As moms, we spend a lot of time showing our kids how to behave. This is important, but sometimes we get so consumed with it that we miss out on the lessons they could teach us. Consider this: Who’s happier right this moment, you or your child? If your kids are walking on sunshine while you growl your way through another grumpy, over-scheduled Thursday, it may be time to steal a few ideas from them…
1. Wear your feelings on your sleeve. Sure we come down on our kids for throwing tantrums, but they are excellent at solving conflict immediately. Is stewing over a problem and blowing up later really a better solution?
2. Eat only when you’re hungry. My kids act like starving lions when hunger hits them, but they don’t eat their feelings. Only the adults in my house find themselves elbow deep in a bag of Doritos out of boredom.
3. Dress to make yourself happy. Kids like what they like and choose clothes based on comfort and fun designs. Think how much happier you could be if you stopped dressing to camouflage a flaw or try to fit in with the skinny jeans brigade at school pickup.
4. Pursue happiness doggedly. Toddlers really have this skill down. Almost all of their actions are motivated by a desire to be joyful. If you feel like a hamster on a wheel, you’re probably allocating too much time to to-do lists and not enough to chasing your own happiness.
5. Assert yourself. Kids tell it like it is and demand their rightful turn for everything from a slide at the park to rights to pick tonight’s pizza toppings. Stop shrinking politely and hoping someone will offer you what you want– ask for it already.
6. Lean on other people. My kids take for granted that there’s an entourage of people to help them through their days from family to teachers to friends. I tend to forget that there is another option beyond tearing my hair out trying to do every last thing myself.
7. Get excited about the little things. Kids get really excited over the smallest things- an extra cherry on their sundaes or the 500th repeat of their favorite cartoons. Don’t be too cool to let your day be made by small pleasures.
8. Let grudges die speedy deaths. Kids may get their feelings hurt easily but they let go quickly too. They understand that getting over themselves means getting back to fun time sooner. Still stewing over a snarky comment from 6 months ago? Take inspiration from your 6 year old instead, and you’ll be having more fun too.
9. Make new friends anywhere, anytime. Kids take every opportunity to make new friends- many a fierce childhood friendship has been formed in the waiting rooms of places where the moms sat right beside them, never breaking eye contact with their iPhones. Adults are more likely to stay within their decades long circle of friends and miss out on new people.
10. Run, jump and move for fun. Kids get that running, jumping and playing is for fun. Grown-ups (me included) are more likely to suffer at the gym just to chase a number on the scale. Find something fun that makes you feel like a kid again rather than martyr at the temple of body shame.
Related post: 28 Reasons Kids Are Awesome
This article was originally published on