Since becoming a mom, I have missed more than my fair share of housewarmings, baby showers, birthday parties and baby baptisms. Once, I even missed a friend’s wedding because I forgot. That’s right, I forgot and didn’t even realize that I had forgotten until I saw the pictures posted on Facebook.  Needless to say, she and I are not very close friends today.

Becoming a parent changes your life profoundly. It changes your priorities, your commitments, your energy level and sometimes even your brain (referring to that wedding again) and it’s difficult for some people to understand just how much parenting changes you until they become parents themselves. 

At a moment’s notice, your child could become sick and you have to cancel all your appointments. Or your child is a having problem at school and you have to put aside everything, and everyone, to deal with it.

For the first few years of my children’s lives I spent a lot time apologizing to family and friends for how unavailable I had become and for missing out on some of their biggest moments. I also spent a lot of time trying to figure when my life would go back to the way it used to be. When would I be able to host my annual Christmas party again? When would I stop being that friend who couldn’t make it out again (and at the last minute)?

But after two years of feeling like I was living the wrong life that needed to be fixed somehow, I decided instead to accept it. I decided to accept my life just the way it is right now with all it’s imperfections. As mothers, we live in world where magazines and social media will try to convince us that our goal as mothers should be to reclaim our pre-baby life. But that’s just not possible. Motherhood changes us because it’s supposed to change us.

While I do my best to make time for friends and try to re-claim some parts of my pre-baby life, I don’t apologize anymore for the fact that my life has changed, and that I have changed along with it.

Here are my 5 keys to being a happier parent right now

1. Live in the moment
Worry less about the life you could have, should have or used to have. Learn to love the mommy life you have right now.

2. Give yourself a break
Being a good or great parent doesn’t come without tremendous sacrifice, so give yourself a break if and when you find yourself coming up short in other areas, whether personal or professional. Life comes in stages.

3. Laugh a little
Life has a lot of moving parts, especially motherhood, so laugh when things get crazy. Like the day I showed up to a book signing the day before it actually happened (What can I say, I had a lot on my mind that day).

4. Talk to more experienced moms
They’ll tell you that being a good parent means re-prioritizing and making sacrifices, which are not always easy. They’ll tell you it gets easier with time and as our kids age, we will find ourselves faced with new changes and to embrace those changes as well.

5. Celebrate yourself
Since becoming a mom to triplets there some things I’m not so good at anymore (like finding my keys), but there are some things that I’m excellent at, like being a great mom. Everyday I look at my kids and they are my proof.

Happy parenting!

Notoya Green is an on-air parenting expert and mother of three-year-old triplets. A former law attorney, Notoya put her law career on hold to become a stay-at-home mom to care full-time for her children. She now shares her experiences at Triplets in Tribeca.