7 Books You Should Read Right Now

7 Books You Should Read Right Now

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Books You Should Read Right Now

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.

I love to read. Despite 4 kids 5 and under, a busy house, and classes to teach, I find time most everyday to read. After my kids are in bed, I enter my relaxing nightly self care routine that includes reading. It feeds my soul. In the last year, I read dozens of books ranging from science to fiction, history to self help.

Of those books, here are my absolute favorite books that I’ve read from the last year. 

7 Books to Read Right Now

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

If you pick this up, prepare to not do anything until you’re done reading. You aren’t going to want to out it down.

Tired of all the non-fiction books I’d been reading, I picked this up one evening and figured I’d read if for a few minutes to relax and unwind. About an hour into it, I figured I’d just read to the halfway point (about 225 pages) and call it a night since I couldn’t put it down. Once I surpassed page 300, I knew I was in it for the long haul and finished the book before I finally slipped into bed at 4:00am. I cried. I laughed. It was a quick and absorbing read. I loved it. 

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowlings

Never read the books? Just do it. You don’t get a special counter-culture prize because you held out reading Harry Potter. And as great as the films are, they really are nothing to the books. If you have read them, they’re even better in multiple readings. As I was nursing a newborn, I devoured the series in just a few weeks. Even reading it the 3rd time through didn’t diminish what a fantastic book series this is. Oh man, I love Harry Potter.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

If you’ve never heard of her, Angela Duckworth is definitely someone you want to check out. This book is a fascinating look at grit, the power to succeed and overcome obstacles. She delves into fascinating (and motivating) examples of resiliency and perseverance and unlocks the keys to obtain those qualities. To begin, there is a quiz to evaluate your current grit levell. THen, in the course of the book, she gives solid steps to increase your grit. This is one I will read and re-read. Not only did it inspire me to be more gritty and resilient, it’s helped me focus on how I can help my children develop the trait. I’ll definitely need several more reads!

The Miracle Morning

Want to change your mornings? Then check out this extremely motivating book. This book literally changed my life. Though it’s not without its flaws (he really needs to cite his sources and use footnotes), it motivated me to start waking up and exercising at 4:00am. This book was a major paradigm shift for me not only in completely changing my mornings, but it was very instrumental in helping me get the courage and determination to start this blog. Definitely a super motivating book.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin has made it to 2 places on my list. I adore her–and her podcast “Happier” is amazing too. Former Supreme Court clerk turned researcher and writer, Rubin is obsessed with happiness. She researches it extensively. This book is her exploration into her year-long “happiness project” where she, using research as her guide, actively set out to increase her happiness. It’s so inspiring and will surely leave you with many ideas about how you can be happier.

The 4 Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

If you like personality profile quizzes, you are going to love this book. And if you don’t hang with me here. After exhaustive research, Rubin created a personality framework based on how people respond to both inner and outer expectations.

People fall into 4 categories: Upholders (that’s me), Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels (take the quiz and tell me what you are). It is sooooo interesting. And it’s extremely helpful for understand ourselves and people around us.

As I read I felt like a light bulb went off. I understood myself better and I understood why I can get frustrated with people who respond to expectations differently than me. It has helped me look at people with more compassion and understanding.

If part of your day-to-day includes trying to get people to do things for their own good (uh, like every mom) then this book is fabulous. Also amazing for teachers and doctors. I’m making my book club read it right now.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne

I found this quick read to be downright delightful. While some die-hard Potter fans find fault with various parts of this, I loved it. It’s a playscript and not a novel, so it reads differently. But once you get into it and can envision it on the stage, it is transporting and very engaging.

It picks up the story when Harry Potter’s own children are at Hogwarts. I loved every second of it and hope to see it on stage one day. I thought it was a perfect addition to the Harry Potter series.

Have you read any of these books? What are the best books that you’ve read recently?

7 Books to Read Right Now











Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom’s Survival Guide

“Take time off…the world will not fall apart without you.”  (Malebo Sephodi)

As moms, we often put ourselves last on our list of priorities. With all the balls we juggle daily, we are afraid that if we spend even a little time on ourselves, all the balls will drop and we will fail spectacularly at this whole mothering thing. And even if we do manage to do something for ourselves–like take a nice bath or go out with friends–we often end up feeling guilty about it.

