Here’s the thing about being a mom: there is no one-size-fits-all, well, anything. Think about it: have you ever bought something that was marketed as “one size fits all” and it didn’t fit you? How did you feel after that? My guess is you felt a little left out and a little out of place.
That’s what the one-size-fits-all mentality does to people: you’re either in or you’re out. The good news is that moms are realizing this and they are forging their own path and going against the grain. The whole concept of motherhood has changed dramatically over the past 20 years and it continues to evolve. Defining what is emotional well-being has evolved right along with it.
Everyone wants to “be happy” right? But what does that mean? What is emotional well-being? Chances are your definition of happiness and well-being is very different from the mother standing next to you in the grocery line or the mom who works in the office next to yours. Countless moms have been finding their own path to happiness (or whatever you want to call it) and many of them share their own stories.
Emotional well-being can take on a variety of forms, depending on your background, your current status in life and what just makes you tick. And that’s a very, very good thing. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to emotional well-being. It’s different for everyone. And it can change. My concept of emotional well-being as a mom is very different today than it was when my first child was born nearly a dozen years ago. And it will be different when my three-year-old reaches her teen years.
So how do you find your own path to emotional well-being? What is emotional well-being for you? I wish I could give you a magic formula or a secret answer. But the truth is that you’ll find it through a lot of trial and error. You’ll find things that feel good and work that you’ll want to keep with you for a long time and other things that don’t feel so great that you’ll want to avoid. Here’s how I found (and continue to find) my emotional well-being comfort zone:
Defining happiness. I’ve had to ask myself: what does happiness look like? What does it feel like? I use this as my guide post.
I listen to myself. How often do we NOT do this? We’re so busy with life, kids and activities and just getting through one day to start the next that we don’t honestly stop to ask ourselves what we need and how we’re doing. The more I do this, the more in tune I get with what’s truly going on.
I set some ground rules. Mine include “happy mom, happy kids,” “go with the flow” (which is also our family motto) and “don’t be a jerk.” I can’t always help it if someone has hurt feelings, but I don’t ever want to hurt someone else intentionally.
I have fun. I’ve given myself permission to let loose and live.
I am trying more and more to be brave. I try new things more now than I ever have before. Last week I went zip lining. If you knew how terrified of heights I am, you would know that this is a big deal.
What is your definition of happiness or emotional well-being as a mom? What can you do today that will move you in the right direction?