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The 10 Secrets To Being A Happy Parent


Parenting is tough. While there is all sorts of parenting advice and parenting tips out there, the information can be overwhelming. This post is meant to encourage mom and dad: 10 Secrets to Being a Happy Parent.

According to an article by livescience.com, “a happy marriage, secure bank account, and good sleep make for happy moms and dads.”

While I agree with these, I began to think of what helps me enjoy my role as a parent. Here’s what I came up with.

Don't miss this! 10 secrets to being a happy parent. #parenting Click To Tweet

Don’t compare

Comparing yourself and your children to others will make you discontent and make your family miserable. Enjoy your family as they are and never mind what others are doing.

Be present

Don’t think about next week, next month, or next year. Try to enjoy the moments with your children right now.

Have a vision

While living in the present, it’s important to have a vision as to what you want for your children. What is your parenting vision? Be specific… don’t just say, I want my kids to be happy. Decide what values you want to foster and what you would like to encourage. When you have a vision, it’s easier to discern how to handle different situations with your children. If you need help crafting your parenting vision, visit this post HERE (I even have a downloadable resource for you to use).

For instance, if you want giving and compassionate children, then you may want to expose them to charitable causes at a young age.

What is your parenting vision? Do you have one? #parenting Click To Tweet

Forgive and ask for forgiveness

When your children mess up, forgive them (and let them know you forgive them). When you mess up, make sure to admit your errors and ask them for forgiveness. Parenting with guilt only leads to misery. Speaking of guilt, my next piece of advice….

Every day is a new day

I love Anne of Green Gables. I have watched the television movies more times than I could list off. One thing that stuck with me from the movie is when Anne discovered this advice:

“Every day is a new day with no mistakes in it.”

Amen! We parents tend to lug around a suitcase of errors and wear chains of guilt around our necks.

Let. It. Go.

Treat each day as a new day and a fresh start. Do this for yourself and for your children.

(A side note, I’m not talking Idina Menzel’s Let It Go… I’m speaking Luba’s Let It Go — because I’m an 80’s girl).

Ask for help

When you’re in over your head and you don’t know what to do or how to handle things… ask for help. You’re not alone! Chances are hundreds of thousands of parents have felt what you’re feeling or have gone through something similar. Reach out and ask for help.

Let your children be themselves

Do not expect miniature, better, versions of yourself. Your children are individuals. Enjoy their uniqueness and celebrate their differences.

Play

I can’t tell you how much joy one can derive from play. If you feel like you don’t know how to play, then check out this article which I wrote a few years ago. It gives lots of pointers on how to play with your child.

Take care of yourself

Don’t get lost in caring for your children and neglect yourself. You need to take care of yourself. I make sure that I take care of myself spiritually, physically, and mentally. Prayer, exercise, eating well, resting well, and thinking positively make a huge impact on my happiness, which in turn, makes me a happier parent.

Are you struggling to come up with ways to de-stress?  These 30 relaxation ideas for busy parents might be a good place to start.

Have a sense of humour

If you put a comedic spin on everything, you’ll be happier! Seek laughter and enjoy the funny things your kids do.

What would you say contributes to being a happy parent?

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Jennifer Bly
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Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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109 thoughts on “The 10 Secrets To Being A Happy Parent

  • Janine Huldie

    You said a mouthful here today (great advice) and I have to say I thank god every day I did learn early on to ask for help when I do feel I need it, because I think that does help so much. Thanks you so much for sharing!!! :) xoxo!!

  • Rach D

    That was a beautiful post! I have to admit that I don’t always ‘enjoy’ parenting and this is something I want to work on this year :) Being in the present…just accepting more. Thanks for sharing!

  • Echo

    I agree with you on so many of these! Especially, being present, each day is new and having a sense of humor. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t enjoy parenting at all!

  • Maria

    These are such great insights. I love your points about comparing and being present, but what struck me most is the idea of forgiveness–asking and giving. That’s such a profound idea that never occured to me until now. It’s such a valuable aspect of life that I’d love to teach my daughter; and the first step is of course showing her through example. Thank you for sharing these!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this Maria and that some of these resounded with you.

      It’s so important to teach our children forgiveness and one of the best ways is to role-model it ourselves.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the secrets to being a happy parent. I appreciated hearing your perspective.

      Wishing you a lovely week.

  • Amanda

    Love the list, especially the last tip. I found that it helps to reduce stress and strife if I temper my discipline with humor and fun. “Get your coat on RIGHT NOW” is more fun when followed by “or else I’m going to tickle you!” Chase ensues…coat is thrown on haphazardly and child falls down and is now in the perfect position to put on shoes! Not the way it always goes…but those times are more fun than the times I’m just barking orders trying to get my girl to fall in line!