But let’s be honest here: taking care of ourselves is not a privilege we must earn. It’s a human need. And more than that, it’s 100% necessary if we want to be the best moms we can be. We are better equipped to take care of our children, families, and countless duties when we are taking excellent care of ourselves. We don’t need to “earn” self-care. It’s a necessary part of taking care of our bodies, minds, and souls.

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide

Self-care means leaving survival mode behind.

I’ll be honest: I am naturally wired to burn the candle at both ends. I have to work really hard to plan and execute proper self care. But in doing so, I have seen a massive difference in my life and family. I’m a better mom. I’m more patient. My body is healthier and I feel more balanced. And I’m so much better prepared to handle the stress and difficult situations that naturally arise in my day.

Self-care isn’t a one time deal.

It’s something we need to do regularly to reap the benefits. You can’t go to Target by yourself, read a good book and call it good in the self-care department for the year. It needs to be built into your routines so that you are regularly replenishing yourself.

“How Can I Fit This is My Crazy Life????”

Tell me if this sounds vaguely familiar: You’re exhausted, but you are working through your kid’s bedtime routine regardless. You can just smell the freedom that comes when the last snuggles and kisses are exchanged. Though you have a long list of stuff to get done, instead you wander to the couch, snack in hand, and proceed to binge-watch something until you zombie walk to your bed and snag a few hours of sleep.

Then, you wake up fare before you’re ready to a child who needs to be fed/clothed/etc. So you tear yourself from the bed and groggily trudge through your morning.

Been there. Done that. And let me tell ya: there is a better way

Rejuvenating Mornings & Evenings

First off, self care will look different for every mom. It all comes down to what rejuvenates YOU physically, mentally, and spiritually. But as our mom days are often packed with non-stop chaos (or is that just me?), I finds mornings and evenings to be the optimal times for quality self-care. Changing my evenings and mornings has quite literally changed my life. 

Before my kids are up, I almost always read uplifting books, exercise, shower and get ready for the day (hair up, clothes on, and perhaps some mascara). I often meditate and I sometimes write in a journal. These practices nourish my mind, body, and soul and set me up to be a happy, patient mom ready to tackle the crazy that will inevitably come my way.

In the evening, after I put my 4 small kids to bed, I wind down first by unplugging from technology. This is when my husband and I can finally talk and really connect. Almost without fail, I take a hot bath with epsom salt (this is my absolute favorite) and essential oils while I read and relax my mind and body. I breath deeply (this method is pretty fantastic) and will sometimes meditate if I am still having trouble shutting off my brain.  

But that’s me. These practices renew me daily, help me sleep well, and feed my mind, body, and soul.

Self-Care will look different for each of us.

To create your self-care routine, you’ll need to reflect what activities bring YOU peace and relaxation. When can you find time in your day to spend some time on yourself? Before you can do that, there are a few steps you need to take to make room for self-care in your life. 


Step 1: Create Your “White Space”

Imagine a white piece of paper with writing on it. There are margins on all sides and spaces between the paragraphs. There is clear organization and flow. The white space provide direction and organization.

Okay, now Imagine another piece of paper with crammed writing covering the entire surface. Overwhelming, huh? Not sure where to start or end and there are no white spaces to be found.

Which paper best resembles your life? The one with rests and white spaces? Or the one that is so full it’s impossible to make heads or tails of what is going on?

As moms, we are so busy and maybe even feel overwhelmed from time to time. How can we fit in self care as well? Well, maybe we need to cut out some activities that aren’t important. We need to find white space in our lives. While much of what we do is extremely important, we also fill our lives up with a lot of non essentials.

To say yes to self care and better mental and physical health, you may need to say no to other things.

Step back an evaluate what you spend your time on. What should you cut out? Don’t let good things get in the way of doing THE BEST things. Don’t worry about fulfilling anyone’s expectations for you or what other people are doing. Evaluate what will be best for you and your family. And don’t be afraid to cut out things that are no longer in your best interest.

