Find Your Happy Parent Place

Make Playdates with Your Friends

Kids are often a blast to be around, but they can't replace grown-up friends. Yet many moms, overwhelmed and exhausted from the daily grind, tend to drift away from their pals after they have children.

Don't let that happen to you. Friendship is an essential component of happiness. A study conducted at the University of Illinois in Champaign found that people who have strong ties to friends and family are the most likely to think of themselves as happy. Try making a lunch date with a good friend you haven't seen in weeks, and get back in touch with an acquaintance whom you haven't talked to in years. Even if you end up chatting about kids, it will seem fresh and fun.

Don't abandon your single friends either. They can give you a much-needed break from the endless talk about children. "If you take time to be with friends, you're going to be a lot more patient with your kids," says Toni Schutta, a licensed psychologist and author of On Overload?: 28 Solutions to Help Moms Achieve Work Family Balance!

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