“Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.” – http://www.jessicalynette.com

Motherhood is messy.

It’s waking up at 3 am with your screaming newborn and soothing them until they fall asleep again. It’s spending time cooking dinner for the family and hearing “I don’t want to eat this” from each of them and making PB&J sandwiches so they will at least eat something. It’s taking more time than necessary in the bathroom so you can have some alone time. (I have done this, so many times!)

Motherhood is counting down until bedtime and then marveling at how beautiful these little humans are once they are fast asleep. It’s not knowing how you will make it another day but somehow, doing it again and again. It’s smiling even when you want to cry and staying even when you want to quit.

For me, motherhood has always been an up and down roller coaster. There are some days where I feel so unbelievably blessed and content with being a mom. Other days, I am frustrated, impatient and feel like I am drowning.

On those dark days, it is so hard to find the joy in motherhood. It is so hard to find the good in those messy moments.

But if you stop, if you are still for a few moments, you can find it. I promise you, it is there. There is always joy in even the worst of days. 

5 Ways To Find Joy In The Dark And Messy Days Of Motherhood

As my daughter has gotten older, I still can’t believe she is 6 years old and will be turning 7 so soon, it hits me more now than ever that these days are fleeting. Before I know it, this little girl who I love more than life itself, will leave home and I will wish I could relive these days all over again. Yes, even the dark days.

I am trying to be more intentional with my little one. I am trying to find the joy. Here are five small things I have been doing to find the good and the happy in this motherhood journey.

1. Play.

Get on the floor with your little ones. Especially in those moments when the last thing you want to do is play with Barbies, do it. So many times I find myself disengaged from my daughter when she asks me to play because I have so many other things that need to get done.

But lately, I have been saying “yes.” Even if I am frustrated. Even if the dishes are overflowing in the sink. Even if your to-do list is a mile long. I have been making so many memories with my daughter and she has been so happy to see me play. The smile on her face says it all.

2. Let It All Go.

Seriously. Just let it go. Let go of the expectations and get off Google. Stop looking at all of the perfect crafts on Pinterest and stop scrolling through those impeccable photos on Instagram. Because you know what? These things are stealing your joy.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Allow your life, your children and your experience to be just that, yours. Let the rest go.

3. Pay Attention To The Little Things.

The smiles and the morning hugs. The way your child’s face lights up when you walk in the room and the love in your daughter’s eyes when she looks at you. These little things mean everything. They make every long and frustrating day worth it.

But, if you don’t stop and pay attention, you will miss them. Try to take some time each day to really look at your kids and take it all in. Every tiny detail of these beautiful and messy moments of motherhood. The joy you will find, is indescribable.

4. Focus On The Good.

Even in the darkest moments, there is something good to be cherished. It may seem impossible to find, trust me some days I just can’t seem to find the good, but try and focus your energy on finding it. Finding that little sliver of happiness and light in your day. Praise your little ones for listening or playing nicely together. Smile when you catch your son dancing to a song on the radio or your daughter singing in the shower.

Here is where you will find joy.

5. Start Each Day With A Clean Slate.

Finish your day and be done with it. So today was a rough day. When you put the kids to bed, pour yourself some wine or some tea and let the day slip away. Just because today was full of trying moments, doesn’t mean tomorrow will be the same.

Wake up each morning with a brand new outlook and a clean slate. Don’t keep score of the bad moments. Let tomorrow be a new day and another chance to have a joyful and beautiful day.

I am learning that finding joy in the dark and messy days of motherhood is a choice. It is something you have to commit to and do every single day. Being a mom is the hardest job we will ever have but at the same time, it is such an honor to raise these little people.

Mama, I promise you if you look hard enough, you will find the joy. Now, go and love on those babies. XOXO