, busy. But we have to stop and smell the roses. So soon they will be off doing their own thing and then we will miss the noise, and the chaos. It will be too quiet. We will miss them.

  164. August 3, 2015

    theresa Reply

    There are several things I have learned along the way…I have raised 6 children and now am helping to raise 3 grand children. Sometimes things have to wait…dishes, laundry, housework. No my house is not dirty, I found other times to clean it. I think about someday I will be gone and it will not be on my headstone how clean my house was or if my laundry was always done, it will say “mother”. I have played ninja turtles, gi joes and barbies among the years. I would give up the time I spent scurrying around to get my house presentable for company and spend it playing. I miss those times the most, the memories and the laughter. Honestly my house was cleaner when I had 6 kids at home. Things have been hard and trying at times, the tears have flowed. I always tried to take time out for myself…but I always could not wait to get back home to the happy chaos!I was the mother who waited for the bus and counted the minutes until it arrived. I am 54 and my kids are grown. They are lovable and very respectable adults! They love their mother without any doubt. I am glad I took the time to do the things that mattered…like playing!

  165. August 4, 2015

    Christine Kenny Reply

    Wow, this is all so true and it feels like you just described my entire day. Having twin boys means my days are constantly spent in a whirlwind of activity and i find myself sometimes just hiding behind the closet door with tears streaming down my face. And then I wonder to myself, isn’t this (your family, your boys, your life) exactly what I had always dreamed of? But then, why is it sometimes just so difficult and overwhelming and why am I not feeling ecstatically happy all the time?

    You’ve inspired me to do something for myself(that makes me happy) every day. Thank you.
    Thank you for understanding exactly how so many of us mommies feel and having the kindness of telling us we are not alone.

  166. August 4, 2015

    Robert Reply

    How do you recommend us Dad’s trying to facilitate this. I know that my wife is wired differently and sometimes helping take care of the small things keep her from having them nag at her subconscious, however, fun and dad are almost synonymous. I effortlessly have fun with my girls, and they basically look to me to be fun half the time. However, I don’t want my wife to be the worker/cook/maid while I entertain the kids and get them out of her hair. Sometimes I’m sure she wants to be the entertainer while I take care of chores. I just feel that when I take care of the chores, she does whatever she’s doing as a task, not for enjoyment, etc.

    What recommendations do you have for us guys to help?

    • August 5, 2015

      Elizabeth Reply

      Robert, The fact that you are even asking this is AMAZING, so awesome! I’m sure you weren’t looking for a response from another reader, but I would say if my husband told me he was going to take over a few of the tasks/chores even for a little while with the wish that I have fun with the kids, I would make sure it happened. I bet she will release the guilt and enjoy her time with them. You are clearly a great husband!

    • August 7, 2015

      Carls Reply

      What a lovely thoughtful guy you are!

    • August 23, 2015

      Tina Reply

      Robert, You ROCK! My hubby is the ‘fun guy’ and I am the workhorse. I feel ‘out-of-place’ or out of practice when I try to be the fun mom and let him do the chores. When you feel like you’ve forgotten how to do it, it’s stressful. Maybe share the chores and get done faster and she’ll be able to get back in the groove of having fun!! My husband brought a trash can lid into the TV room, filled it with sand and had a Polly Pocket Beach Party with the girls. At first all I could think of was how I was going to get all that sand and water cleaned up. But, really, he was brilliant!! They had a great time and great memories!!
      Moms…forget about how to clean it up, just do it!! Just… make monster soup, put glitter on everything!, get muddy, confetti it, make the dogs some treats, use food color in everything! When you look back and remember, you’ll remember the fun not the cleanup. I don’t mean, run around and make messes, just, don’t worry so much. My Mom always said ‘Messy house-Happy kids”.

  167. August 5, 2015

    Ellen Reply

    Any mama who denies having felt this way, well, she’s just in denial! Or, maybe she hasn’t hit those feelings, yet. As a mom of three young adult sons and a step-son who’s a little older, and a married father, believing YOU are WORTH appropriate maintenance and encouragement must be kept front and center. This isn’t selfish, it’s the definition of thriving rather than just surviving. Learn to teach that loving family that our family is our first “team” and, on a team, we share the work and the joys, encourage one another, recharge ourselves, and build appropriate outlets for stress. Kids and spouses of all ages and stages will resonate to this truth. I encourage moms to have the integrity to tell THEMSELVES,and act on that message, because THAT is the vital starting point. They WILL follow your lead…

  168. August 5, 2015

    Rani Reply

    Definitely made me feel better as I’ve been thinking like this since I started working after 5-6 years of staying home with my kids..

  169. August 5, 2015

    Candice Reply

    This really spoke to my heart. Almost everyday I end the day in guilt of these very things. If is so refreshing to know that I am not alone. Thank you for for posting!

  170. August 6, 2015

    Pevy Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel so much anxiety and guilt over not being able to be happy for my little girls that somedays I feel like leaving earth. They don’t deserve a mom who is always too worried to play. They love me. I think to myself, do I even like being happy anymore?… :'( Ill try joy for a change. I need to.

  171. August 6, 2015

    Kimi Reply

    Thank you! I was having the same thoughts before I even read your thoughts about the glitter. I really needed to read this it hit home for me and just your message helped me remember that these moments are so fleeting I don’t want to miss them because I was too stressed out and busy cleaning… Thank you.

