“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” Maya Angelou
After 22 years of being a busy Mum, a working Mum, an involved Mum, a helicopter Mum, a kind Mum, a nagging Mum, an insecure Mum and a taxi driver Mum, I am still asking myself: is there an easier and less complicated way to be a good Mum?
The answer is thankfully yes, there is a better way and I found it when I met Sarah – a self-proclaimed joyful mother. She actually said to me she was a “joyful mother” of 7 children. The fact that she had 7 children was amazing enough however what I also couldn’t get over was how fantastic she looked!
I wanted to know Sarah’s secret about how she managed to look so great and happy while being a mother to 7 children. Secretly I was hoping that she would turn out to be a Wonder Mother, who is so perfect that I wouldn’t even try to follow her advice.
Sarah is definitely not a wonder woman and as I got to know Sarah, I discovered that her secret for being not only a great mother but also a fantastic woman, is that she truly is a joyful mum, who loves her family and lives a happy and fulfilled life.
I now believe 100% that the secret to being a good mother is to choose to be a joyful mother. I also realise that it is hard for us to be great mothers all the time however by being joyful we can be good mothers most of the time.
With Sarah’s guidance I am working towards being a joyful mother which thankfully releases me from all the constraints of having to play all the other roles of motherhood – it can get exhausting trying to play out what I believe to be over 50 Mum roles.
As a joyful mother I get to play only one role. Life is simple, my parenting skills have improved and the husband and kids are happy! It’s a no brainer.
So what is it that makes being a joyful mother so appealing?
“A joyful mother will have sticky floors, dirty ovens and happy kids!” Unknown
Well, joyful mothers understand 10 things about being a mother that many others just don’t get.
If you are planning to become a joyful mother, then these 10 things that only joyful mothers understand, will give you a really good insight into the mind and life of a joyful mother. I guarantee that once you have read these 10 things there is no way you can do anything but become a joyful mother!
1. They understand that it is an impossible job to aim for perfection – so they don’t.
They aim to be the best mothers they can be, with imperfections and all. Perfection creates a huge distraction from the joy of being a mother – that’s why joyful mothers have no interest whatsoever in being perfect and everything to everyone.
A joyful mother would rather be a real mother,who does not get everything right all the time, than a super efficient perfect mother. Joyful mothers understand how important it is not to sweat the small stuff.
2. They will happily take time to be alone to revive and energise themselves.
Joyful mothers know how important it is for their families wellbeing and happiness for them to look after their spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well-being. Joyful mothers will happily and with no guilt take a time out from their families on a regular basis.
3. They understand the power of their intuition.
They trust and have faith in themselves and will act on their instinct. Joyful mothers use their intuition to guide them through the minefields of challenging times. A joyful mother will know immediately by looking at their child, if something is wrong. Joyful mothers focus on getting to know their children and they use this knowledge along with their intuition to support and parent their children.Advertising
They understand that their number one role is to be a parent to their child. There second role is to be their friend. Joyful mothers strive to build loving, respectful and happy relationships with their children.
4. They are not afraid to ask for help.
They understand that by asking for help, they enable themselves to be an even better mother. Joyful mothers are not hung up on the fact that they have to do everything for their children. They believe that it is “healthy role modelling” for their children to see that their mother is not perfect and that she will ask for help. By asking for help everyone in the family benefits – its a win – win situation and joyful mothers get that.
5. They understand the importance of letting go – so they do.
A joyful mother understands the reality of parenting and knows that there comes a time when their children leave home. A joyful mother will encourage and support her children to go out into the world and live their lives to the fullest. She also understands that her children need to be independent and will make mistakes, wrong decision or wrong choices in life.
She will not shelter her children from the reality of life. A joyful mother understands that her role as a parent, is to instil in her children the core values and behaviours that will keep them be accountable for their own life – their successes and their failures.
Joyful mothers trust their children and know that by letting them go, they will always come back to her because they love and respect her.