For me, this meant saying “no” to a lot of outside demands. It also meant not trying to fit in work after my kids went to bed. I used to stay up super late grading papers, cleaning, and working on a host of other things that I could never get to during the day. To get better sleep and make the most of my mornings, I needed to completely change my evening routine.

Step 2: Guard the “White Space” in Your Life

If you’ve cut out the non-essentials from your life, you’ve made room for the white space. If you are anything like me, your natural inclination is to look at that white space and want to fill it all up.

Instead, guard that white space with ferocity. That white space equals balance and your sanity. That white space allows you to fit in the much needed self-care activities that will improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

You may find that this white space actually allows you to accomplish more everyday. The 7th habit in Stephen R. Covey’s super-famous Seven Habits For Highly-Effective People is “Sharpen the Saw.” Which means taking care of yourself and feeling renewed so that you can operate at max efficiency. So if you want to be a “highly effective person,” guard your white space and try some self-care (and read his book–it is UH-MAZING).

Step 3: Build Your Self-Care Routine

Again, your self care routine may look very different from mine. But you want to make sure that you are including activities from the 3 core areas: physical, mental, and spiritual. Below are just a few ideas to get you started. Pick a few of the following and try them out this week.


  • Exercise regularly
  • Go for a walk or hike
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat nutritious food
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Have a dance party with your kids
  • Ask your partner for a massage
  • Get 15 minutes of sun (with sunscreen)
  • Snuggle with your spouse or children
  • Take a nap
  • Take a hot bath with epsom salts and/or relaxing essential oils
  • Spend time in nature
  • Smell you favorite things


  • Declutter a problem area
  • Journal
  • Start a file on your computer writing favorite memories of your kids
  • Read
  • Go outside and be in nature
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Go somewhere by yourself
  • Laugh–watch a funny youtube video, read a comic
  • Complete a task that’s been nagging at you
  • Start a book club


  • Read something uplifting
  • Go on a date with your husband
  • Try a new type of food
  • Cut out negative people on social media
  • Call/email an old friend you haven’t talked to in ages
  • Unplug from all electronics
  • Meditate
  • Recite Affirmations

Most important: Get started

Mamas, you are so important. So much rides on your capable shoulders. Make sure you give them a break (even it’s a small one) everyday.

In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. What rejuvenates you? Am I missing anything on my lists? What are your obstacles to self-care?

Getting Started With Self-Care: A Mom's Survival Guide





14 Baby Products That You Need Immediately

14 Baby Products That You Need Immediately

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

14 Baby Products That You Need Immediately

Let me tell ya, there are a lot of completely useless baby products.

Wipe warmers, baby bedding sets (newsflash: you’ll only use the fitted sheet), baby powder (as far as I’m concerned, it’s just a cheap dry shampoo replacement)…there’s so many things you’ll never use.

But on the other hand, there are products that will be absolute lifesavers. After having 4 babies in under 5 years, here are the most awesome, life-altering baby products. 


14 Must Have Baby Products

1 ) Baby Bjorn carrier

I’ve used about 5 different carriers with my kids. Two are clear favorites–and the baby bjorn is one. Here’s why: 

  • You can use it almost from birth (8lbs and up).
  • It’s really easy to figure out and put on. And let’s be honest, if it takes forever to figure out a carrier, you wont use it. 
  • It’s great for dads as it doesn’t look feminine and, as stated above, it’s so easy to put on.
  • Baby can face in or out.
  • You can clean and take care of household duties while still comforting your little infant. The sleep deprivation with a baby is real and super intense. Taking care of the house tends to go down the tubes, which makes mama feel pretty crummy. But with this bad boy, you can comfort your little baby and have 2 hands to get stuff done. 

Because baby grows out of this one by about 20 lbs, it can’t be used forever. Which is why I love…

2)  Ergo Baby 360

The Ergo Baby 360 is another one of the best baby products around. Once baby can wear the Ergo without an infant insert (which I just do not like, personally), the Ergo baby is my favorite carrier and can be worn until baby is a whopping 33 lbs.

Like the Baby Bjorn, baby can face you or face forward. And because the baby’s weight is resting on your hips, it’s very comfortable. Even wearing a toddler won’t kill your back. Throwing this on will quickly become second nature. 

