Happy baby, happy momma.
It’s a phrase you hear people say a lot. It’s also a guiding light for us here at Kiss Kiss Goodnight, a nod to the fact that both baby and momma’s happiness are important. It speaks to the duality of our products– we are all about nighttime skincare for both baby and mom.
Flip the phrase around and you’ll see a happy momma comes before a happy baby, not the other way around. This is not just self-help mumbo jumbo, there is actual science that proves our happiness matters.
Here’s what it says, in simple terms:
Your children– even newborns– are influenced by your mood.
Dora Wang, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine points to compelling research that shows your behavior, moods and parenting style has an impact on your child’s temperament.
In other words, it’s not just genetics that influences your child’s budding personality. This is even true for babies, who imitate their parent’s emotions, which affects neural pathways in their brains. We wire our babies to be predisposed to smiling easier, or frowning more. They’re learning it all from us.
“From birth, infants pick up on emotional cues from others. Even very young infants look to caregivers to determine how to react to a given situation,” reports Jennifer E. Lansford, PhD, a professor at Duke University.
Whether you’re stressed or happy, your baby notices. It’s easy to think that they’re too young to catch on to your emotions, but it’s not as much a conscious perception as a biological response.
One bad day is not going to cause your baby to grow up riddled with negativity. While babies pick up on what’s happening around them, day by day, it takes long-term influence to make a lasting effect.
If you noticed that you have more “bad” days than good ones, use this a reminder to make self-care a priority. If you’ve noticed that you have stopped pursuing the things that make you happy, know that it really DOES matter.
Here’s are three ways to take meaningful action to be the happy momma you want to be.
1. Think about what being a good mom means to you.
Seriously, write it down. Then look back over your answer and see if it reflects how you really live. Notice if any of the things you wrote require you to sacrifice your happiness, interests or goals, or if they can be achieved anyway.
In Breaking the Good Mom Myth: Every Mom’s Modern Guide to Getting Past Perfection, Regaining Sanity, and Raising Great Kids, author Alyson Schafer talks about how “the acts of self-sacrificing mothers” are so often praised.
“It’s hard to look after our own needs when our culture so reveres the acts of self-sacrificing mothers. Just watch the admiring expressions on people’s faces when they hear the family folklores of how Grandma ‘never bought anything for herself,’ how she ‘always made sure the children had enough,’ and how she often ‘went without’ to provide for them.”
Is this true in your family or culture? It’s a pervasive theme in motherhood, and it’s time to recognize that it doesn’t have to be true. Mom’s happiness matters.
2. Make a list of the things that make you happy.
Think of both big things (girls’ weekends and spa days) and little things (fresh flowers and hot coffee). How many of these things are you allowing yourself on a regular basis?
If you aren’t incorporating what makes you happy into your average week, make a plan to start. It won’t be the same as it was pre-kids, but it’s doable with a little planning!
The reward is sweeter knowing that what you do for you, you do for your entire family. Plus, giving yourself something to look forward to– even just a Starbucks caramel macchiato– will boost your happiness.
3. Ask for regular, everyday help.
This is a big one for moms everywhere, especially new moms.
If you feel unhappy and you don’t know how to get back to happy, ask for help. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you– in fact, around 15% of women suffer from some form of postpartum depression. Estimates are that many more women go undiagnosed. Getting help is the best thing you can do for everyone.
There’s another kind of help women are slow to ask for. Regular, every day help. Things like having the time to take a shower, or getting out of the house and wandering around Target alone. Whatever you need for, ask. Your partner, friends and family won’t always know what you need, but they’re likely willing to give it to you once you ask.
Remember: getting help doesn’t make you any less of a mom. In fact, it can make you a better one.
A happy momma is an empowered momma.
The happy momma, happy baby connection isn’t about guilt. It’s about empowerment. Doing what makes you happy is one of the most important things you can focus on throughout motherhood.
Start taking care of yourself now, happy momma.
At Kiss Kiss Goodnight, we know how deeply mommas love. We also know that, by the end of the day, all momma wants is a sleepy baby and a few moments to herself. Our nighttime skincare transforms chore-like, nighttime routines into experiential and feel-good, nighttime rituals. You can shop our award-winning mom and baby skincare line here.