6. They understand how important it is to take care of relationships.
Joyful mothers value their relationships and will work hard to take care and nurture them. Joyful mothers in any relationship, with or without partners, will focus on ensuring that communication is flowing and conflict is resolved as quickly as possible.Advertising
A joyful mother does not like to have unresolved conflicts as it impacts on her role to be a good mother. A joyful mother is solution focused. She works hard to ensure that her children are able to manage and deal with conflict constructively.
A joyful mother understands how important it is for her children to experience “positive and healthy relationships” in their lives. She knows that these healthy relationships will lay the foundations for any future relationships her children will have.
7. They understand the value of friendship.
Friendships are highly valued by joyful mothers. Having friends is a way for a joyful mother to stay sane and feel connected to people who are going through the same things as she does. It is good to be surrounded by your comrades in arms!
Friendships allow you to let off steam, get advice from like-minded people, have fun, relax and laugh. Joyful mothers know what to look for in a friend and will also be a very loyal and supportive friend themselves.
8. They understand how important it is to forgive.
Joyful mothers are able to forgive themselves and others. They love their children unconditionally and one of the gifts of unconditional love is forgiveness.
It is a challenging role being a parent and joyful mothers. But they do not hide away from the pain and hardship that can come with parenting. They accept that they will make mistakes and that their children will also make mistakes – however it is forgiveness towards themselves and others that keeps joyful mothers emotionally strong and resilient.
9. They love to laugh.
Joyful mothers understand the immense happiness laughter can bring to their families and to their own lives – so they laugh a lot.Advertising
Joyful mothers make a conscious effort to find things in their lives that they are grateful for and they choose to be joyful every day. Gratitude and happiness are daily habits joyful mothers religiously practise.
Playing,cuddling and hugging their children even when they are adults, brings mothers great joy and happiness.
10. They understand how important it is to be a “Future Thinker”.
Joyful mothers plan for the future. They focus on raising their children to be future leaders and to be accountable for how they live their lives. A joyful mother always has a plan on how she can build her children into future leaders. She will not abandon that plan and succumb to social pressures. She knows her children really well, she listens to them and she encourages and supports them to be the “best people they can be”.
A joyful mother understands that her behaviours, actions and values have a huge influence on how her children live their future lives. She therefore chooses to live her life demonstrating the values, behaviours and actions of the leader she wants her children to be.
To be a joyful mother one has to wake up each day and choose to be joyful. It takes work, commitment and the desire to be the best mother you can be.
The thing about being a mother, is that you only get one shot at it and you want that one shot to be the “best one shot” ever.
By choosing to be a joyful mother you are definitely on the right path to being the “best mother in the whole world” for your children.
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us when adversity takes the place of prosperity when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” Washington Irving
Featured photo credit: Portrait of happy mother and baby playing outdoors via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on September 16, 2020
3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship
In helping many people solve their relationship woes, I am often asked for the signs of a good relationship.
Well, what’s fascinating about relationships is the dynamics of two individuals coming together and staying together amid an array of perceptions and misperceptions.
Our relationships are not only influenced by our current actions but also by our past relationships and the life experiences that we bring forward into the current relationship. How we deal with misperceptions and misunderstandings determines the strength and health of our relationship and the level of happiness we are able to experience.
Much of the subconscious programming that takes place throughout our life causes us to sabotage our happiness by preventing us from engaging effectively, especially when we become emotionally triggered.
These mostly unconscious “scripts,” which we tend to run on autopilot, include our thoughts, words, and actions that result from these. Some may even refer to them as “baggage.” While we can rewrite these scripts and stop them from contaminating our relationships, we only become aware of them when we are in an emotionally empowered state.
So, what are the signs of a good relationship?
It boils down to these four essential requirements:
- Emotional empowerment
- Aligned attraction
- Sexual functioning
- You and your partner
While we can take it upon ourselves to develop as an individual, a strong and healthy relationship results from both personal growth and teamwork with our partner in order to resolve any problems.
Let’s take a look at how we can do this.
1. Emotional Empowerment
A clear sign of a good relationship is that both partners stay focused on what they want to create and how they want to feel. It can be too easy to blame our partner when we’re not feeling good about ourselves or somewhat overwhelmed with the curveballs that life seems to throw at us continually.