3) Backpack diaper bag

Finding the right diaper bag was like dating for me. I had to go through a lot of duds before I figured out which one I wanted to settle down with.

For me, no matter what bag it is, it needs to be a backpack. I need to be able to run and use of both my hands without a bag getting in my way.

After no fewer than 10 diaper bags–a few Petunia Pickle Bottom bags (which are ridiculously expensive), and various Amazon buys, I finally settled on this Herschel backpack in raven crosshatch. It’s not actually even a diaper bag, It’s just a high quality backpack that has held up really well for the last 2 and a half years.

Why I love it:

  • It’s super functional. I never actually used all the weird pockets that came with all my diaper bags. Alwasy in a rush, I just threw everything in the middle. I use the front pockets for my wallet, cell, phone, and lipgloss. Then diapers, wipes, and snacks in the big part. I put a diaper changing pad in the laptop pocket.
  • There are a bazillion print options
  • My husband has zero qualms about wearing it around town.
  • Very Durable
  • Inexpensive: Costs a fraction of the expensive diaper brands, but is just as high quality (if not more)

For more options, check out Amazon’s vast diaper backbag selection.

4) Brica goPad Diaper Changing Pad

As a mom, you find yourself changing diapers all over the place. If you are lucky enough to find a diaper changing station, it’s probably in a nasty bathroom crawling in germs.

So you need a pad to laydown. This diaper changing mat is by far, the best I’ve used. It’s basically a super durable, portable changing table with pockets for diapers, wipes, and trash bags.

Throw it in the diaper bag, or keep it around the house for a portable changing station.

5) OXO Tot Waterproof Roll Up Bib

Once baby is self feeding and making the most epic messes possible, this bib is a lifesaver. Hands down, one of the best baby products on the market.

I like any old cloth bib when they first start feeding so I can use it to wipe their little faces. However, once they are going for it like blind-folded linebackers at an all-you-can-eat buffet, this bib is where it’s at.

The pocket really catches a lot of the mess that falls from their little hands and mouths. It’s comfy around their little necks and it rolls up for easy storage or throwing in a diaper bag. My 1 year-old loves it because once she empties her high chair tray, she goes back for more in her bib pocket 🙂

6) Pacifier clips

It took 2 kids to learn this. I can be a slow learner sometimes, folks. Pacifier clips will save you so much grief if your baby uses a pacifier. 

7) Aveeno Baby Products

These are the most gentle, skin-nourishing baby products for bath-time, no question. Other soaps can be hard on baby’s skin–even if it’s advertised for baby.

They’re pediatrician recommended and perfect for sensitive baby skin. I love the lotion, baby wash, bath bubbles, and oatmeal bath (especially for my little one with eczema). 

8) Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm

Hands down, this is the best bum cream out there–and I’ve used A LOT.

Instead of just protecting the skin (like Desitin), this stuff heals it. And it smells awesome. A bit pricey IMO, but a little container goes a long way. 

9) Sound Machine

When you are sleep deprived and have a small baby, you would sell your soul to the devil to help them sleep.

Noisemakers are really helpful to calm and soothe babies, cover up household noises, and signal sleep time. Once the sound maker goes on, my kids automatically start shutting down and nodding off to sleep. 

10) Mirror for car seat

I can’t tell you how many times I’d be driving and convinced my baby stopped breathing because I couldn’t hear any noises. But with this handy dandy backseat mirror, I could easily see my baby’s tummy reassuringly rise and fall.

This mirror is a must, if you drive. You’ll want to be able to see your rear-facing baby without pulling off on the side of the road.

11) Boppy Nursing Pillow

As I’ve nursed all 4 of my babies, the boppy nursing pillow was completely essential to comfortable nursing. I’ve loved it.

(Side note: Also makes a tummy time helper and a great lap pillow to rest your hands and book while reading!)

12) Comotomo Baby Bottles

These are the best bottles for breastfed babies.

We call them them “booby bottles”, ’round these parts. They do a really great job mimicking the breast for the baby.

