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10 Realistic Ways to start to Enjoy Life with Kids (+ parenthood and happiness statistics)

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If you have little kids, you will most likely have been told by at least one person that you should enjoy your kid now. Enjoy life with kids while they are little because they will grow up and you will see so little of them. Enjoy your kid now? What if you are struggling to enjoy your motherhood journey?

In this article, you will find some tips on how to enjoy your child now. To start with, we will consider the three main things to stop and do when you realize you are not really enjoying your kid.

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What to do when you do not enjoy your life with kids

Your journey through parenthood will not always be smooth. Sometimes you might find that you are enjoying your child very much.

  1. Acknowledge and accept the way you feel

It is not the end of the world to face the fact that you do not entirely feel joy at the prospect of spending time with your child. Acknowledge and accept that life with kids is not always going to be fun. It is not unusual to feel the way that you feel.

  1. Try to understand why you feel the way you do

It is helpful to also try to drill down into the why of the way you feel. What reasons can you think of that stop you from enjoying your child? Is it your child’s temperament? Is parenting just not what you hoped it would be? Are you too tired to enjoy the time you spend with your kids?

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  1. Remember that things change

Before you get too down on yourself, remember that nothing stays the same. Everything changes – from you and your family situation to your child as well. Any reasons you come up with for not enjoying your motherhood journey will change too.

Is it normal to not like your child?

To some extent, yes. It is normal to dislike some things that your child does. It is normal to not enjoy your motherhood journey at some points because you are so exhausted and sleep deprived. It is also normal to feel like you need a break from your child. 

It is not normal to wish that your child did not exist. Neither is it normal to feel like you hate your child. Those are extreme feelings that need immediate investigation. You may need to separate yourself from your child for a while in order to assess your feelings. You may also need to bring in a professional third party to ensure the safety of both your child and yourself. 

If you do not believe your feelings to be quite so extreme, perhaps you just need more help with enjoying life with your kids. 

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How to enjoy your child now

  1. Manage your expectations

Let go of all the preconceptions you had about life with kids and parenthood in general. Parenthood does not always feel like the best hood! Do not let the movies you watched and the books you read about perfect kids get to you. No kid is perfect so you should not expect your kids to be. Neither is any parent-child relationship perfect. Do not expect yours to be.

  1. Be positive

Once you acknowledge that things cannot be perfect at all times, it is important to look on the bright side. Recognize the positives and always hope for the best when it comes to your kids. Know that expecting the worst will, most likely, lead to your expectations becoming a reality. 

  1. Pick your battles

Do not make a task or mission out of every little issue. Learn to let things go. The house cannot be spotless all the time and your kid cannot use their inside voice all the time. Pick out a few specific things that are very important to you and will make a big difference to your child’s life and insist on only those. Stressing about everything else means not having enough time or energy to enjoy your kid now.

  1. Get to know your kid the way you would a friend

The aim is to be a parent not a friend. That is a completely different role. However, you might need some elements of a good friendship in your parent-child relationship in order to enjoy your kid. From when your kids are able to communicate, you can try to get to know them as individuals rather than just as kids. Figure out their likes and dislikes and what makes them happy.

  1. Focus on their strengths

No matter how unhappy you are with something your kid does, you will still be able to list at least three things about them that make them awesome. Focus on those things when you are having difficult moments with them. They will help you to overlook or at least tolerate your kid’s behaviour in the moment.

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  1. Ask for and accept help

Do not be shy to ask for help with your kid from people that you can trust. Also, when offered help, do not be embarrassed to accept it. Getting help does not make you any less of a good parent. In fact, when you are struggling the most in your motherhood journey and not enjoying life with kids, one of the best things you can do is have a break from your kids, no matter how short the break.

  1. Show love

Sometimes, it is when your kid is most frustrating that you need to show them the most love. Their acting out could be a cry for attention. You also need to show them that no matter how badly they behave or how bad of a mood you are in, you will always love them. Without letting them walk all over you, make sure they know you are always there for them.

  1. Set yourself up for success

Be conscious of the things, people and situations that make it difficult for you to enjoy your relationship with your kids. Avoid those situations, things and people as much as you possibly can.

  1. Do not forget self-care

You cannot enjoy any aspect of your life if you are exhausted and make no time for yourself and the things that you like to do to relax.

  1. Therapy 

Sometimes it will take help from a therapist or counsellor to really put a finger on why your motherhood journey feels so tough thus far. When you are in the midst of a difficult time, it is hard to see clearly. That is when a therapist or counsellor might be useful to ask you the right questions and help you to navigate your way to enjoying life with your kids.

If you do not already have kids, reading this might make you wonder if you can be happy with kids. Yes, of course you can. Some people even think their lives with kids are happier than when they had no kids. 

Will I be happier with kids?

Maybe. It is possible that having kids will give you the motivation you need to make your life a success so that you can give them a great life.

However, having kids can also make your life miserable if you are unprepared to have them. There are several ways to figure out if this is the right time in your life for kids and whether yourself and your partner are ready for them. 

Go through my workbook for couples considering having a baby together

Having a child, especially a baby, can drastically turn your world around. If you are not ready for it, it could be a negative change. 

Of course, if all you have desired for a long time is to become a mom, the chances are that you will find joy in the experience regardless of what comes your way. 

I asked 123 moms on Facebook whether becoming parents had made them happier or not. See the result of their responses in the pie chart below.

Parenthood & happiness statistics – Facebook poll results

In considering the chart, bear in mind that the results might have been different if fathers had responded. The question was only posed to moms. Also, keep in mind that you do not know the backgrounds of any of the respondents in relation to lifestyle or age they became moms, for example.

RELATED: The right age to have kids

However, when you consider that all those moms probably come from very different backgrounds, the fact that over 80% of them believed they were happier with kids is probably all the more significant.

From the graph, you could conclude that regardless of your background as a mom, you are likely to be happier with kids.

Why is being a parent so hard?

The answer to this depends on each individual’s situation. Life with kids is not always so difficult. Being a parent is getting harder and harder these days for various reasons though. See some of them in this article:

READ: 5 Reasons why parenting is so hard nowadays

Why is parenting harder nowadays
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