  172. August 6, 2015

    Mary Reply

    Great article and very needed. Thank you!
    I came to this conclusion about six months to a year ago. I wondered what happened to me? I couldn’t find my laughter or silliness anymore. And I hated seeing that my kids were/are growing up so fast. So I concentrated on just being more “in the moment”. And sometimes just going thru the motions and finding it becomes meaningful. You have to work to get back your “happy”. And maybe it wont be the same as before but it’s a positive , more forward journey compared to crying over every passing day. And believe me, I’ve done that. There will always be dirty dishes but your kids won’t always be young. Enjoy them. Enjoy being you. Breathe, relax. It’s O. K.

  173. August 14, 2015

    Carol Reply

    I am 74 and I believe I had a happy mother. I miss her dearly. She could do anything, but what I remember most is she played with me and my two brothers. Every summer we lived in an army tent on a beach. No running water, no electricity, ice and milk was delivered. She did not drive so my father did the food shopping after he finished working.

    She swam, walked, made sand castles, clamed, fished, with us and made us have quite time every afternoon. That was her time to read. She made all my close and made doll close to match. designed paper dolls and played with me.

    She had a very sad childhood lost her mother when she was eight and her father when she was thirteen. It’s a wonder how she learned to give so much love to all of us.

    I’m writing this to tell all the young mothers taking time for your self works. My life today is because of my happy mother.

    Carol

  174. August 14, 2015

    Carol Reply

    I am 74 and I believe I had a happy mother. I miss her dearly. She could do anything, but what I remember most is she played with me and my two brothers. Every summer we lived in an army tent on a beach. No running water, no electricity, ice and milk was delivered. She did not drive so my father did the food shopping after he finished working.

    She swam, walked, made sand castles, clammed, fished, with us and made us have quite time every afternoon. That was her time to read. She made all my clothes and made doll clothes to match. designed paper dolls and played with me.

    She had a very sad childhood lost her mother when she was eight and her father when she was thirteen. It’s a wonder how she learned to give so much love to all of us.

    I’m writing this to tell all the young mothers taking time for your self works. My life today is because of my happy mother.

    Carol

    • August 14, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Carol, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. Your words and insights are so important.

      Rachel

  175. August 22, 2015

    Tabtha Reply

    As hard as it is for me to focus with all the brain fog I thank God I was able to read this today. It was a really great read. I have 3 all one year apart and for years I have been asking myself what happened to me? This is not the mother I wanted to be, crying upset all the time. I have had medical issues for years which has made it hard to have the energy to keep up with the house let alone the kids. But the depression sets in from feeling like im missing the right now and my kids and I keep trying to catch up and then I look up and they are a year older and talking and understanding more and then I wonder did I have anything to do with that because I was so focused on getting things done did I help them accomplish these lessons or have the little talks with them that mothers do.. It is hard and reading this helped me with what I had been thinking about the last couple days.. I do believe that taking steps to become happier is also a help. I have been working on a system for my house to make these things less stressful.. like today is my first successful day of making sure that I woke up before the kids so I had an hour or so to myself to just read my bible and pray and start on dishes that I wanted to do last night but didn’t and browse the internet and now will be going to make breakfast. For every mom its different problem areas but I think your post really just hit the nail on the head in a broad sense. Thank you and God bless.

  176. August 23, 2015

    Natalie Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you, from the very bottom of my heart. This is exactly what I needed to read at this very moment. I have three girls, 6, almost 3 and 6 months. I have been battling with post part depression for the first time and it’s absolutely terrifying. My baby is a terrible sleeper keeping me up most nights and when she does sleep I can’t sleep thinking of the many things that need to be cleaned or put away, groceries that needs to be bought and those shoes I keep forgetting to return. I had my first anxiety attack last week while packing up from a day at the beach. It was hot, the baby was crying and I had 2 kids covered in sand of which I did not want in my car. I cried the whole way home. I thought having a third baby would be easy, I had two so I would know how to do this. What I didn’t know was how guilty I would feel that I couldn’t be the mom I want to be. I apologize to my older kids on a daily basis that I can’t do things with them because of the baby. When she does sleep I force myself to play that never ending game of Chutes and Ladders and curse every time I land on the slides only prolonging the game so I can’t get back to folding laundry. I know I’m babbling so I will try to end here. I so want to be that happy mom that can smile and laugh at every joke and dance move. I hope to get there one day, maybe when I’m getting more than 4 interrupted hours of sleep. For now I will try my best and know that one day it will be easier. So again, thank you. Your words touched me in such a way that maybe, just maybe today won’t be so bad.

  177. August 23, 2015

    Debbie Reply

    Sooooo good! So needed this

  178. September 4, 2015

    Rayella Reply

    This made me cry. This is exactly how I feel. I have two girls aged three and five. I thought it was only me. Thank you for putting in to words my feelings deep inside that I have never told anyone.

  179. September 11, 2015

    Jenn S. Reply

    Seriously, if you haven’t already done it, let’s start a Happy Mom Project on facebook. I’d be more than thrilled to start it up!! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost or crying or at my wits-end. Moms need to unite!! Maybe people could post a pic, tell a story, once a day to be happy and help others…

  180. September 11, 2015

    Alinna Reply

    I saved this link to come back to awhile ago on facebook and happened to come to it JUST in time tonight. thanks for these words. I have so many things I could say to explain why they’re so perfect for me right now, but all I have the energy to say is just.. thank you. they’re just what I needed.

