Relishing the Joy of Motherhood

Parenting Can Be Stressful, But Also Full of Joy

girl giving a gift to her mother
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Let's face it: motherhood can be stressful. While the position brings some of the best perks you can imagine—the fun, the growth, the love—it also brings more than its share of work, frustration, and stress. Being pregnant and giving birth can also increase your risk of depression—especially if you have experienced symptoms in the past or have a family history of depression.

Fortunately, the pros of motherhood are what can help you deal with motherhood's cons. One of the best ways that mothers can reduce stress is to revel in the joy of motherhood—to really enjoy their kids and make the most of all the gifts and benefits that come with being a mother. Here are some important things to remember:​

Have Fun

Children bring a lot of responsibility, but they are experts at having fun. Whether it’s a toddler reveling in the wonder of the soap bubbles in the tub or a teen who is discovering the sheer joy of driving, your kids can supply you with numerous opportunities to take joy in the mundane activities you take for granted, and live each day to the fullest. Seeing the world through their eyes and experiencing things from a fresh perspective can help you to enjoy the world around you in a fresh way.

This is obvious in the major milestones your kids may cross, such as learning to walk, or the special "firsts" like seeing snow for the first time. However, there are many other more mundane aspects of your children's experience that can be special as well, like seeing them play a game for the first time, discover how to cook new foods (even when it's something as commonplace as grilled cheese), or show you a new way of thinking that you may not have been aware of before.

Having fun together can multiply the pleasure you would normally find in any activity.

Each Age Has Its Gifts

It can be stressful dealing with the tantrums, the busy-ness, and the negatives of each age, but every age brings its own gifts as well. When your toddler smears applesauce (or something worse!) on the walls the minute you turn your back to answer the phone, it’s easy to wish you could fast-forward time to a day when you don’t need eyes in the back of your head. But remembering all that you’d miss—the cute way they call ice cream ‘kreshrame’, or the way their eyes light up as a dump truck passes on the freeway—can stop those thoughts in their tracks, and return you to a more serene place.

Remember That Time Flies

While it can be overwhelming dealing with the needs of an infant or the demands of a toddler, and the clock can seem to stand still when you’re in the throes of potty training, realize that you’ll be amazed by how quickly it all passed when it’s over. And once it’s gone—it’s gone!

Imagine the future you​ are looking back on these days with nostalgia, and keep in mind that they literally are numbered, and you’ll probably find your second wind, and with it, an extra dose of patience and good humor. They’re small for such a short time!

You Can Have It Your Way

One of the things that many women love about being mothers is that they get to relive their childhood—in a way. If you loved your childhood, you can enjoy giving your kids the same wonderful experiences you had, relishing not only their experiences but also your memories. If your childhood isn’t everything you wish it could have been, you can provide a better experience for your own kids, which can be a healing experience for you as well as a good one for them.

Don’t Forget Your Inner Child

You may find your playful qualities coming back as you enjoy the day as your children enjoy it, and develop a deeper sense of gratitude and wonder at life in general, as see the world through your kids’ eyes. Whether you’re relishing the beauty of a sunset, rediscovering the addictive fun of Yahtzee, or enjoying any of the parades of ‘firsts’ that starts in infancy and continues through the teenage years, you can learn to enjoy life all over again while your kids are learning for the first time.

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  1. Biaggi A, Conroy S, Pawlby S, Pariante CM. Identifying the women at risk of antenatal anxiety and depression: A systematic reviewJ Affect Disord. 2016;191:62-77. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2015.11.014