My babies that took bottles loved them and had the easiest time drinking pumped milk from them. A little pricey, but totally worth it, imo.

13) Munchkin Formula Dispenser

If you will be doing any formula feeding, then this is a must-have baby product. Each compartment of this formula dispenser hold an 8oz serving.

When I was out and about, all I had to do was pour the contents of the compartment into a baby bottle of water, and voila! Milk for baby. Can also be used to dispense snacks like cheerios.

14) Portable Baby gate

Once baby becomes mobile, your realize what a death trap your house is. Baby gates are handy for keeping baby away from danger zones or simply containing them in one room. This one is a fantastic and economical choice. Our has lasted almost 6 years! 


Save your time, and invest in these products

These products are serious lifesavers, saving time and frustration. In the end, these products allow you to spend more time snuggling your baby and less time dealing with unecessary inconveniences. After 4 babies in under 5 years, I would have never made it without these guys!






Primary Clothing Review (with video)

Primary Clothing Review (with video)

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Primary Clothing Review

It’s obvious that Primary, an online children’s clothing company, was created by moms. These clothes make mom’s lives easier. From the affordable and high-quality clothing basics to the outstanding customer service, there is a lot for a busy mom to obsess over.

Don’t feel like reading? Never fear: here’s a video review! (It’s my first video and I’m totally trying not to be awkward–not sure I succeed lol)


No time for the full review? Here’s the 10-Second Primary Clothing Review

For more in-depth look at the clothes and my experiences, scroll down a bit further. Otherwise, in a nutshell…

What is awesome:

  • Great value:. Very high quality–especially considering the cost.
  • Easy to care for: Everything is machine washable, and very few items would ever need an iron.
  • The clothes are simple. All solid colors. No loud patterns or designs. All of which makes it easier for kids to match their own clothes.
  • Wide color selection: Most clothes come in ALL the colors so there’s no explosion of pink and purple for girls and green and blue for boys.
  • A+ Customer Service: The company is super responsive and customer service is top-notch.
  • Comfortable & Functional: No tags, pockets in dresses, 
  • Clothes are true to size: Plus, the website is very helpful in selecting the correct size.

Why you might not like it:

  • These are definitely basics. If you don’t like simple solid-color clothing, this is not the company for you.

Our favorite Clothes (note: all girls stuff since I have girls)

Review of Primary.com kid's clothes.



My Experience

As a mom of 4 growing girls (3 of whom dress themselves), Primary immediately appealed to me.

I was sold with the concept:

  • simple, affordable, high-quality, children’s clothes in a range of vibrant colors
  • no tags, no patterns, sequins, no logos, and no glitter (aka Satan’s dust) to come off all over my house and children.

I was tired of random images and charaters on my kids clothes, mismatched patterns and glitter explosions. Bring on the adorable, simple, and affordable kid’s clothes!


Since Halloween was approaching, the website was full of DIY halloween costumes ideas using Primary clothes. I mean seriously, just check out these awesome ideas and try not to fall in love. 

All it would take is a few quick DIY hacks paired with some clothes from Primary and I could create some super cute costumes.

And all the clothes could just be added to their regular wardrobe (unlike a cheaply-made costume). Practical and economical.

With 20% off total order for first time buyers, I figured “what the heck” and ordered outfits that could double as costumes for all 4 of my kids.

First impressions

When I opened the package (which was adorably colorful, btw), first things I saw were the gorgeous colors.

When I handled the clothes, I could quickly tell these were quality fabrics. As a seamstress, I can be a little obsessive about fabrics.

It was seriously love at first sight, I kid you not. Right off the bat, I knew that this was just the beginning (3 months later, I’ve ordered 3 additional large orders).

And boy, the clothes were so very cute! The girls loved them. They were thrilled with their panda, Belle, and sunshine costume (frankly, the unicorn didn’t really care).

Primary Halloween


As a super busy mom on a budget, I am always looking for both things that make my life easier and are great values. Primary clothes fits the bill on both counts. Here’s what I love about Primary (and trust me, there’s so much to love):

1) Easy for kids to dress themselves and match

My kids dress themselves from the time they are able (about 2 and-a-half). This makes my life so much easier and they develop independence and a sense of self (win-win). While I don’t get worked up over horribly mismatched clothes, with Primary clothes, it’s very easy for my girls to put together really cute outfits. 

2) They use high quality, sturdy fabrics

I have been impressed by the quality of every item I have purchased (and I’ve had 4 big orders at the time of writing). While I had been hesitant to spend $23 on a kid’s cardigan, when I pulled it out of its packaging I was immediately impressed by its quality. I realized that I don’t have a cardigan that nice.

3) Very affordably priced (especially considering the quality)

Like a lot of people, I am on a budget. I’m alwasy trying to walk the line between price and quality and it can be tough. I’ve bough my fair share of crappy kid’s clothes that shrink and fall apart.

Every item is made of high-quality fabric. Which means it not only looks nice, but they will last longer and won’t shrink up several sizes.

A great example of the quality can be found in Primary leggings. They cost $10 each ($9 for 3 or more). Comparing Primary leggings to Target leggings (my old go-to) is almost a joke. Primary leggings are sooooo much better. Thicker fabric, nicer waistband. The leggings are AMAZING. 

Since the regular prices are fantastic, the sales are absolutely spectacular values! Once you order and get on their mailing list, you get access to sale before the general public!

4) Clothes are very comfortable (no tags!)

I have a kid who is super sensitive to how clothes feel and is easily irritated by seams, tags etc. There has been no such issue with Primary! I seriously wish primary had clothes in my size. 

5) Free shipping, always

Yes, please!

6) Customer service is spectacular

Before ordering, I looked at their Facebook page. I noticed how incredibly responsive they were to customers. When I had an issue with an order, I saw why. They were customer service rock stars!

7) No logos/sequins/sparkles/character etc

I like that kids get to look like kids and not walking billboards. As I have all girls, I’m 100% tired of clothes dripping with sequins, characters, logos and other things that don’t age well (and are often accompanied with poor quality). 

8) The pictures on the website are SUPER helpful in selecting sizes

On the website, they show pictures of all sorts of different kids wearing the clothes and they list the size and the child’s weight and height. I LOVE this since it really helps get an idea of how the clothes will fit your child. So helpful!


1) Can get a bit boring

While I love the general idea of no patterns, it’d be awesome if there was just a polka dot print or nice stripe to mix it up a little (in full fairness, they do have a couple striped items). Despite truly loving this company, I couldn’t just buy all their clothes from Primary. I need some pattern to mix it up. As advertised, it is clothing basics…


Primary Sizing

Sizing seems pretty true to size. From my experience, do not order too big.  Many articles of clothes at the time of writing are in combined sizes (2/3, 4/5, 6/7 etc). The 2/3 is a little big on my very petite 2 year-old.

My 4 year-old fits pretty well into 4T, generally, and she fits perfectly into the 4 pants and the 4/5 tops are maybe just slightly large on her (but I’m all about a little big as opposed to too tight). The 5 year-old (who wears 5T) fits perfectly into 5 pants and the 4/5 tops.

Overall, Primary simply makes my life easier 

What mom doesn’t love not having to drag kids to the store? With Primary, you can get affordable, high-qulity, simple children’s clothes straight to your doorstep. Take advantage of the 20% off your first order and let me know what you think in the comments below!


10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

Being a mom can seem like endless drudgery of doing the same tasks over and over and over. After mopping and vacuuming, five minutes later a child leaves crumbly cracker trails in her wake. After hours on laundry–gathering, washing, folding–the dirty clothes seem to pile again immediately.

But as you know, being a mom also brings moments where your heart feels like it’s going to burst from joy and happiness. Moments where you are overwhelmed with love and gratitude for your children and you life.

Unfortunately, those moments may not be a frequent as we want them to be. But making simple changes can increase our daily happiness and overcome feelings of drudgery and overwhelm.

Here are 10 practical strategies that be practiced daily to increase those sublime moments of happiness–and generally just make us happier.

10 Things Moms Can Do For More Daily Joy

10 Steps for More Daily Joy

1) Wake-up before your kids & do something for yourself.

You can't pour from an empty cup.