  • Bijee

    Jennifer this list is so on point! I’ve declared to just enjoy parenting this year and so worrying, obsessing and feeling guilty. Coincidentally today’s motivational post is about every day being a new day and i some about having that perspective in my parenting. Thanks for this!

  • Rebecca

    It’s no secret that having a sense of humor with regard to parenting is a biggie to me. Lol. But I’ve also found that forgiveness is just as important. When Dylan is a brat, I know he’s not really a brat. He’s a toddler. But I have to constantly remind myself that this is new to me, that I’m not an expert, I’m not prepared, and I do make mistakes and I have to forgive myself- and that forgiveness is contingent on moving on and letting go. I love this post. <3

  • Misty

    I love this! I think remembering that we can start over the next day has helped me SO much through the years. We all make mistakes, the important thing is to move on, and not repeat them. That keeps me a happier parent for sure :)

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this Misty.

      Yes, I learned recently that I have got to start forgiving myself. I’m good with forgiving others but myself… eek, not so good. Fortunately God showed me how much happier I would be if I just let go of the guilt.

      Thanks for sharing your perspectives on this.

  • Kristen

    This is such a great post – and I couldn’t agree more with just being present. It’s so funny that we both wrote about our parenting vision, because I’ve been practicing what I preached last week. I have a schedule, I’m giving myself permission to work out, and I’m spending more time with my kids. It’s amazing how easy this road trip my husband is on has been. I am sharing this because I love it!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Being present makes a world of difference. I find I’m short-tempered, grumpy, and miserable when I’m distracted. However, when I’m in the moment, fully engaged, I’m content.

      I love what you shared about the direction your taking in 2015– good for you my friend!

  • Cindy Hasko

    Hi Jennifer!! Happy New Year! Great post! I love that pic of you & your daughter on the ground. Precious!! I love everything you typed here. I always play with my son. I put his super~hero masks on and get on his level and PLAY! One day they will be teens and won’t want to play with mom & dad anymore, lol. And I am a big preacher on taking care of ourselves, amen to that! Because if we don’t, we will melt and our family needs us. Beautiful Jenn. As you can see, I took a blogging break for the holidays. I’m going to post a blog on my site only once or twice a month, instead of once a week, to work on something for God. HOWEVER, I will continue to comment and read the blogs I love, including yours. I will still blog on my site, just not every week like before. I looooove to blog, but I really feel like God has called me to do something for Him, for now, and I just need that time to work on this project. I will still post on Instagram, etc too! I will still join your link up party too! xoxo :)

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I love that picture of us too. It’s one of my favourites!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this and I loved hearing about how you play with your son. That’s awesome.

      Best wishes to you as you embark on this project/journey. Blessings to you my friend!
      xoxo

  • Melissa

    Getting enough sleep =). I agree with you on all of these points!. I know my limit and have learned to ask for help when I feel overwhelmed. As a result, I am much happier.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Often the best moments are the ones that we fully engage in… not the ones that are distracted by expectations, or present, or past. I yearn to move closer to being in the moment every single moment of every single day.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Stephanie!

  • Shilo

    I enjoy all of these, especially being present and engaged. I think that makes everyone in the family happier! I have a really hard time with taking care of myself though. There just never seems to be any time left. I was barely able to read this post today!
    I really like the idea of a parenting vision. This is something I’d like to create for this year.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Being present and engaged is a daily practice… I need to remind myself of its importance, frequently!

      I think most parents neglect to take care of themselves (especially moms). It’s so important to do so though. We can’t give if we have nothing in us to give.

      Thanks for sharing Shilo. You always post such thoughtful and reflective comments.

  • Brittany Bullen

    Jennifer,

    These are fantastic tips and as always, your blog just keeps getting prettier and prettier. Your posts are always so upbeat and helpful, they really are some of my favorites. I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve visited. I hope you and your family are enjoying the New Year so far!

    Brittany

  • Jeaiza

    I think “play” may be my favorite. I’m not a mother as yet, but I think of all things I love and cherish about mine is that although her work was serious, she found those random moments to just be a big kid with us. Great post!

  • Jaime Buckley

    Love it, Jennifer. You also got one I didn’t think of….(ME, of all silly people)

    PLAY!!

    I mean, I do it, yes—but didn’t connect that being part of being a happy parent!

    Wow.

