What would it look like to be a happier parent this school year?

Is it really possible for us to find more happiness amidst the chaos of the hectic school morning routine, the homework, the sibling drama and once again telling your kids to put away the screens while eating breakfast?

My friend, Lori, exudes happiness in her annual back-to-school photo tradition! Isn’t she the best?

New York Times contributor and writer KJ Dell’Antonia’s tells us HOW we can regain our happiness in parenthood in her brand new book, How to Be A Happier Parent- Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute.

As a mother of four, KJ found herself wondering if this whole parenthood thing had to be so difficult on most days. She wanted to enjoy motherhood more than she was. But, the workload was overwhelming. She questioned why she wasn’t more satisfied with her life as a parent. So she set out to find out how we can bring more happiness, and even fun to the ordinary days that make up the measure of our lives.

I consider myself overall to be a happy parent. But, I learned long ago that getting in a school pick up or drop off line was not setting me up for success in the parental happiness department. Neither was helping with math homework or making school lunches for my capable 16-year-olds. So, instead, I taught my people long ago how to be in charge of their own existence.

And low and beyond this is #1 on KJ’s list of what happier parents do well.

  1. Shift from heavier involvement to fostering independence in their children as they become more capable. (Stop doing these things for your teen this school year)
  2. They don’t put their children’s everyday needs before their own. (Can I get a hallelujah?)
  3. They look for the good in the day to day experiences. (Yes, you too can find joy in the pb&j sandwich. Dig deep.)
  4. They know what’s really important and what’s just noise and fury. (Yep, we gotta remember not to major in the minor.)

I love everything about this book- from the cute cover design to choosing the chapter I need right now to help with a problem area in our family. If it’s meal times, chores, sibling rivalry, discipline, screens… you name the thief of your parental joy and it’s most likely in here.

Through interviews with educators and experts along with her personal stories, KJ gives us lots of helpful tips, strategies, and inspirations to shift our mindsets and create new habits in order to find more happiness in our role as Mom or Dad today.

And just because my capable children wouldn’t want me to be too happy, they continue to leave me plenty of reminders that I am still dearly needed.

With a new school year upon us, How to Be A Happier Parent is a well-timed reminder that a satisfying family life isn’t about hauling kids around and eventually dropping them off at destination success. It’s about finding real happiness during our journey of parenthood, and this book will help you figure out just how to do that.


KJ sent me a copy of her brand new book How to Be A Happier Parent- Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute. to give away to one of you lucky readers!

Comment below on why you want to be a happier parent for your chance to win! One lucky winner will be chosen at random on October 19. Must be a US resident to win.

33 replies
  1. Jenn Krinn
    Jenn Krinn says:

    Why do I want to be a happier parent….simple I want to see my heart walk around this world being a positive role model to those who might not have such a happy upbringing. BE THE CHANGE, BE THE GOOD!

  2. Meggan VanNess
    Meggan VanNess says:

    I want to be a happier parent because I am realizing that time is passing too quickly. I have 2 girls in high school this year (9th and 11th) and want to make the most of each moment. Admittedly I have found my self struggling with what to let go and what guidance they really need. To top it all off, I am a high school counselor at their school and sometimes feel like I pour so much into my students that my own children get the leftovers.

  3. AmyRyb
    AmyRyb says:

    My kids are growing up all too fast, and we’ve spent so much time struggling with a challenging child and then a challenging sibling relationship. Between those two issues, they’ve stolen so much joy from what should be a really fulfilling phase in our lives. I want to maximize the time we have left and find ways to appreciate the small gains and simple joys.

  4. Karen Dybis
    Karen Dybis says:

    I love the idea of taking care of yourself — that’s how I’d like to become a happier parent. Sometimes, you need someone like KJ to remind you to put your own mask on first like on the airplanes!

  5. Robyn
    Robyn says:

    I want to be a happier parent to eliminate my frazzle. I sometimes feel frazzled doing regular day to day chores and I hate that it noticeable. I love being a Mom and working hard to provide for our daughter but I’d love to dive into this book and improve myself just a touch. Always room for improvement.

    Happy I found your blog and website. Thanks!

  6. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    I want to understand how to find happiness in parenting 3 children who are in their prime hormonal stage!!! I want to be encouraging and at the same time hold them accountable for their schoolwork, their attitude and their ability to show kindness and compassion for others at school. Any help is appreciated! Sounds like a great resource!!

  7. Hazel
    Hazel says:

    I just want to be a happy parent. At 66 I adopted my 12 year grandboy and between a full time job, soccer, cycling and normal life…whatever that is, I need a better plan. I so want him to always know and remember that no matter what he needs to be kind. He hasn’t always seen that.
    Thank you for your blog! It so helps!

