I think every mom and dad out there would agree that parenting is hard work, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. The toll it can take on us, especially if we're at home minding the fort, can be enormous. In addition to spending quality time with our children, we're cleaning, preparing meals, or taking them to school or various extracurricular activities. That, of course, doesn't even take into account having to engage your kids by answering their questions and listening to what they have to say, which can be exhausting (though worth our time).

Though I'm a big believer that giving up a little of our own self-interest makes the world a better place, the relentless demands of modern-day life can bring a person down. I hardly go a day when I don't say, "I can't do this anymore." Because face it, difficult times are hard, if not impossible, to avoid. They are just a part of life, but when we can roll with them, the better off we will be. So when things are getting you down, take some time to step back and remind yourself of all that is good in your life and the reasons you have to be happy about. I'll bet you'll be surprised by how many of these moments exist, and how simple they can be. Here are 15 of things that keep me going.

1. My Kids Saying They Love Me 

It doesn't get much better than this, especially when it occurs randomly and unprompted. You can't take your family's love for granted, because it is unconditional and sincere.

2. Laying My Head Down on My Pillow

Sleep is an amazing thing and best of all, it happens every night.

3. Sharing a Meal With Family and/or Friends

Speaking of food, eating is one of my favorite things in life and wonderful way to spend time with the people I care about.

4. Hearing Birds in the Morning 

Living in New England, I appreciate this more because it signals the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It's a fantastic way to start the day, especially if there's a gentle breeze blowing in the window.

5. Seeing My Kids Grow and Learn

While this signals the gradual end to their dependency on me, it marks the beginning of an awesome new chapter in my life that I can share with them.

6. Waking up to a Warm Fire 

Winter in New England is cold, which makes getting out of bed difficult, but when I walk into the hallway and feel that blast warm air – it's a comforting way to start my day.

7. That First Sip of Coffee 

I often go to bed looking forward to that first cup in the morning, and it never disappoints – especially when the coffee is hot, strong, and dark.

8. Getting Back to a Book I Love 

I like to read, but I especially love it when I am obsessed with a particular book and can't wait to read it... and then actually get that chance.

9. A Beautiful Sunset 

It's amazing to see a bright, colorful sunset that really grabs my attention when I first see it and then hold that attention it for several minutes straight.

10. The Laughter of My Wife and Kids 

Regardless of the situation, it's great to hear your family laugh out loud and enjoy themselves.

11. Coming Home to a Warm, Brightly Lit Home 

This is particularly fitting during winter, when it gets dark early and I get to anticipate entering my warm house and being greeted by my family.

12. Chocolate

This doesn't need much of an explanation, but that first moment that the chocolate hits the tongue does special things to the mind and body. Plus, it's so easy to do.

13. The Smell of Freshly Baked Bread 

If you're out on the town and pass a bakery, step inside and inhale deeply. Or better yet, bake your own and fill your house with joy. I highly recommend it.

14. Falling Back to Sleep 

Waking up early is a bummer, but if I have time to spare, nothing beats that delicious feeling of drifting back to sleep.

15. Hearing a Long Lost Favorite on the Radio 

I realize you can ensure that this will happen by playing your favorite tunes on an iPod, but there's something special to the randomness of hearing it on the radio.

Let's face it, our time on this planet is precious, so it is important to get over our obsession with making money and buying things and just appreciate all that we have. For some of us, this may take some practice, but in the end, we all have simple things in our lives that we hold dear to our heart. Ironically, it just may take some effort to actually see them.

When you do, they will always be there for you, and then whatever life throws at you, you can rest assured that everything is going to be all right.