    You know what gets more parents I have seen than anything else…is your #1: Comparing. Nasty, nasty pit, that one…and it’s a bold faced lie too.

    It’s impossible to compare yourself to another parent! Different styles, goals, capacities, circumstances, personalities, personality combinations (kids and spouses), talents….the list is endless.

    It’s like comparing an apple to….Aunt Bertha (you know, the one with the 2″ mole on her upper lip with hair so long you could braid it).

    I’ll let you ladies decide which is which…but my point is, don’t compare. It’s a slippery slope with sharks swimming below (and Aunt Bertha, who misses you and wants that kiss).

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Oh yes… play is a huge happiness factor (and I’m not surprised that you engage in play all the time)!

      Comparing can be brutal in any aspect of life… not just in parenting. It’s a trap that we should avoid at all costs.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what makes for a happy parent Jaime.

  • Amanda @ Growing Up Madison

    I’m back! :) Those are all great tips Jennifer. I’m with you on being present. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve been there but not really been there if you know what I mean. With work and the blog taking up so much of my time I haven’t been the parent I would want to be. This year its going to be so different. I’m taking the blog in a new direction, transitioning out of the army so will have more time and will be spending it with the kids. I hope your 2015 has been great so far!

  • Tamara

    I needed this today. I had such a rough morning arguing with Scarlet and then I had to drop her at school and I couldn’t stay because I had to take Des next. And she could totally see above all of it and say, “Love you, Mama. Bye!” So it made me happy that I’m raising a great kid.
    And of course now I’m sad because our argument was bad and she needed a tissue before I left and I didn’t have one! Sigh.
    I know we’ll have a sweet reunion this afternoon.

  • Erica Layne

    Love these, Jennifer! My favorite being “have a parenting vision.” I couldn’t agree more and have often blogged about the topic, like you. I’m new here, but I’m going to poke around some more!

  • Sanz

    “Don’t compare!” Yup! That one right there! It’s so easy to do in this social media world! Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting to raise good kids that I forget they already are!

  • Debbie

    Hi Jennifer, I love that quote from Anne Of Green Gables, it’s not a film I have ever watched….Maybe I should!

    Your post contains some great tips, I used to love playing with my two when they were small. We do still play games and do things together, but it’s not like when they were small and I never quite knew what was coming next.

    Looking after ourselves and trying to keep a positive outlook (although not always easy) are great nuggets of advice, which I do try to abide by.

  • Steph @MisplacedBrit

    These are great reminders!
    …It’s the ‘take care of yourself’ that I find easily gets lost in all the noise!
    Loved your parent vision post too, great questions to kick off a conversation & some decisions over a nice cup of tea! :-)

  • Tammi

    Yes, yes, and yes! I agree with every point. I think it is important to forgive yourself too. Parenting is hard and we all make mistakes. Focusing on the mistake rather than learning from it is not proactive. I have 4 kids (my oldest is 21) and I’ve stumbled a lot in raising them. I can say I am a much happier and better parent now than even 5 years ago. Your points are right on target.

  • Lysa

    Hi Jennifer,

    Great tips on how to be a happy parent. With my second generation of kids, my girls, I learned to be present, play, and to keep my sense of humor. I approached parenting with them in a completely different way than I did the first time and am much happier and less stressed this go around. Thanks for sharing.

    Much love,
    Lysa xx

  • Brandyn Blaze

    I love this! Especially the bit about remembering that every day is a new day. I find that I often let myself get caught up in how I could have done this or that differently or focusing too much on some nebulous idea of “tomorrow”. Taking things day by day seems the much healthier choice!

  • Monica Geglio

    “Every day is a new day with no mistakes in it.” This is such a great morning mantra… I need to post this quote on my desk! ALL of these 10 secrets to being a happy parent are DEAD ON! I was in a parenting funk for a LONG time, (almost all of my daughter’s life and she is 3). Only since having my son did I truly stop COMPARING myself to my sister-in-law and how the in-laws wanted me to parent my children. I feel like a whole new mother and I absolutely love my parenting style so I don’t know why I even compared in the first place!

    I absolutely LOVE embracing my children’s individual personalities. I have had to learn the lesson that my daughter is not going to love and do everything I want her to do. I am amazed at the activities and likes that my daughter is drawn to all by herself. When our similarities align (singing ALL.THE.TIME and dancing crazy), I embrace that as well!

    Thanks for sharing such a perfect article on happy parenting!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this Monica. I was in the rut of comparing early on in my “parenting career”. I would say I stopped around the time that I had my second child too. I think you get so busy with two children there isn’t a moment to hesitate and look over your shoulder at someone else… that and you feel more comfortable in your role.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Monica. I appreciate hearing your perspective.

  • Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

    Let them be themselves! Amazing. So simple in theory but something that always needs refocusing when it comes to putting it into practice. Why do we expect our kids to be BETTER little versions of ourselves? Great reminders!

    Reading your blog is helping me become a better parents! Thanks for your advice and ideas.

    Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this Stephanie and I’m so glad you found my tips encouraging.

      I think it’s easy to slip and forget that our children are indeed little individuals, whose personalities need nurturing rather than changing.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
      xoxo

  • Tawnya

    I love all of these so much, especially living in the moment. I strive to do that everyday and I find I am more present when I do, when I think of being accountable to each moment I put my phone down more and play with my little one.

    I also love the one about not comparing, I completely agree! Every single child is different and they were given to us for a reason :)

  • Cassidy @ Freshly Planted

    My husband & kids thrive on humor. When I remember to respond with humor, it not only helps us reach resolutions faster- but it fills their love tanks too. Milk spilled all over the kitchen… overflowing sinks… broken objects… making it into a joke helps us remain on the same side (instead of me vs. them), keeps them more receptive for correction for next time, and makes good memories too!

  • Topaz

    Love the one on being present. This is so true especially now when we have even more distractions than when I raised my sons. We have a constant stream of things fighting for our attention and distracting us. So yes….be present is so important. Great list, my friend. xo

  • Brandnewmom

    Thank you again for posting at the Monday Musings Blog Hop Pinterest Party @brandnewmomblog.com! We have featured you and this post this week! Can’t wait to see what you have in store this week! – BrandNewMom

  • Elizabeth

    Jennifer, these are so true and so applicable. The ones I have to work on are “be present” and “take care of yourself”. In the midst of all the “things to do” and goals I am working on, I sometimes get a little lost. Glad I found you today.

  • Shanice

    Fantastic Post! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays at 9AM eastern time :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  • Brittany Bullen

    Jennifer,

    You’re amazing and your blog is looking fabulous! I just had to stop by after noticing your feature over at the IBA. Sorry it’s been a while since I stopped by, things have been super crazy here!

    Do you have a new theme? When did you make the change?

    Brittany

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Thanks Brittany! I was delighted about the feature!

      I’ve actually had this theme since June but I keep on tweaking, adding, taking away things.

      My title used to be pink and I decided to change it to black and I changed the fonts and font colours because the previous ones were kind of hard on the eyes.

      I added a great author box as well as a subscriber box and the follow bar that Tina mentioned. I made a lot of my changes at the end of December. I’m happy with the way things are looking though. Thanks for noticing!

  • Rachelle

    Thanks Jennifer – I need daily reminders! LOL!

    I named my blog Restoration of Joy because I had lost all joy, and it was evident in my parenting and also in my worshipping. Carrying those bags of guilt and shame with me daily was taking its toll. And then I realized, God’s forgiven me, so why can’t I forgive myself???

    Ladies, NOTHING will ever be perfect. We’ll forget our poncho and it will rain. Your 11-year-old will go to school with unmatched socks because you didn’t inspire her enough to want to clean her room. Your 12-year-old will yell at you about making her play the flute because she doesn’t have the drive and fastidiousness to finish what she started. It’s all our fault, right?

    It’s not.

    Go enjoy life, and enjoy your babies for as long as you can. Before they beat you on the head with their flute. :)

    Thanks again, Jennifer. So blessed to read your blog and get to “know” you!
    Love, blessings, and {hugs!!!}

  • Miranda

    Yes to all of these!
    I especially love that you pointed out that children are not miniature versions of you. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen parents disappointed and children damaged because they didn’t “live up to expectations.” I think that is the joy of parenting–discovering who your children are and nurturing them to be their best version, not your best version.

    I also enjoy play and humor so much. In fact, my kids and I just got done dancing around the living room with our ribbon streamers to Disney songs….including “Let it Go” :-)

    Such a good post and great reminders. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      I’m delighted you enjoyed this Miranda! Yes, there is such joy in seeing our children develop into who they are meant to be.

      Play is so important. I write about it often because I need to remind myself to do it more often! lol

  • Sapana

    That’s truly beautiful. I loved the ” Every day is a new day” That’s the beauty of motherhood. Enjoy each day because kids are growing and they may not be with you like this after a few years.

    • Jennifer Bly Post author

      Yes! It’s one of my favourite reminders and it releases such joy to not be chained to the previous day but to have a fresh start each day.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.