  181. September 14, 2015

    Brandi Reply

    When my kids got out the car this morning I felt so guilty and asked myself where did the old me go? I fussed all the way to school about my daughter forgetting this and my son not doing this and then soccer practice after school…..the list went on. I am either so tired or busy that I am never really happy anymore. So thank you for your words. I will print this out and read it daily if I have to! Thank you~

  182. September 15, 2015

    Andrea Reply

    Rachel, you are a muse…for me, without a doubt as I read this…over again with tears of “thank God someone put it in exact words”. Thank you for
    Being real…and helping so many (probably most:))) of us on this same ride to recognize that we aren’t “doomed”:). We just got busy:) And with that realization alone, there are a lot more moms out there who had a sigh of relief for the first time ever:)..again, thank you. You are a great “team captain” for this generation of mommas❤️

  183. October 29, 2015

    Shannon Reply

    This is exactly how I feel – all the time. Tired from work and the day, telling my child no he can’t play outside because we just got home from work and school and have to eat dinner so we can to bed at a decent hour. I hate that. He is so happy and it feels like I’m dragging my children down.

    This post was encouraging, and it’s so nice to hear when other women are facing the same struggles. Maybe I’m not as bad of a mother as I feel sometimes, and thank you for reminding me of that.

    It’s just a start, but I try to let myself laugh out loud, sing with the radio and pause to look out the window every once and a while.

  184. November 4, 2015

    Shannon Reply

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. It’s so refreshing to see someone else who mirrors my exact feelings. So many moms go on and on in social media about how wonderful everyday is and all of these amazing things they do with their kids and these beautiful healthy fancy meals they make 3X a day! How??? So many days I can hardly throw waffles in the toaster. So thank you for being real and making me and so many other moms out there not feel alone with our feelings and struggles.

  185. December 11, 2015

    Anli Reply

    Oh my goodness Rachel, by reading this article, I was cut to the heart! I have had a tough mommy week, needy kids, 1 and 4 yr old boys and this morning while trying to find my make up and trying to get dressed with the youngest on my hip my hubby said that I have lost my sense of humor and ability to laugh. Well, that was me, sobbing for no real reason on my sons bedroom floor.

    I know that you wrote this article in 2014, but this will be my choice in 2016 – being happy, bringing the happy back and knowing that this too shall pass.

    Blessings to you and your family Rachel.

    Anli

  186. December 21, 2015

    Carole Reply

    I have one daughter in college and the other daughter 1.5 yrs away from college. I have done incredibly well as a mom as my children are amazing. HOWEVER, what it cost me was everything I had done for myself. That includes my humor. Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I realize my project is now ME. I need to lose 20 pounds, buy myself a casual wardrobe that is FUN, have my own FUN friends, and find JOY in life again. Being a divorced mom without any support from their father as he is ill, has been the hardest 11 yrs of my life. I gladly sacrificed my life for my girls to have a solid foundation in theirs. NOW I am looking to find happiness again and maybe a few jokes……where does a snow man put his money???? In a snow bank! Ok,so I need to upgrade my jokes but I am on my way to ME!!!!! Yahoo!

  187. December 24, 2015

    Sherry Dion Reply

    So the writer finds motherhood “joyless” does she? The title caught my eye and to be honest I never read the article. What she WOULD find “joyless” is waking up every single morning for the rest of her life to the fact that her children are dead. THAT is a joyless, insane, empty, terror filled existence. My children were my life and since I lost them, living is torture. I don’t grieve for myself. I grieve for their lives taken from them, their future, their dreams that will never be realized. What I wouldn’t give to find a banana peel under their beds. This grief is the blackest, most all consuming nightmare that one could never conceive.
    I promise you that your absolute worst day with screaming, fighting, colicky babies, dirty house, no money, etc. is N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I would suggest you get on your knees and thank God Almighty for the blessings that are your children. They are a GIFT and could be taken away in the blink of an eye.

    • December 28, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      I am so sorry to hear about your children, Sherry. I’m sorry about the grief too. Thank you for sharing your reminder of cherishing our children every day.

      Rachel

  188. December 29, 2015

    Debbie Reply

    I LOVE reading your posts! Thank you for making it OK to feel the way we do when life sometimes doesn’t go the way we thought is should/would. I have a dear friend who would benefit greatly from reading your posts and stories. She is not on social media and I would love to be able to print some of your posts to send to her. I tried to print this one and my printer said it would be 71 pages… Yikes!! Is there a way you can make a printer friendly PDF option for each of your posts without all the ads and pics that I could send to her? I know other sites can do this and I am hoping you can too. Thanks so much!!! Hugs to you!! 😊

  189. December 29, 2015

    Megs Reply

    I loved this post, and I relate!!
    I am learning that being the happy mom is a sort of discipline!!
    Trying to steal a few moments in the still dark of morning and in the quiet pockets of the day… To remind myself that God loves me… I am not alone… And yes! This mom thing is crazy!!!!! It’s crazy joyful…but crazy make-me-cry-and-lose-it-like-a-toddler, too!!! And I don’t have to be perfect… And shouldn’t expect too, because it’s impossible!!! But I know God gave me my babies because I’m the perfect mommy for them…wrapped up in all of imperfection.

    It’s so healing to have a laugh and share a blog-hug with a mom in the trenches.
    Thanks for sharing your heart!
    Happy Tuesday!!!
    Megs

  190. December 30, 2015

    Nicky Reply

    Thank you sooo much; I needed to hear these words this AM after my 1.5yr old woke up at 5 after going to bed at nearly 10. I feel guilty that I’m not happy for even me anymore because I just never get a break or help. Even after being offered a mommy only getaway weekend; you feel like a jerk knowing it won’t “really” happen and it if ever did her screaming and crying because mom only gets the crap; would wipe away that relaxed state of mind in a instant… so not worth it. Then I feel guilty for giving up on myself and my own happiness. Of course I love my kid and wouldn’t change having her, those 20 hugs in awkwardly during bath time are sweet but the next day of hell is less than a full night of sleep away.
    My goal this year is to do one thing that makes “mommy” happy. Good luck to you and me!

  191. December 30, 2015

    Kim Baccellila Reply

    And then you have teenagers. It amazes me so much how people actually think you have something wrong when you admit you’re not happy being a mother. It’s hard work. Add to that children with special needs. I had to take my son out of public school after a number of issues we had. I homeschooled him from third grade on. I figured since I was a credentialed teacher? No problem. Yeah, right. Now that he’s in high school, I feel as if I’m in a no win situation. It’s hard. You get it from those who say you’re too controlling but also get it when you agree to enroll him back in the public school system. I just wish some would recognize how hard being a mother is and it’s ‘okay’ to admit this.

  192. December 30, 2015

    Shalene Reply
  193. December 30, 2015

    Sheli Reply

    So Much Wisdom!
    On January 11th we will adopt our sixth child. We have fostered her from birth. She has survived many life threatening medical conditions. Our five children are grown ages 23-36. It wasn’t our plan to be parents of a 2 year old at 55 and 56,but sometimes God has other plans. My older kids came in a herd…the Hallmark moments are a bit fuzzy to me….but they remember each one! I wish I had the wisdom of the Internet when the kids were small….but not the constant connection ….there were many days of no outside distraction back then!
    At this age, in this season most of my days are filled with magical moments.life is slower…I benefit from many years of experience…I choose happy every morning no matter if little Miss is sick or having a good day. Even on the days I miss the mark…I know she’ll remember the Hallmark moments!

  194. December 30, 2015

    Sheena Reply

    #truth my husband and I were just talking about this… Being a mom is grueling and its just plain hard to be fun AND get it all done. All we can do is do what we do and support each other. I’d be a big mess without my family and friends’ support!

  195. December 30, 2015

    Natasha Reply

    Oh my goodness I read this at the perfect time. Tonight was an overwhelming night that left me feeling like a terrible mom. Just knowing others feel the same some days goes a long way. Thanks!

  196. December 30, 2015

    Donna Reply

    What a wonderful thing to have come across this! I remember those days all too well and still have them occasionally! My kids are 20,18,14,13 (boys) and 9 (girl). The oldest 2 became mine at age 6 and 4 and the 14 y/o wad 6 mos at the time. I had to struggle for 12 years to get through being the ‘other’ mom. I was raising these boys. I disciplined them. I trained them to become men. Mostly in spite of the lengths their mom went to to work against me. My oldest was a lazy couch potato until he discovered girls. When he was 16 the ‘love of his life’ (aka 2nd gf) broke his heart when she broke up with him and he became suicidal. I’m still amazed we all survived that. Fast forward 4 years and he is in the Army National Guard, working full time (finally) and planning a proposal to his gf of 2 years and beginning the process of becoming a homeowner! This Christmas he wrote me a letter thanking me for being the first,only and most wonderful mom that had the courage to parent him, never giving up on him and helping him become the man he is today. He said I am his go to person for advice and the smartest person he knows. He told me he loves me. Made for a very emotional Christmas! It is moments like that that assure you that all the hard times are worth it! His younger brother is 18. A little mentally delayed but very caring, responsible and kind young man. So basically I managed to raise another woman’s kids into amazing young men who make me very proud. My own son… well he is another story… he is wonderful to everyone but me. We clash at every turn. If I told him the sky is blue he would argue that I am wrong without giving any reasoning or alternate opinion but he will keep it going until he has you so exasperated you are ready to call the men in white jackets to take you away, then and only then will he clarify that he disagrees because you didn’t specify the correct shade of blue. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that the end result with the other two was successful!
    Can’t say much about the 13 year old… he lives with his mom (different from the older two) and we get him every other weekend and the bulk of the summer. He is brilliant but lacking in common sense but alot of fun! My daughter… is such a different experience. I feel like I have to take everything I learned about raising boys and throw it out the window. She is very sensitive, bossy to the point of driving her brothers insane but then she has an amazing heart of gold! She is a joy and a challenge and I can’t wait to see how she turns out!
    So… have faith. I will try to laugh more, I think that has been missing in my life too, so many tears and fights and it all worked out in the end.

  197. December 30, 2015

    Alli Reply

    Tears. This is how I have been feeling for so long and you put it to words so well.
    Thank you, kind woman. You have helped heal a tiny bit of the person I thought I lost.
    Love and Light.

  198. December 30, 2015

    Jodi Reply

    You know how moms can be more present and not so wrapped up in everything which needs to be done? Partners who help. That’s how. Listen, moms, this isn’t about you–it’s about a system which is set up to disenfranchise you.

  199. December 31, 2015

    Sarah Reply

    Thank you! I feel this way often being a mother of two boys. Very busy in baseball and basketball all year long! That with school and homework and regular household chores and working full time, it is hard and sometimes I look at other moms and wonder how they seem so happy and full of life and have the energy and time to look so put together? Nails/toes, new clothes? Really when was the last time this mom of boys has seen a mall? I see ball fields & gyms. My wardrobe consists of sweats and tees. Now don’t get me wrong I’m a sports fanatic! I love it! I love watching my kids play. But like you said…aside from that I’m “busy”. Always too busy, too busy to stop and play and laugh and be a kid with them. I often worry about what they may say/remember about their childhood when they grow older. Will they tell their wife “my mom was always too busy, my mom was always worried about keeping house, my mom never played with me”. That makes tears fall. I am often jealous of my husband for the fact that he gets to do all the fun things with the boys while I am always making sure everyone has everything they need…food on The table and in the fridge, clothes are clean and put away, homework done, studying for that test is done, reading assignment complete, dr appointment done, forms filled out I mean you name it…I look at him like really you are laughing and being a kid with them and I am the bad guy who is stopping it to get homework done, take a shower, get your snack, brush your teeth, time for bed…you will be too tired for school you must go NOW! It’s ALOT!!! It’s no wonder most women are on some form of medication to deal with anxiety! We are everything to EVERYONE!! That’s hard. I vow to do the one thing a day like you suggest….most of all….I am going to vow to LAUGH everyday, try to make it fun, try to make light of the not so light situations that arise….because in the end, I just wanna feel good too! I want to know that my boys will grow up and day their mom was a crazy but who danced around the kitchen and sang into the spatula and twirled them around the room…I wanna be..no I WILL be THAT mom! Happy new year 2016!

  200. December 31, 2015

    Paul Reply

    Personally, I think this is all cr@p. I agree society has ingrained in women this idea of a perfect mom, but just because you feel like that doesn’t make it a mom issue. I work nights and spend the days with my children while my wife works during the day. Thinking this problem is unique to mothers is ignorant. Being a mother does not make you special, unique, or as many here seem to think, a victim. Parenting is hard, trying to find that balance between being you and finding joy with your child is difficult at best. Let the house be messy, let the world judge you because who cares what they think. A pristine house with children to me says you are a terrible parent. I have stickers permanently attached to my floors, no idea what color the carpet is in the kids play rooms and you know what? No one cares. I know men and women that work two Jobs just to provide for their families that would kill to have the problem of glitter on the floor; some of my co-workers only get to see their children at bedtime because they have to worry about paying rent or fixing the 25 year old clunker they are driving just enough so it keeps them on the road. If you are fortunate enough to be at home with your child get out of your own head and be with them. At best your kid is going to like you for 12 years before you become the enemy and then you have a decade of fighting them. Make memories during those first twelve and it will help you not kill them during the siege of puberty and young adulthood. Stop feeling like mom’s are poor abused victims and remember it is hard for Parents, moms and dads. If it’s not hard your probably not being a parent so quit whining about it and enjoy it, after all you chose this

    • December 31, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Paul,

      My oldest is in college and I’m a single mom and I work probably 50+ hours a week – so I’m not short on understanding the work ethic and hard choices that we make as parent. That being said, I am a mom – and simply cannot write from the perspective of being a dad and if I did I feel like it would not be honoring to dads for me to say “I know what you’re feeling”. And that being said when we turn sharing real feelings that many have had and call it “whining” then we are shutting down the dialogue that we have as people to share when things get hard. In fact, saying that someone’s feelings are “a load of crap” really isn’t honoring of another person. Why not share your view but with kindness?

      That being said, thanks for showing up for your family. That is what really matters.

      Rachel

  201. December 31, 2015

    Karin Reply

    Rachel,
    I read your article from the perspective of being on the other side of motherhood with my grown daughter living out of state on her own now and my son a sophomore in college in another state. I share the same working singe mom background as you and I do not wish to minimize the struggle as I had many times I wondered the same thing as you about finding happiness and being overwhelmed. I applaud your idea to try and keep in contact with what makes you happy because you will need that and more once your children are grown – it has truly been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through trying to piece a new life together without the ting that made me happiest – my children.

    I wish for you a strength to put aside the lists of things to do and the times when you are not living in the moment. Because the joy and happiness in motherhood is getting to be with your children and is found in the car rides and school events and after school activities and the time spent at home….it is in the belonging to a family and caring for them. I often look back and think I would do anything to be watching my son play hockey and chatting all the way home about the game and how much fun he had. I dream of spending a day with my daughter running errands, shopping, cuddling on the couch together. It will be gone before you know it so please take the time to be kind to you and not beat yourself up over the trivial parts of life. Enjoy being a mom in the everyday spaces.

