The last few months have made for some intense mothering moments, and with summer here, that “never doing enough” pressure is ever present.

My friend, Emily Orton, recently shared some advice that changed everything for me. She advised women to figure out what makes them feel successful in motherhood, and do more of it! Then, when night comes, instead of listing all the ways you fell short, reflect on how you built relationships in ways you love. This process has helped me find so much more contentment and joy in motherhood. I no longer let one bad exchange, too much screen time, my working hours or forgotten chores cloud all the good stuff. Perfection is not possible, and life is too short to constantly tally my failures.

The first step in this process was figuring out what makes me feel like a successful mom. It’s different for everyone, but I’ve nailed down what I know matters to me.

And so I make deliberate choices to make those things happen as often as possible. We get outside together; I take advantage of one on one time; I stay up later than I want to; we talk books and big ideas; I make dinner; I take care of myself spiritually so I can teach them; I play sports I am horrible at; we bake together; I get in the water (sometimes) I laugh at dumb memes; I cheer for them; and find ways we can serve together. I’m working on being present, REALLY present when these things are happening. Which usually means putting down my phone and living in the moment.

And the most beautiful part about this shift in thinking? I don’t have to do ALL those things ALL day or even ALL those things EVERY day. I still work and clean and talk on the phone, but I also make sure the good stuff happens, every day. And then I do my best to focus on those stellar motherhood moments, giving myself credit for the relationships I am nurturing and the memories we are making. Are there a million less than ideal times too? Of course, and I’m constantly trying to troubleshoot, but life is too short to focus on failures when instead I can focus on joy.

So, right now, I want you to do these things:

  1. List all the things that make you feel like a successful mother.
  2. List all the things that make you feel joy as a mother.
  3. Keep this list where you can see it, so you can remind yourself of what is truly most important.
  4. Do at least one of these things every day. In fact, start the day with one, so you can immediately call your day a success!
  5. When you do these things, be present so you really FEEL the joy and satisfaction of what you are doing.
  6. At the end of the day, don’t focus on what you didn’t do, but instead focus on how you were successful as a mom or how you felt joy that day.
  7. If it helps, jot it down in a notebook before bed and enjoy what you ARE doing instead of what you AREN’T.

I hope this process helps you re-frame motherhood and allows you to love it just a little more!