Whether you exercise, read, meditate, pray, or write your to-do list, take time for yourself first thing. Filling your own cup first thing in the morning enables you to lift up and help those around 

you. This book completely changed my mornings and drastically improved my life. 

To make the most of your mornings, check out Makeover Your Morning and Be the Mom You Want to Be. If you, like myself, are NOT a morning person and need extra help to wake up in the  mornings, here are some awesome tips to help get you our of bed in the morning.

2) Make your bed every day.

It takes just a minute or two and making something look neat and organized right off the bat is a great way to start the day. I used to think it was a pointless exercise, but I’ve changed my tune. Making my bed starts my day with a sense of accomplishment and organization and it makes my bedroom more peaceful. Slipping into a made bed at the end of the day simply feels better.

3) Exercise.

Just 20-30 minutes of exercise a day–a quick run, a dance party, or an exercise circuit–has amazing effects on mood, health, sleep quality, and energy level! If you are looking for a quick workout solution, I personally LOVE The Shaun T workout video series T25. It’s really helped me get in shape after having babies when my days are jam packed. There are seven really amazing 25 minute workouts. For ideas on ways to fit a workout into your day, check out 6 Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout or follow my Pinterest Board (below) full of quick exercises for moms! 

4) Use your phone at the right time for the right things.

Have you ever gotten on your phone and suddenly your kids start throwing epic fits. So you get frustrated and then everyone’s upset. Why does that happen? When we are on our phones, we are no longer engaged with the world outside of out phone, even if we acknowledge its existence. So you’re disengaged from your kids. What do they do? They act out. Why? Because that’s how they know they can get you off your phone.

Your smartphone can help your life be more efficient. There are so many fantastic apps and features that can boost your productivity and help you stay organized. But it can also be a complete waste of time and energy. And it can be a distraction from the things that matter most.

5) Hug your husband for at least 20 seconds a day.

After a busy, often hectic day away from one another, it’s easy to feel disconnected at the end of the day. Try a 20 second hug. It is relationship-building and a mood booster! It releases oxytocin which creates feelings of trust and it also helps to relax your body. It may feel awkward at first, but embrace the awkward and reap the rewards.

6) Snuggle each child individually giving them 100% focus.

No matter how chaotic your day is, give at least a few minutes of snuggles and undivided attention to each child. LIke hugs, snuggling is going to build your relationship with your child and make everyone happier.

It’s amazing the peace it’ll bring to your home. Your kids will have fewer meltdowns and you will all be much happier. When I snuggle my children, I can literally feel the tension leaving their bodies. I love it!

7) Choose your battles wisely.

With your spouse and your children, make sure you choose the right things to focus on. Whether battling over mismatched clothes, messy hair, toilet training, or a picky child, make sure you’re picking the right ones and letting the rest go.

Personally, I let my girls dress themselves. Sure, they are often clad in a mismatched array of patterns and colors. But they are happy and developing a sense of self and I don’t have to worry about it.

And I usually only make a stink about brushing hair on Sundays before church. We brush our hair for Jesus. On school days, they rush into their classrooms with spectacular bed head–passed the girls with their perfectly coiffed braid and bows. If they don’t care, neither do I (though I suspect that will change in a few years).

8) Schedule downtime at the end of the day.

Stress is often a culprit in our bad moods and unhappiness. After the kids are down, treat yourself to a relaxing routine. Take a bath, read a book–do something relaxing and rejuvenating that will prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

9) End your day reciting your “Top 10 of Today”

With your spouse or by yourself, go over the 10 best parts of your day. Can’t make it to 10? Shoot, even the top 1 or two will still be a mood booster. Focusing on the positives brings sunshine to even the cloudiest of days. More on my top 10 habit here.

10) Make your sleep a top priority.

This is much more important than a clean house. Your sleep is directly related to your mood, your energy, your health, and how you interact with others. SLeep deprivation can literally kill you. Check out this fantastic video done by a sleep expert. Mom getting enough sleep = happy home.

Need help? Here are 10 amazing strategies that can help you get dramatically better sleep tonight.

Am I missing anything?

What daily practice helps you be happier? Answer in the comments or email me at erin@theincrementalamam.com.