    Blessings,
    Karin

  202. December 31, 2015

    Susan Reply

    THANK YOU for writing this. I feel this way so much, and I feel so guilty about it. My two kids are teens now — both VERY active in sports, AP classes in high school, looking at colleges for my oldest, all the drama that comes with the teen years. It’s sometimes easier than when they were little, but sometimes so much harder because the stress is so real for them, and that comes over to me because I want to do all that I can to help them, knowing that I really can’t. They’ve got to learn and grow into adults and learn to navigate their way, with our guidance of course. I told my husband just a few weeks ago that I am miserable trying to make everyone else happy. For me, it’s running. I try to take 30 minutes a day to go for a run or work out to give myself the “me” time that I need. But even with that, I feel guilty for taking time for “me”. But with practices and games and concerts and other school events to go to that doesn’t always happen, and much of the time it’s just me to do all these things since my husband works nights 2 months at a time and isn’t home. I love my kids more than anything – they are my world, but boy I tell you, I sure feel like a crappy mom much of the time, trying to navigate my way through the teens years. THANK YOU again for writing this.

  203. January 1, 2016

    anonymous Reply

    What about the mom who forgets she’s a wife? I’m married to one of those and have never felt more alone in my life. We talk about it, she acknowledges it, but it’s been years and I see no effort for her to change. I find it hard to catch the sentiment of moms who are disconnected from their kids. Pardon me, but kids are temporary. I want my wife back.

  204. January 2, 2016

    Jess Reply

    Rachel-
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Not only did I agree and identify with all your words, I truly enjoyed reading each and every one of them. I also value your way of responding to people who have difficulties seeing the positive in sharing. You have an extremely genuine concern for people, and responded eloquently to negative comments. You managed to deliver a well-stated opinion of yours, without dismissing theirs (his). A true care-taker, and I’m gathering not just with your own, but with all. Thank you.
    Jess

    • January 4, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you, Jess. Your comment means so much to me. I appreciate you taking time to share and encourage me too.

      Rachel

  205. Thanks you for this – I needed it today. I have all girls, ages 13, 11, & 8, but I feel much the same way. I have lost the happiness because it has been swallowed up by the busyness, the “tween” girl hormonal meltdowns, and all. the. things. Thanks you for your honesty and inspiration in this post.

  206. January 2, 2016

    Wendy Reply

    This can be true to moms of older children too. Many of the worries are the same and some are even bigger. It’s not necessarily about glitter at that point but of connecting with the teen that wants to push you away. It’s about the harsh response when you set boundaries and wondering if your teen will ever like you again. It’s worrying about your ability to stand firm on your boundaries even when other parents don’t care what their children are doing and have more freedom than you give your child. It’s competing with “well so and so’s mom lets her do that” It’s trying to hold on to your joy when your teens tell you they hate you. Your worries become more about the friends they choose to spend time with and how they spend that time. It’s wondering how far they’ll stray before they come back. It’s worrying whether you are doing it right. It’s a struggle to find the balance between being that cool mom and the mom who cares enough to teach them how to be responsible, loving, independant human beings who will go onto being parents one day. There are many days where I’m too busy worrying about everyone else to be that happy mom. Being a mom often means putting yourself last and by then, sometimes you’re just too exhausted physically and mentally to be happy. Being a mom is hard. But worth it.

  207. January 2, 2016

    Becky Reply

    The laundry? Will never be done. Dishes? Nope. I’m learning to play and have fun while keeping a clean yet imperfect home. My kids are 9 and 7. Instead of shuffling them to my moms so I can clean, I take 30 minutes while they play and do a focused sweep. They want me to read to them? I do. Lie down a few more minutes? Done. One more song? Sing it! Am I happy every second of everyday? No. That is unrealistic. But I find moments and I burn them into my memory. I exercise my happy muscles so they have muscle memory the more I work on them. I catalogue the little things that can annoy because they’ll be gone when they grow up. I’ll have the perfectly coiffed sofa with perfectly placed throw pillows. I’ll have the laundry done except maybe a load or two. The toys will be put away. The art projects will be stored. The glasses with straws and the bowls with half eaten cereal will be no more. You sometimes have to force yourself to be in the moment. Because kids don’t care if you have more laundry to do as long as they have their favorite shirt. Kids don’t care about dishes in the sink as long as they can wash their hands. Dust and animal fur don’t matter because we have animals, isn’t that normal? You do not have to enjoy every moment but you can turn the everyday mundane into a tribute to being a mom.

  208. January 4, 2016

    Anonymous Reply

    I have been thinking about this, regularly lately; and woke up this morning intent on changing myself, when I spotted this on a friend’s Facebook timeline. I am so glad that I did. Thank you! Mostly I am just glad to see that I am not the only one who feels like this. I feel like my children are growing up and I am missing out because of all my household duties/ busy mom jobs. I can’t just hang out and have fun – even though I always wanted to be the fun mom, and I feel like I am just boring and never available. I will definitely be trying the one happy thing a day. Thanks again, Rachel. Have a great day everyone, x

  209. January 4, 2016

    Lisa Reply

    I struggled with infertility & promised myself that if I ever was finally able to have a baby, I wouldn’t take even the hard stuff for granted. But nobody really tells you how hard being a mom is! It’s beautiful and amazing and all that I hoped for and more, but it’s hard! Thank you for helping us give ourselves a break!! You’re a great mom too!

