How to be a Happy Parent

Making Parents Happy: Acceptance

By Michelle Ghilotti Mandel 

Although 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 a piece of the contentment puzzle for parents).

Another way to look at acceptance or to recognize we need to practice it more often is to ask if we need to let go more. We hear wheels spinning, head nodding… 

Do you need to let go more?

Where in your life could you let go, starting tomorrow morning or better yet ~ after this article?

The first step is always… deciding you need a change. Deciding you need to accept more, regret less. Time is truly a finite commodity. Many of us had children and started families to increase not decrease our happiness. As Gretchen Rubin said in the Happiness Project, “The days are long but the years are short.”

Let’s accept more, breathe lighter.

Then use your mind. It’s yours to train! (I find this to be party-throwing worthy.)

You might not have control of sleeping through the night, how many greens your kids really eat while away at grandma’s or have control over their passions (C’s are not the end of the world in Math) BUT you can control your thoughts.

That’s the huge secret that’s not a secret: You have control over your thoughts.

So let’s get into it…

Here are some ways to use that mind to accept more and therefore increase the enjoyment of parenthood more, day by day:

1) Replace the negative thought with a more positive one. It works. When you feel a negative thought coming, see it for what it is then, in that very moment, replace it with a more positive one.

2) Standing “meditation” – We could all stand to meditate. Every morning, in the shower:

Meditation in the shower. Great way to start & end your day.

• Ask yourself what one thing you’re grateful for, try and come up with a new “thing” each morning before starting your day. While the water runs, let what you’re thankful for seep into your being. It might sound small but this is taking control of your life in a conscious manner. You’ll begin to feel safer letting go in your life as a parent because you  realize there is so much more to life than holding onto certain expectations or controlling “every little thing.”

• Then, before stepping out, ask yourself what you can accept more of today than yesterday? It’s a journey, and the only thing we are expected to do is our best – so let’s put our intention out there.

Great thing about this shower exercise is it doesn’t add any more time to your routine,  and it truly does start out your day in a most mindful way.

2) Exercise your right to use single-pointed phrases (mantras, Momtras, Dadtras) that aid you in switching the focus. Sometimes that’s all we need. And repetition is key… when you repeat something it grows from a seed, into a thought then action, then habit…

We’ve given you Momtras/Dadtras before in the Parenting Series and this time is no different…

Today’s Momtra/Dadtra: I release control. Time is a finite commodity. (say it 3 times).

Three times is a great start but you can repeat as much as you need to hone in your focus.  Please note you can repeat your Momtra/Dadtras anywhere, either quietly to yourself in a SUV packed with kids or by yourself while out for a walk, run or at yoga.

Feel free to be green and re-use the Momtra above time and time again. Lastly, we empower you to create Momtras/Dadtras for yourself (please share them with all of us here at Happiness Series. They’re magical, and no one knows the Momtras/Dadtras you need more than you. Remember, you are what you repeat.

For more examples of Momtras for use today or tomorrow and for inspiration, please visit http://howtobeawalkingmomtra.wordpress.com/.

Here’s to stretching our happiness in parenthood! Happy Showering.


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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: http://howtobeawalkingmomtra.wordpress.com/) and is a guest blogger for Happiness Series, the Elephant Journal, tinybuddha.com and the powermob.com. 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!

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  1. […] through acceptance By Michelle Ghilotti Mandel Hello Happiens. We talked about acceptance the last couple posts. And though I planned for this article to be about a different topic surrounding parenthood I am […]