You may have heard of the saying, “Making mountains out of molehills.” When we’re not in charge of our emotional state, that’s precisely what we do!
Someone also said, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Our words and the emotional power behind them are either being constructive or destructive in our relationships.
By trying to override your emotions and dredging up past situations, you may blow a current situation entirely out of context, keep retriggering yourself and your partner, and prevent essential issues from being resolved. Aside from that, it makes you feel disconnected.
As a reminder, allowing yourself to indulge in petty annoyances and sarcastic comments will likely drive a wedge between you and your partner. So, is that worth your attention?
When we focus on what we don’t want, we continually default to the old subconscious programming cultivated from our life experiences. These “scripts” can become self-destructive when expressed through negative rumination and self-talk or critical observations of our partner, rather than being the fun, uplifting, and naturally motivating partner that they fell in love with.
Many couples start competing against each other when they are emotionally triggered instead of supporting each other to create the best outcome. While we can quickly become obsessed with being right (or not being wrong), it’s essential to stay present, focus on how we want to feel, and align our words and actions toward that outcome.
Couples who enjoy a strong and healthy relationship consciously monitor their emotional states and can therefore influence the impact of their verbal and non-verbal communication in a positive manner. This offers a long-term benefit of enhancing their overall desire to be together and connect on more intimate levels.
2. Attraction in Alignment
Known as the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin doesn’t just play an important role in intimacy. In truth, it’s also vital for increasing trust and attraction between two people. Synthesized in the human brain when you trust someone, the oxytocin molecule also motivates reciprocation.
We’re living in an age where an individual’s independence is ruling the day, and the social codes of chivalry have become sadly redundant. However, it’s never a good time to become complacent in how we interact with each other and in respecting the environment we share.
According to Paul Zak, a neuroscientist and researcher at Claremont Graduate University, oxytocin is generated in the brain only after some concrete event or action, such as someone making way for you in the street.
“When someone does something nice for you such as holding a door, your brain releases oxytocin, and it down-regulates the appropriate fear you have of interacting with strangers.” — Paul Zak
Suddenly, you feel like the person in front of you is not a threat. Then, according to Zak, this feeling disappears quickly for a good reason,
“If you just had high levels of oxytocin, you would be giving away resources to every stranger on the street. So, this is a quick on/off system.”
This has important implications for those in a relationship. Zak says:
“If you treat me well, in most cases my brain will synthesize oxytocin and this will motivate me to treat you well in return.”
In a relationship, our actions and behaviors are either attracting or repelling our partner. This is especially true when we have conflicting values. Common conflicting values include personal hygiene, health and fitness, and general tidiness.
It’s important to know and respect what’s important to our partner. After all, one of the real signs of a good relationship is having the desire to continually step up and live your “A” game. When our partner takes the time to communicate something important to them, we need to acknowledge that it’s essential to keep a relationship long-term.
While we like to think that our partner will be attracted to us no matter what, this is not realistic at all. “A” is for attraction, and we need to keep attracting our partner instead of being lazy and pretending we can get away with unappealing or inappropriate behaviors.
Any unresolved issue can build up resentment and undermine the quality of a relationship. However, the thought of approaching a challenging topic can increase stress and anxiety to the point where it is nearly impossible to clearly communicate the problem without it sounding like an accusation or blame.
Due to the fear of retriggering our partner by bringing up the same topic repeatedly, we often delay dealing with the issues that are of utmost importance to us. Over time, it can result in frustration, annoyance, and disconnection. We are sentient beings, so this type of emotional resistance can often be felt by the other person.
Furthermore, we usually communicate a part of a request out loud and then complete the reasoning behind it internally. Unfortunately, our partner doesn’t hear this internal monologue, so they have no idea about the extent or importance of our need. Therefore, many problems aren’t fully discussed, and the main issue remains unresolved.
“Prolonged stress and anxiety are like poison to oxytocin,” Paul Zak said. The underlying biological hypothesis is that stress — particularly the type that does not have a clear ending point — inhibits oxytocin release.