  210. January 5, 2016

    Gwendolyn Reply

    Yes! Thank you for your honesty. This drive to be the happy mom is the passion that drives my work with women. I am lucky to work with wonderful women who are searching for happiness and confronting the challenge of how to care for themselves while still caring for their families. It is so easy to loose yourself in motherhood but it is possible to find yourself again.
    Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, LMFT
    http://www.GwendolynNelsonTerry.com

  211. January 6, 2016

    helayne Reply

    I watched a video from two decades ago of my daughter’s second birthday party. I wanted to cry b/c I remembered thinking about the stress, the immediate next 100 steps needed to make the party run smoothly. I saw myself thinking about the clean up. I saw black rings under my eyes. My advice; forget the housework, dishes done before bed, mail read, making beds, perfect parties and being perfectly dressed. Don’t waste time on things that aren’t precious. No gravestone inscription touts your clean home or good managerial skills. Breathe and be present. I wish I had.

  212. January 6, 2016

    Ana Reply

    Awesome read. Perhaps the next piece could be about the guilt we deal with when we take the time and make the effort to redirect the spotlight, even if for one thing or for a brief moment.
    Recently took up guitar and while it brings me immense joy, I feel uncomfortable and guilty to focus on something so selfishly. Funny how that is. Truth remains that you have to take care of yourself so you can properly care for others 😉 again, great article …encore!

  213. January 8, 2016

    Lisa Reply

    I sooo get this…There are days that things are so overwhelming. We are indwelt to take care of everyone else..make everyone else happy. We are management happy people for everyone, but not ourselves..We are the FIX IT GURUs…

    We have to try to find lil specks of time to recharge. HAVE TO…
    Prayers for all of you…We all have to lean on each other…Being a Mom is a very HARD, IMPORTANT job.. We are guiding futures..

    HUGS.

  214. January 9, 2016

    Melissa Reply

    Ask me how I got my happy back everyone. I used to be this way too. Also stressed but I gotta tell you I can help everyone of yall if you just let me. Have a awesome day n good luck !

  215. January 13, 2016

    lisa Reply

    This is me. Today. Tears.

    Thank you. You made me feel normal again.

  216. January 28, 2016

    Anallely Reply

    Thank you for this – It helps to know we are not alone! :)

  217. January 28, 2016

    Stephanie Reply

    Thank you for writing down how I feel almost everyday. Some days we just need to know we are appreciated. By the end of this, I was sobbing because I finally knew that I’m not the only one that feels this way. Thank you for this. Keep being a wonderfully, stressed, exhausted, awesome mom. :)

  218. January 31, 2016

    Rebecca Reply

    I was in tears before I even saw your post -then I came across it in my feed & am so glad it’s not just me that feels this way. My son has autism which takes all my emotional strength most days then add to it 2 other children. Aaaagh!! My house is a mess & today I actually don’t care – I’m going to chill out with my little girl wholeheartedly before she starts preschool tomorrow 😀 thank you, thank you, thank you xxx

  219. February 2, 2016

    Nicole Reply

    Wow! I completely feel this same way.. for me though.. add Nursing School into the mix.

  220. February 2, 2016

    Tanya Reply

    Very true and very relatable! I had 4 kids in 5 years and felt this way often. My youngest is now 12, the oldest, 17. The season of toddler years seems to last an eternity, but you will get through it. The day of no Legos to be stepped on will come! Eventually! And back then when I was overwhelmed and thought I was doing a crappy job…I’m proud to say…I have some pretty awesome teenagers!
    Bottom line, You are not alone.

  221. February 5, 2016

    Jocelyn Reply

    Well said and thank you for saying all of these things, I always need to be reminded that we’re all in this together. Spot on!

  222. February 5, 2016

    Hayley Reply

    A wise woman once encouraged me as a mother to smile when my children talk to me, and smile when I talk to them. It’s a conscience decision to make as it doesn’t come naturally with all those to-do lists running around in my head, but a simple way to bring the happy back — for my children to see that I’m happy and for them to feel that they’re apart of what makes me me happy too.

  223. February 6, 2016

    Kaysey Reply

    Just reading this gave me tears.. I know IM not the only one. I know there are others. Why do we all keep it to ourselves?
    My story? Two kids, 10 (almost 11) and 3. My boy, 10, has severe autism and isnt biologically my child but I raise him and love him like my own.. Have done for five almost 6 years. My daughter, the love the fills my soul, has mild cerebral palsy.
    Even in those moments when I do stop and think ‘you are doing a good job’ Im reminded that sometimes my good job could be so much bigger and better. Why am I not working to make more money for more therapies? Why am I not able to get my 3 year old talking properly? Why don’t I enjoy playing? I never have, not even when I myself was a child..
    Mother hood is hard.. Can be harder when your own mother isn’t around (mine died when i was 9).. I do the best I can.. But what do you do when your best rarely feels good enough?

