Balance in Parenting

Making Parents Happy, The Parenting Series

By Michelle Ghilotti Mandel


What makes parents un-happy?

Last on the Parenting Series we shared with you this New York Times article stating parents were un-happier than their non-parent peers; the truth is there are various pieces of research from around the globe stating parents are not particularly giddy about the bundles of joy in their lives. No matter your opinion on the topic we could all probably agree parents deserve happiness.

So what gives; what makes so many parents unhappy? Expectations?

I’d say yes.

Is it our very human and, in many ways, “normal” inability to accept what is? Always wanting to push our edge, be better (expect more), and maybe even peering too far over into someone else’s yard at times?


Can we learn to accept what lies in the present moment more so we may enjoy “everything else” more? 

(Sounds delicious to me…) Yes.

Simply deciding, with a conscious mind and a brave heart, to accept more and expect less, or  to detach, is the first step to more peace and happiness. Deciding is the first step to more happiness…

No matter the everyday situation ~ a sick child (or three) at home; a terrible two’s toddler throwing a fit (or high schooler throwing one); the stress of saving for college (or welcome to California, maybe kindergarten); receiving the “Sorry, I have to cancel” call from the sitter ~ practicing acceptance of who and what lies in front of us is emPOWERing. The more you practice this the more powerful you become.

Accepting what is of our daily moments with little humans also allows us to move with the river that is life versus creating walls around it. This is what it means to be in your flow. What if we really could be more like water, we would  become more peaceful, happier parents?

And the benefits of true acceptance continue…

Acceptance enables us to shift into recognizing the countless other things that are so wonderfully present in our lives. What is not going “right” will always attempt to take center stage but we have the choice to first accept what has happened then look left or right to see all that is tipping the scale the other way.

This is another example of what we mean when we discuss active participation. Choosing, deciding, changing our focus…

Probably one of the easiest way to stretch our parental happiness is to recognize the things we find sitting left and right of what’s center stage to feed us. “The little things” add up, just ask your kids.

I have suffered countless moments of non-acceptance as a parent. You too? Oh good, I feel better.

I’ve also had a long list of expectations set on myself; some very helpful, hopeful even, and others not helpful or hopeful at all. I’ve also held expectations over my son, specifically as it relates to a sleep disorder he’s had since he was two months old (cause, diagnosis, and “fix” unknown).  Expectations that tomorrow night he wouldn’t have an episode, that next month it might mysteriously disappear just as it had mysteriously appeared.

I probably don’t have to tell you the four years spent willing this thing outside all of our control to go away were futile. I probably also don’t have to tell you it was to the detriment of my peace and happiness.

Acceptance was my key.

And I’ve unlocked more happiness in the last year and a half.

If I could inspire you as a parent today, in this very moment, it would be to accept more and stretch your happiness and that of your kids more.

And just in case, you’re one of the happy ones tipping the scale don’t just write the New York Times telling them the studies are wrong, share with us and other parents out there what some of your happy in parenting tips or thoughts are. It takes a village…

Until next time, enjoy using this Momtra™/Dadtra on a regular basis: Let go. Accept more. (3x)

Parenting Series Creative Tip : Write the Momtra™/Dadtra [Let go; Accept more] on a post-it.  Fold. Tuck into the pocket of your wallet you check most often. Remember, practice is key – as are gentle reminders ;-).

Acceptance is not only a divine release but a solid choice ~

how to be a walking Momtra™.


Filed Under: Blogs


About the Author: Michelle Ghilotti Mandel is a writer, certified yoga teacher and graphic designer running her own heartful design and branding studio, ghilotti ink, for over 10 years. Michelle is writing the how to be a walking Momtra book (blog: and is a guest blogger for Happiness Series, the Elephant Journal, and the When she’s not grooving with any of the above, she is running (usually to yoga), sleeping on the Great Wall of China, becoming an expert in expat living and, surprisingly, not making many other plans. She keeps a 5 x 4 foot canvas entitled “The Things that Make Me Happy,” which she is happy to announce will never be finished. She lives in Los Angeles with her five year old son and husband. Michelle’s blogging for Happiness Series about Happiness, Motherhood, finding a balance in life, and having fun!



  1. […] we discussed acceptance in the last Parenting Series post, the truth is we could discuss variations on the acceptance theme every post (it’s that big […]

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