  8. c taylor
    c taylor says:

    I am a 73 year old grandparent raising a 15 year old granddaughter. Most days I feel like I am doing everything wrong. I am a mother, father and grandmother all rolled into one, and I know I have spoiled this child and have not trained her to go out her adult world prepared for all she will encounter. She is a good girl and does well in school , but has a hard time making and keeping friends and does not take responsibility on her own for doing chores around our apartment. I work fulltime, still, and I am not up to date on what teens are up against and how to protect her from making bad choices. She pretty much stays home. Her day to day life is pretty much the same. School, homework, parttime job, pretty much stay in her room with her dog the rest of the time. I need help. I feel so inadequate and frustrated most of the time. I love my granddaughter very much and I am sorry her parents abandoned , rejected her at age 5. Its there loss. She is a beautiful girl, but feels so rejected and lonely . Even if I don’t win this book I am going to buy it because it sounds like it would help me . Please continue to send me newsletters. Thank you for reaching out and sharing with us.


  9. Laura
    Laura says:

    I’m a step mom to a fantastic 14 year old and pregnant with my first. I’m looking for all of the help I can get! I spread myself as thin as I can already. I’m nervously wondering how to juggle it all and would appreciate all the tips I can get. Thank you!

  10. Janelle Loehlein
    Janelle Loehlein says:

    Learning there is always room for change/improvement especially i parenting, I think this would be a great resource to expand my knowledge.

  11. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I want to be a happier parent because time is flying by so fast that I don’t want to look back on this with negative feelings. I want to know that I got the most out of every moment.

    • Janis Bredehoft
      Janis Bredehoft says:

      I need this book! We are struggling every single day just to make it through…I need to find inner peace so that I can be a happier parent raising my children in a happier home.

  12. Cilla
    Cilla says:

    Hi, I really enjoy your blog! It has blessed me! I have a junior, 8th grader, & 5th grader and I want to enjoy the rest of this ride happier with them! Congrats! I’m looking forward to your new book too!

  13. Justine Veloza
    Justine Veloza says:

    I’m a new mom to a beautiful 5 month old!!! I am totally inspired by these tips and am trying to be the best mom possible to raise my son right in this world!

  14. Julie Christensen
    Julie Christensen says:

    My husband and I are not happy parents and have not been for years. I feel like they have sucked the joy from my home with all their squabbles and their inept ability to live up to simple standards. We don’t wait on them hand and foot; they clean up the table, they empty the dishwasher, they do their own laundry and pack their own lunches and help with other chores, so we feel good about teaching those life skills. We have to constantly remind them though and they tell us we are nagging. They do not have cell phones and while we are sticking to our guns on that one, our oldest brings it up weekly and we know she feels so different from her peers. Our 12-yr old is not the typical first born and it feels like she is the middle child…which she kind of is since we had a miscarriage at 8 weeks before her. Our son is over-confident but then acts like a victim crawling to us each time she mistreats him. That being said, we feel like God gave us a second and third chance and through the daily yelling everyone is anxious and it feels like we are throwing it all away and just looking forward to the peace that will come when they go to college. We know we are not happy most the time and it comes out in how they see life and it is so disappointing. We are not modeling well for them and our mindset needs to change, but how?

    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Julie! You are the winner of the book How to be a Happier Parent! Thanks to everyone who commented! Stay tuned for next month’s book giveaway!

  15. Sheilda B
    Sheilda B says:

    I need to be a happier parent for my step children and my wife. I become frustrated with the simple goals of life and tend to resort back to the methods I have adopted growing up myself and they do not work for a 11 & 14 yr old anymore.

  16. JF
    JF says:

    I want to be a happier parent to show Christ to my children through my actions and my guidance. I have done far too much for them for far too long and it makes me NOT a happy person! I am currently taking care of my mother (who lives with us and has dementia) I have three teenagers and I also work full time! Something has got to change! I hope I win the book so I can read it and find JOY again in my life! Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Michele Moran
    Michele Moran says:

    I am not a parent but I would love to have this book because you wrote it Amy. I will probably pass it to my brother and his wife. They have a 5 year old and Twin 2 year olds that I am the very proud Aunt of these littles.

    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Michele! You’re the best! This isn’t my book though. It’s KJ Dell’Antonia’s. Mine should be out at the beginning of the year 🙂

  18. Tiffany Romias
    Tiffany Romias says:

    I want to get out of the rut of our daily grind and be fun! I want to be silly again and laugh more and stop taking life so seriously. When I am in the groove and really present with my kids, it feels great & almost effortless. When I am reverting to old ways of being, I am grumpy, task-driven and short-fused. I’ve seen the light at times but have a hard time keeping the flame bright. I am excited to read this great new book and make it click.

  19. Kasia Rivera
    Kasia Rivera says:

    I want to be a happier parent because i believe it will make a happier home and as a result make the 4 children in that home happy! Which is my ultimate goal…a healthy&happy family!❤

  20. Holly Spink
    Holly Spink says:

    We need more happiness in the family of 6! With 4 kids, the youngest 11 and the oldest 21 (I know not a kid anymore), I’m trying to savor every moment as they age. And what I want most for them in life is to be happy themselves (and self-supporting!)


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