In a healthy relationship, both partners can retain the desire to step up and continue to attract each other through verbal and non-verbal communication. Try remembering the following:
- Every person has their own preference for how things are done, so effective communication requires actively listening as well as clearly communicating your needs.
- Before talking about an important matter, make sure you have your partner’s full attention. Then, try to keep your words focused in the here and now.
- Instead of rehashing a similar experience from your past for context and risking triggering each other emotionally, get to the point and explain what you want at once. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, try starting a request with “I like it when…” or “It makes me feel…” You may also ask, “How can we work together to create a win-win situation?”
- If something is important enough for your partner to mention out loud, then you must respect, consider, and adhere to it whenever possible. For example, if a partner is brave enough to open up about their need for sexual intimacy to feel more connected, it may be an issue that needs to be addressed in your relationship.
According to psychiatrist and Emory University professor Larry Young, increased intimacy can strengthen your connection as a couple, especially when you combine it with other rewarding experiences that get your brain’s reward system going.
Verbally appreciate your partner’s effort in supporting your needs and make sure to retain your individuality and interests outside the relationship to keep your mutual attraction.
3. Sexual Function
Sex is the one thing that differentiates a strong, healthy relationship from a platonic friendship. Sexual intimacy is one of the most important signs of a good relationship and has often been described as the glue that holds a relationship together.
Sexual intimacy allows two people who seek the ultimate connection with each other to come together. However, intimacy problems can lead to separation, loneliness, and disconnection — feelings that can eventually tear a relationship apart.
Unfulfilling sex leads to an increase in stress hormones which results in a lowered libido as sexual intimacy becomes a souce of discomfort on all levels. A common cause of a low libido is, for example, sexual function issues such as early ejaculation and erectile dysfunction challenges in men; and orgasmic dysfunction for women. An unwanted sexual technique such as hard and fast or constant changes of position can also be off-putting.
While work stress, children rearing, and communication issues can all lower your libido and affect your overall desire for sex, a sexless marriage or relationship is not favorable for the vast majority of couples long-term.
One of the most important things for women in a relationship is to experience a sense of connection or feel loved and close to their partner. But this is where things can become tricky pretty quickly, considering women naturally have much higher levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin than men. For men, higher levels of oxytocin are generated through intimate connections.
What is the takeaway here, you may ask? Our hormones influence our behaviors, and oxytocin is said to be responsible for allowing us to experience love. In reality, studies have also shown that oxytocin can even work as the brain’s “moral molecule.” The more intimate moments we have, the more our bodies release the said hormone.
This is especially important for a male to feel more connected and attentive toward his partner. Research indicates that a man who is often sexually intimate with his beloved can produce increased levels of oxytocin. In turn, it boosts his desire to hold and connect with his partner and stimulate positive social interaction.
A positive sign of a strong and healthy relationship is both partners’ desire to be intimate with each other. If either of the partners has little or no desire for initiating intimacy, then they need to address the issues mentioned in this article to restore intimacy in order to enjoy a truly fulfilling partnership.
The most important sign of being in a strong and healthy relationship is that you feel happy within yourself and in your connections.
While it’s not always possible to stay happy and connected with someone, ensuring that you are emotionally aligned with yourself and aware of your partner’s needs will go a long way to guarantee the health and longevity of your relationship.
After all, compelling narratives also cause oxytocin release and can affect your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
More on Maintaining a Healthy Relationship
- 21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work
- This Is What Being In A Relationship Really Means
- 11 Signs That You Two Are in a Committed Relationship
Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com
|||^||Startsat60: The hidden intimacy killer damaging your relationship|
|||^||NCBI: Why Inspiring Stories Make Us React: The Neuroscience of Narrative|
|||^||Mates Cafe: Being Powerfully Attractive Means Living Your “A” Game|
|||^||Time: How Oxytocin Makes Men (Almost) Monogamous|
|||^||End the Problem: What Causes Lack of Libido in Men and Women?|
|||^||NCBI: The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor|