Some days, I just want to hide.  I want to stay in bed wrapped in a blanket like a human sized burrito and escape all of my troubles. 

Without fail, one of my three children will enter my bedroom wanting breakfast, help finding clean underwear, or with the need to vent about teenage drama. 

So what do I do?  What most moms do, of course.  I hit the ground running and make the most out of the day.  And repeat.

Being a mom is an exhausting thankless job.  Doesn’t it seem that we’re forced to take on a greater portion of the family stress?  I feel that way.  Lately, my stress levels have skyrocketed.  I feel as though I have to fight daily for joy.  

The coach in me has been giving herself regular pep talks just to keep from falling off the deep end.  If you can relate, then keep reading.  I’m about to share the mindset and methods I’ve been using to keep my chin up amidst a stressful time.  

Choose Joy

Let me begin by saying that having joy is a choice.  It doesn’t matter if the world has gone mad, you’ve lost your job, lost a loved one, can’t pay your bills, are on the brink of divorce, or the like.  Joy is still a choice.  

I don’t mean to be harsh or callus in any way.  If you’re in a really low place, it is ok to seek professional help.   My goal is to provide a boost to the moms dealing with some 2021 life stress. 

I simply know that there are countless stories of ordinary people who’ve gone through far worse than you and I, yet they were able to overcome and live happy lives.  People who shifted their thoughts, put in the effort and persevered. 

 Rise Up

The moment you hear your alarm go off, is an opportunity to choose joy.  My mind inevitably wants to complain that “it’s already morning”, especially if I didn’t have the best sleep, so I have to make a quick mental shift.  You know how it is.

Turn the woe of the morning into a thankful thought.  

“I am so thankful to be alive.”

“I get to be a mother to my beautiful children.”

Morning Routine

Most self-help experts, spiritual leaders, and highly successful individuals of our time speak on the importance of a morning routine.  Many will lay out in great detail their own routine for their followers to mimic.

Like it or not, being disciplined in this practice has a tremendous impact on the flow of your day.  It’s worth doing.  I think it’s best practice to create your own morning routine, making sure that in whichever order you choose, the following are included:

Time for spiritual well being/reflection

Hydration

Exercise or Movement

Setting your intention for the day

Gratitude and/or journaling

Make your bed

Following your morning routine will help you begin each day with a win.

Prepare for Killjoys

There’s been so many times when I am feeling on top of the world only to be met by opposition.  I’m sure you’ve been there.  It doesn’t take much to be thrown off your game. 

Perhaps, you felt extra pretty and then dribbled coffee all over your blouse.  Maybe you’re singing your favorite song on the way to work only to be met by traffic or even worse, get rear-ended by a careless driver.  Or you’re actually breezing through your morning duties, but your kid is moving slower than molasses in January to get his shoes on.

These examples might seem like small problems, but the way we react to minor inconveniences is practice for how we handle major crises.  

When things don’t go your way, begin a statement with “Even though.” 

“Even though my car was damaged, I choose to be thankful that no one was harmed in the accident.”

Seek the good in every situation and you’ll find it.  The joyful person in you doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  

Don’t Fight Alone

When you’re fighting for joy, you may feel very alone.  It’s all too easy to believe that you are the only one struggling in a given area.  Not true. 

Share your troubles with trusted individuals and you’ll be amazed at how many have gone through or are going through a similar situation.  Humans are relational beings.  We need to both encourage and be encouraged by others in order to feel fulfilled.  

I’ve recently had to open up to friends about marital problems and although it was uncomfortable to share, having people in my corner routing for me, many even praying for me, has brought me much joy.  We don’t have to fight alone.

Be Present

I think that our greatest set back is our fear and worry about the future.  Stay in the moment.  I remind myself to do this constantly with my children.  They need me now. They need me with all of the love and joy that I can mustard each second that I am with them even though my fear often causes it to feel insincere in my heart. 

When I can stop looking far into the future, preparing for every worst case scenario, then I can pause and enjoy the fleeting moments of their childhood while they’re still young. 

Put your worries aside, put your phone aside, and truly be with your babies.

Shine

You are capable of handling one thought at a time.  Don’t get trapped in your own mental mess.  Instead of being a typical self-centered human, consider who else in your world might need a little joy. 

Take a moment to send a quick “Thank you”, “I love you”, or “Thinking of you” text to a friend or family member.  In doing so, not only will you add joy to their day, but you will feel good knowing that you’ve done something meaningful. 

It doesn’t matter if the skies around you are gray when you’re busy trying to shine like the sun. 

Your joy is worth fighting for.

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Tara is a small town California girl from the Central Valley. She met her best friend turned husband shortly after high school. They met at a Hot Topic, while she was "shopping" at the mall. He was the cute emo kid from Simi Valley that her heart couldn't resist. Nearly twenty years later, they have 3 children ages 13, 8, and 6. Tara is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach, and SAHHM (stay at home homeschooling mom). She attributes her appreciation for witnessing beauty and transformation to leading her to wear many hats. Whether it's changing a hairstyle, one's physique, increasing knowledge or changing one's point of view, she's passionate about helping others become their personal best. When she's not leading a workout or teaching her kids, you'll find her at a local mexican restaurant (because tacos are life), visiting a museum, hiking, or listening to live music. Tara is proud to be a contributor for the Ventura County Mom Collective. "I hope to encourage more women to honor their bodies and use their personal gifts, so that collectively, we can make a greater impact in this world."

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