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Happy Mama Hack: Daily “Top 10” List

As moms, we all have bad days. Days when a trip to the store ends up with epic meltdowns, rude strangers, and everyone in tears (including mom) in the parking lot. Or when a child’s scientific toilet experiment ends with a very costly plumber’s visit. Or when mom runs ragged all day long accomplishing things left and right, but at the end of the day there are mounds of laundry, a filthy house, and cranky kids. Strangers we encounter lovingly tell us to “enjoy every second,” but we wonder sometimes how exactly we are supposed to do that amidst the chaos and the messes. While I am convinced not all moments are meant to be joyful (I’m talking to you potty training), I am convinced that every day can end with a little bit of joy. One simple way to find daily joy is through a nightly top 10 list.

Top 10 List for Daily Joy

The Birth of the “Top 10” List

Each night, my husband and I would crawl into bed completely worn out from our respective days, minds reeling with the events of the day and the stresses of tomorrow looming. We tended to go over the events of the day anyway, often focusing on the challenges of both parenthood and our careers. Remembering a gratitude journal I kept in high school, one night early into our parenting days, I proposed that we instead list the top 10 things that happened that day. In order to keep our conversations upbeat, we would take turns sharing 10 of the best moments or successes of our day. What happened was amazing! Instead of focusing on and sharing the difficulties, we shared the successes, the silver linings, and the tender moments.


choose to see the good

What Goes on the Top 10 List?

Whatever you want! The whole purpose of this exercise is to see the good things all around you. It could be:

  • a particularly sweet snuggle you got from a child
  • getting to school/appointments on time
  • that the weather was pleasant
  • your children didn’t break anything
  • you were able to finally get to some laundry
  • that your child is improving at a skill
  • you got to have an adult conversation
  • your children shared toys
  • you didn’t have a major emergency


When days are particularly tough and moods particularly crabby, it can be as tough to get through the 10. But that’s when we need them most! Once you start the practice, you’ll start to see all the WONDERFUL and sweet things that happen everyday. The top 10 list will help turn crabby moods around, fill you with gratitude, and send you peacefully to sleep.

Let Me Know How it Goes!

So tonight, as you crawl into bed, go over the top 10 moments or miracles of your day. Let me know how it goes in the comments or contact me at the incrementalmama at gmail dot com.