    • February 6, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Hugs, Kaysey, hugs. I just want you to know that I appreciate all that you do for your kids and how much it matters. Thank you for your good enough best. It really does matter.

      rachel

  224. February 6, 2016

    Milz Reply

    I’m sitting in my bathroom that I’ve half cleaned, listening to my kids downstairs, and I’m crying because before I read your article I was sitting on the toilet asking myself this very question. I feel like the most un fun mum. I hope I can feel better. Thanks. X

  225. February 6, 2016

    Sam Reply

    I am glad I found that I am not alone . I am worried about many things that I don’t when they say ” kids bring you joy and happiness ” means any more . It’s so hard for me to find balance between cool and happy mom , and being a mom kids will respect and listen. 🙁🙁

  226. February 10, 2016

    michelle Reply

    I love your article, it all is so familiar to me, but what do you do when you realized you need to find that happy and cant? When everything just makes you feel like your suffocating and even finding that happy becomes a stress because you can’t seem to find it? I love my kids with all my heart they are my world, but I have become someone I don’t even know anymore. With a 7 year old boy, a 3 year old boy who acts 6 and a 1 year old girl, I don’t even know how to find myself anymore. Of course there are always things to be done, and the kids always need something and even when you try to sit down and play with them or do a craft the boys start fighting the girl starts crying and that joy you tried to have with them turns into just another chore, I am lucky if I get to shower every other day, when I have that little energy to wake up before them to do it, yet I still find myself hurrying to be done and pulling back the shower curtain to listen for them getting up. I just wish I knew how to find that happy when everything I once had joy doing, turns into just another stress. How do I make things stop turning into this. I so badly want to feel happy, and want to feel joy, but I an honestly scared that I will never find it again. tears fill in my eyes when I try to think about what that feeling is even like anymore. I crave to know what that feels like again. I am almost sure that it has been a little over a year since I lost this feeling. I noticed the changes after I was in a car accident (rear ended at a stop light) and slowly watched my organized happy simple life slip away….if anyone can please help me find that happy I would be so great full….

  227. February 12, 2016

    Brett Reply

    Wives, moms, ladies… Working dad here, looking for advice.

    My wife and I are blessed to be able to live on just my income, but I work long hours and lots of overtime. My wife stays at home with our 2 1/2 year old boy and 7 month old daughter. We are in the thick of it right now. Our life is a lot like the one painted above by Rachel. I help and do as much as I can when I am home. With the kids, the house cleaning, getting her as much time free from kids as possible, but it doesn’t seem like enough lately. It seems like she has more bad days than good and struggles with finding joy

    What are some things you would want your husband/partner to say, do, give you that would bring joy to your life or be of any significant help.

  228. February 16, 2016

    Heyentah Reply

    “Happy” is not synonymous with “joy” necessarily. You can have a quiet joy even in the midst of stress and sometimes, joy comes in the morning afterwards. You are wise to cut yourself slack, be human, do what you can do, and move on. Getting caught up in the search for happiness can steal more time than just being who you have to be. Love will win over all.

  229. February 23, 2016

    Gina Reply

    I know this all too well. While working full time, putting my husband through 5 years of school and dropping off and picking up my boys from preschool to high school years (including baseball years) I lost the joy of motherhood from time to time. Sometimes longer than I care to admit. I remember my son was in 5th grade started having very negative interaction with me. He was becoming less affectionate and very short tempered. I startled me to think maybe he is picking up this bad attitude because of me! I remember at the time I hadn’t been as supportive or excited about things as I should’ve been. I was burning my candle from both ends and the day to day demands of taking care of everybody’s needs but my own was taking a toll. By middle school the boys were a big challenge. For the first time they were getting in trouble in school and starting to act out. We argued more, shouted more and this of course caused a huge strain on my marriage. Eventually as the boys got older and my husband was able to work again, I started feeling better. And especially not having to carry the weight of my family alone was a big help! They are 17 and 18 now and although life isn’t perfect, we do have a lot more fun together. The boys are more loving and affection towards me, which warms my heart beyond words. I count my blessings for second chances and happier days ahead!

  230. March 29, 2016

    Tonya Reply

    I needed this today, more than you will ever know.

  231. March 31, 2016

    Sara Reply

    I shared this a year ago, I retread it again today. Today I might feel less happy than I did a year ago, so I definitely needed to read this…again.
    ❤️💚💔💚❤️

  232. April 24, 2016

    Kdawg Reply

    Thank you, I’ve been crying to myself a lot lately. This post was the motivation I needed to sign up for a Yoga class! Try to find some inner self love so I can continue to give outer love to my boys.

  233. April 25, 2016

    kelly Reply

    thanks for this…needed to hear this TODAY…HUGS!!!!

  234. April 27, 2016

    Michelle Reply

    I don’t know who you are, but this is just scary to read as I feel like I’m reading my very own thoughts on this matter. As if you read my mind and wrote my thoughts down. Thank you for posting this. I cried as I read your post as its 100% accurate for me. Thank you for helping me over this hurdle as you have done for others here. I’m still in a bit shock! It’s a work in progress for sure

    • April 27, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you Michelle for your kindness. I really appreciate it much. I wish you the richest blessings indeed.

      rachel

  235. April 29, 2016

    Tiffany Reply

    Thank you for sharing! When my kids were little I stayed at home and they were the best years of my life! I was so happy, my kids were happy too. We played, explored, and enjoyed life. When they were 5 and 3 my husband left us. I am now a single mom working a full time night shift job. I’m overwhelmed and so tired all of the time. I have never had to deal with anything so challenging as being a single mom. I miss the simplicity that my life used to have. Like you, I want to do fun things with my kids and I have good intentions. I try. Some days that’s the best I can do. Thank you for reminding me that there are other moms out there that feel the same!

  236. May 10, 2016

    Mandy Reply

    Thank you for writing this and sharing. I needed to hear that this week :)

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