In my many years as a director in early childhood settings, I have been privileged to build meaningful and trusting relationships with hundreds, if not thousands of mothers. Several years ago, there was a particular week that stood out to me. In 5 days, four mothers – different in every way – each shared one thing in common; feelings of depression, sadness, loneliness and fear. Two were in tears. One was prescribed anti-depressants.  This is not uncommon. Working closely with mothers for over two decades, has allowed me an outsiders analysis of the feelings associated with parenting. Guilt, exhaustion & loneliness to name a few.

After listening to these women and providing what comfort I could, I continued to think of them.

I continue to think of them and the other mothers whom I have not met, yet who I know feel these emotions too.

Combining my parenting experiences, observations of mothers and discussions with other women, I have evaluated 5 elements that, when not incorporated into your life,  reduce feelings of joy. If you’re not feeling as content and happy as you know you could, this may be why.

  1. You don’t know yourself anymore. Yes you’re ‘mum’, but that is only one component of your identity. What makes your heart sing, and your soul come alive? What do you love (besides sleep, a peaceful shower and your children, of course!) Your authentic self may be lying dormant. Search for her again and welcome her back into your days.
  2. You are not aligned with your values. What is really important to you? Do you know, or are you so used to pleasing everyone else, or running on auto-pilot, you haven’t a clue what you value? Discover what matters to you and you will notice a massive shift in happiness.
  3. Your environment does not support you. This could be the people in your life, your routine, your surroundings or aesthetics, to name a few. Find what brings you …. (fill in the blank with your own desire: peace, fun, clarity etc) and incorporate it any way you can every day.
  4. Your focus is bringing you down! Your attention is on negative, unresourceful thinking which is doing the opposite to inspiring you and bringing you joy. Turn on your mental torch and look for EVERYTHING you can be grateful for.
  5. You are unconsciously getting your needs met in unsupportive ways. Think about how you get attention or acknowledgement. Do you need to be sick, or angry for people to notice you? Does your child need to be the worst behaved or maybe the most talented for you to feel like you have anything to talk to others about? Maybe you’re the martyr who does everything for everyone else, with little thanks? I know this is a hard area to consider, but the self-awareness that comes with personal reflection is invaluable.


Raise yourself above the mediocrity of life and live it fully. Think about your choices and actions and be the best version of you possible. Find the joy, otherwise, what’s the alternative?

Best wishes,