Being a parent is hard, and it’s overwhelming. Between running three kids to soccer, dance, art class, baseball, preschool, and first grade, keeping up with laundry and dishes, running three businesses, and still finding time to have fun, I don’t know how I keep my sanity!

Before I had kids, I dreamed of snuggling squishy babies and playing with blocks and Barbies all day. Some days I can’t figure out what happened to my plan. And other days, my kids are so whiny; I forget all the things that make being a mother so awesome.

On those days, I’m not the happiest mom I could be. I know what will make me a happier mom. I just need to get better about doing those things consistently! So, here’s a reminder for me (and you!).

Six things you can do to be a happier parent. (And the best part is you can start today!)

1. Quit beating yourself up.

Let’s face it, on any given day, you’re likely to beat yourself up for not being the perfect parent. I know, I do it ALL THE TIME. And the worst part is I know I’m a good mom. I do. And odds are you know that you’re a good parent too. So, repeat after me “I am a good parent!” And let’s make a deal: From here on out, let’s all stop beating ourselves up for not being perfect. Our kids don’t need us to be perfect. They just need us to be there and love them. As soon as you let go of trying to do it all and embrace who you are and what you can do, you’ll be much happier. I promise!

2. Make time to connect with each of your kids.

The truth is most of us are overworked and overscheduled. It’s just the way life is these days. We’re busy. But just because we’re busy doesn’t mean we can’t make time for our kids. What we do day in and day out with our kids is shaping the culture of our family. Make sure you’re making that time to connect with each one of your kids on a daily basis. There are many simple ideas you can use to connect with your kids. This could be snuggling in the morning, playing catch after school, or sharing a bedtime snack and talking about your day.

3. Take care of yourself.

Okay, now I know this one sounds a little crazy, but stick with me here. I know that I am the happiest mom I can be when I am well rested. Take the time you need each day to get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and do something that fulfills you. When we make ourselves a priority, we give ourselves the ability to be a happy (and patient!) parent to our kids.

4. Focus on the positive.

Some days, it seems like nothing is going right. We’re running late to soccer because we can’t find somebody’s cleats, or we realize at breakfast time that we ran out of milk. Just remember you can choose to let go of the negative things and focus on the positive. Not only will you be happier when you embrace the silver lining, but you’ll teach your kids a valuable lesson as well.

5. Remember the happy times.

One of the main reasons we started our blog (and definitely the reason I love going back and reading old posts) was to help us remember the happy times. Any time we’re feeling down about anything, we hop on the internet, pull up our blog, and start flipping through the thousands of pictures of our family loving life. It’s a great reminder that, even when things aren’t going our way, we do have a pretty darn good life and three awesome kids that we love! Make it easy to remember your own happy times by keeping photo albums or scrapbooks in a handy place.

6. Ditch the chores.

It’s a fact of life the less time you spend doing chores, the more time you get to spend with your family. So, let the laundry pile up for a day or two, skip vacuuming for today, and see if you can get by on just one trip to the grocery store this week. Now, we know you can’t put off chores forever, but sometimes, it’s okay to let things slide a little so you can spend more time with the people you love. If you can afford to hire a housekeeper or a lawn service, do it. The time you’ll get back with your family will more than make up for the money you spend. And if it’s not in the budget, figure out a way to make your household chores super efficient and quick so that you can get some time back. I promise you that spending more time with your family will make you a happier parent. I’m definitely happier when I’m playing with my kids and letting someone else scrub my toilets!

Josh and Jenny Solar created The Happy Family Movement to encourage family togetherness and memorable family experiences through simple ideas for happy family living. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter.