This Secret to Being a “Happy Mom” is Like a Lightning Bolt Straight From Heaven

The happy mom secret came to me from the unlikeliest of sorts– a dad.

It happened one night while I was standing in the hallway outside Little Boy’s room.

He’d been instructed to go to bed… and he didn’t.

First he went to his room and played. Then he came out of his room and played. Then he resisted further instruction to go back to bed and threw a fit instead. Even after discipline, the kid absolutely refused to go get in that bloomin’ bed.

I was exhausted, my plans for a calm evening were disrupted and I was downright angry at my child for being so disobedient.

{By the way, this was when we were young parents and I wore rose colored glasses about parenting and what to expect from my children. I apparently did not expect them to be full fledged sinners.}

As I stood in the hallway outside my son’s door, I told my husband how frustrated and heartbroken I was. He looked me straight in the eyes and the man saw I needed a shepherd for my run-away heart. He stepped up to the task and told me,

 “You need to forgive him.”

His words shocked me. I had never, ever before heard of forgiving my child.

I mean, really? My child was a child, one that I loved dearly. Forgiveness is something you do for people who wrong you, who hurt you terribly. It’s for when you are betrayed or overlooked or suffer an injustice. Right?

What I didn’t realize is that yes, it’s for those things… but it’s also for moms who parent little sinners.

It’s for every mom who wants to be a happy mom.

It’s for moms whose kid just wiped snot all over the back of the sofa.

It’s for moms whose kid disobeyed, dishonored, and did the disgusting.

For moms being interrupted in the middle of very important phone calls.

For moms who work hard to prepare a meal and the kid does nothing but complain about dinner… again.

For the mom today whose rare free morning is eaten up by a kid who forgot his lunch on the school bus.


The happy mom has learned to quietly and repeatedly forgive her beloved child.

She’s learned quiet forgiveness when a child spills sticky messy soda pop on the (rarely) clean floor right before the guests arrive.

It’s the secret she remembers when children demand, bicker, and threaten to drive her bone dry. When they embarrass and humiliate. When they throw fits and compete with Paul for the title “chief of sinners.”

It is the best kept secret of the happy mom.

I call it fast, furious, on-the-spot forgiveness and every happy mom practices it. With fierce regularity.

Because here’s the thing: Our children can demand, irritate, inconvenience, embarrass, interrupt, offend, sin against and hurt us… and if we do not practice this secret, our frustrations quickly turn into resentment…and resentment becomes bitterness… and before we know it, we are not happy moms. We’re  angry, resentful, mean, cynical, sarcastic, stressed out, bitter moms.

This week,  God reminded me of this secret because I desperately needed it. Maybe you do too.

It’s not that we don’t love our kids, we do.

It’s that we haven’t habitually practiced the secret of the happy mom: fast, furious, on the spot forgiveness.



Fast means we don’t wait for our kids to earn our forgiveness, to feel remorse, or to show they are sorry for what they’ve done. We extend forgiveness without them ever knowing they needed it. We let go of our “need” to let everybody know a thing or two first.

Fast forgiveness= happy mom. 


Furious in this sense means passionate intent.  You pursue it, even when forgiveness isn’t easy. No matter what it costs, you are intent on forgiving.

So what will it cost you? It’ll cost sharp, cutting words. It’ll cost making them pay in some small way via your attitude, or a huff, or an eye roll, or a complaint. Yes, it will cost you giving up those things. But furious forgiveness means a commitment to denying ourselves these self-serving actions because,

Furious forgiveness = happy mom.

On the Spot:

The happy mom has to be on her toes, ready to forgive without delay. No sulking. No pity party. No grumbling and complaining to a spouse or friend. Forgiveness. Boom.

On the spot forgiveness = happy mom.

In his book, Total Forgiveness, R. T. Kendall says, “The greater the sin you must forgive, the greater the measure of the Spirit that will come to you.”

What do you sell the Spirit out for in your life? An angry word at a kid who annoyed you? Is quenching the Spirit of God really worth that?

This week I found myself struggling with pent up frustration towards my kids. The Lord kindly reminded me that nothing, absolutely nothing, is worth the full measure of His Spirit in my life. I am ashamed at how quick I am to relinquish the fullness of His Spirit. The good news is that by surrendering to His invitation to let go of anger, bitterness and resentment, we allow Him to fill us afresh and demonstrate His goodness to our kids.

Want to be a happy mom? I invite you to practice her secret. Join me in pursuing this one thing this week?

Let’s live in unity with Jesus Christ. Be empowered by His Spirit. Forgive quickly and see what difference it makes in our homes.

Live loved…


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Arabah Joy
Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at