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

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 put 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. I finally slipped into bed at 4:00am after finising the book.

I cried. I laughed. It was a great read.. 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 

Once you start this murder-mystery, you will want to devour the entire thing. Spooky and undeniably clever, this book is a serious page turner. 

The plot: Ten strangers all arrive at a mansion on a remote island. One by one, they start to drop off with no one able to leave the island.

Oh my gosh, it’s soooo good! 

I’ve been on a major Agatha Christie kick since reading this book. She is indeed the master of mystery. 

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.

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.

7 Awesome Books to Read Right Now

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin has made it to 2 places on my list. I simply adore her and her podcast too.

Former Supreme Court clerk turned researcher and writer, Rubin is obsessed with happiness. 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

This is a book that will completely change how you see yourself and other people. My book club cannot staop talking about it..

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 fascinating. And it’s extremely helpful for understanding ourselves and the people around us.

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.

You deserve a great book.

You work hard and deserve to immerse yourself in a fantastic book. Go to your local library or Amazon and get yourself one of these awesome books to read.

Then tell me what you think!

7 Books to Read Right Now

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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.

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Self-Care

 

“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 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.

But, of course, it took me a looooong time to figure that one out.

I used to feel like I had to “earn” self care.

There are few things I find more relaxing than sitting in a super hot bath (complete with essential oils and epsom salt) and reading a good book.

I find it soooo relaxing. 

But I’ve always felt like I had to “earn” a nice bath. I had to be really really deserving. Like if I’d run a marathon or something.

Once I had kids, that feeling compounded. Suddenly, in under 5 years I went from zero kids to 4 little girls 4 and under. All while working a job.

And it was just as crazy as you’re imagining.

If I had a hard time making time for myself before, how on earth was I going to do it now? I always had more to do than time to do it.

So making time to take care of myself felt like I was taking away from everything else. It felt like it was taking away from taking care of my kids.

But that was completely wrong.

Taking care of myself = taking better care of my kids.

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

It means leaving survival mode behind.

While it took a huge shift in mindset to actually plan and execute proper self care, it has made such a difference in my life and family..

I’m a better mom. I’m more patient. My body is healthier and I feel more balanced.

Which means I’m so much better prepared to handle the stress and difficult situations that naturally arise in my day.

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

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 fin 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 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. 

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GETTING STARTED

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?

To fit in self care, we need to cut out activities that aren’t important. We need to create the white space in our lives. 

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.  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. 

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, you’ve created the white space in your life. 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. 

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.

Body/Physical

  • 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

Mind

  • 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

Spirit

  • 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 everyday (even it’s a small one). And remember, self care is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Implement your own selfcare routine and let the benefits seep into your life.

You’ve got this, mama!

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

 

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

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14 Baby Products That You Need Immediately

14 Baby Products That You Need Immediately

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

14 BABY PRODUCTS TO SAVE YOUR SANITY

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

Wipe warmers, baby bedding sets (newsflash: all you’ll use is 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.

And I know a thing or two about that. I’ve pretty much spent the last 5 years with a baby (my oldest was 4 when my 4th was born). With little kids, a job, and no time, I relied on these products to make it through the crazy times.

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  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 sweetie and have 2 hands to free to help your other kids or 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. Always in a rush, I just threw everything in the middle. I use the front pockets for my wallet, cell, phone, and lipgloss (if I’m feeling fancy). 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: After a particularly bad spill all over the backpack, I literally hosed it down in the backyard. Good as new.
  • 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 having a rough night, 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 TIME & HASSLES WITH 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!

 

 

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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.

 

THE IN-DEPTH LOOK AT PRIMARY CLOTHING

 

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!

Halloween

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

WHAT I LOVE

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!

WHAT YOU MAY NOT LOVE

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_Kids_Clothing_20_Percent_Off

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. 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 your 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 Things Moms Can Do Everyday For More Joy

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

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. 

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 will start your day off by creating order and feeling accomplished.

I used to think it was a pointless exercise, but I was wrong. Making your bed starts your day with a jolt of satisfaction and accomplishment. Slipping into a made bed at the end of the day simply feels better.

3) Exercise.

Just 20-30 minutes of exercise a day has amazing effects on mood, health, sleep quality, and energy level.

For ideas on ways to fit a workout into your day, check out 6 Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout.

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.  So you’re disengaged from your kids.

And then 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. Here are some tips to be smart about your smartphone

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’s relaxing, can help build your realtionship, and is 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. 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. 

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 battles 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.

On school days, they rush into their classrooms with epic bed head, running past the girls with their perfectly coiffed braids and bows.

But hey, if they don’t care, neither do I.

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 or read a book. Do something relaxing and rejuvenating that will prepare you for a good night’s sleep. 

(For more on creating a fantastic evening routine, click here.)

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. 

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.

Mom getting enough sleep = happy home.

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

It just takes a few minutes.

None of these strategies take more than a couple of minutes, but each of them will inject a burst of happiness into your day. And your happiness is the cornerstone of building a happy home.

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