Today though, let’s talk about ways we can CHOOSE to be thankful, grateful, and blessed even in moments of motherhood and life frustration. Additionally, those unconventional things we are thankful for and the way in which they support us in centering ourselves in gratefulness for ALL of the amazing things we have in this life.
My assumption is you are more like me than different. For instance, you are grateful for your spouse, children (yes, even the crying one), family (okay, most of them), your home (drafty windows and all), your amazing abilities and strengths, your kids’ school, your friends, you get the picture. Also, I’m not downplaying how incredibly blessed we are as a society to be able to list these things AND with incredible ease for the most part. We DO feel grateful. Thanksgiving is a wonderful yearly reminder of this.
On the other hand, sometimes we can feel guilt when tinges of ungratefulness emerge. Guilty for not being INTENTIONALLY grateful. Why? Because we know so many others long for a smidge of what we have. For instance, hearing about kids at our very own school who require food assistance over breaks to have enough food to eat. This pulls at my heart strings and absolutely makes me feel guilt for not being more thankful for the MANY opportunities as well as physical THINGS I have and take for granted in a lot of ways.
On a personally emotional note, I long to be able to talk to my mom in person again. It stings so badly at times. Seeing an “I feel so blessed to have my mom” or a “my mom is a life-saver with the kids” post by someone pulls out a jealousy inside me I did not realize existed before losing my mom. My face may plaster on a smile and I’ll even utter, “ah, so sweet.” But my heart and my mind get, well, sort of pissy. No, I’m not mad at the poster for having their mom and being grateful. Conversely, I’m angry at a situation I can’t control.
Apparently, my truth serum is coming out today! So, here’s another one. My sister and I laugh sometimes when people say “I’m so blessed for….. (fill in the blank).” This statement MAY get a big eyeroll from the Quirk sisters. It’s not that we don’t believe you are feeling blessed. In general, blessed just seems to be overused or something. Highly likely we’re just reading into the statement with a tone of sarcasm, so by default it doesn’t feel intentional. Obviously, this is quite possibly coming from a cynical place. On the other hand, maybe we’ve just seen too many décor signs of “Thankful, Grateful, Blessed,” and along the way it’s lost the intention for us.
Even so, the point I want to make is this. Sometimes we feel guilt surrounding feelings of gratefulness. Which ironically spirals into more guilt. Not only feeling shame from emotions popping up conflicting a grateful heart, but also feeling we “should” be thankful! Taking our choice out of it. The conflict of our head demanding thankfulness meanwhile our heart in a moment of frustration. Indeed, a moral conflict even if only for a fleeting second. Another great conundrum of motherhood!
Alternatively, what if we thought of thankfulness in different terms? Realizing the feeling of gratefulness doesn’t always have to come from the grandiose in our lives, for instance.
NEW TWIST ON THANKFUL
A couple of years ago, instead of doing the traditional “say something you are thankful for” around the table after our Thanksgiving meal, we changed things up. Everyone had to name something OTHER THAN family, friends, home, gifts/talents, jobs, etc. etc. Making the assumption, we’re all grateful for the “normal” stuff. We are all blessed. In fact, we’re fortunate enough to be able to blurt these things out without having to put too much time and effort in thinking about them. Therefore, a new twist to the thankful game. Delightful!
Want to know what I said? Night facial cream. I know, SO RANDOM. But I love to come home, wash my face, and smear on the ridiculously expensive but cooling and soothing night cream. No, this isn’t a shameless plug for sponsorship, I’m not even going to name the brand I use! But I find it relaxing and a sign for me the evening is winding down and I can rest after a full, productive day.
Before the Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I’d never thought about the fact I was extremely grateful for something like…. Night facial cream. Now I am. Now, about each time I open the jar and smell the aroma of relaxation and sleep in my near future, I’m thankful.
Some other super random things I’m thankful for?
First, Apple slicers. You know, the tool that in one quick motion gives you 8 perfect slices you can throw in a bowl for a quick snack. Genius!
Second, Clorox wipes. I mean, what did we do without these??? They were invented in my lifetime, but I really don’t remember the “before Clorox wipes” life. There seems to be this weird timeline of Heather’s born, life lived, Clorox wipes invented, now Heather’s real life begins. I literally clean up cat vomit, spilled milk, unknown weird looking substance on the floor, bathroom sinks before guests arrive, you name it, Clorox wipes are wiping it.
Third, Sweatpants. Need I say more? Comfort in the form of fleece delightfulness.
Next, Folding chairs. We host a lot of stuff at our house and even though we have two full dining room table and chair sets, we never have enough chairs. What would we do without folding chairs???
And how about no tangle ponytail holders. I would honestly need to shave my head if ponytail holders didn’t exist, because let’s be honest, I use one daily. AND no tangle to boot! Sold.
Finally, Oatmeal Cream Pies. Delicious little cookies individually wrapped so I have to consciously think before I go in for a second one. Well played Little Debbie. Well played. Smart actually. If these were in an Oreo type packaging, I’d eat the entire box. Instead, I will savor this one cookie. Or hide the second wrapper from my kids.
30 DAYS OF GRATEFUL… OR 7
I’ve done 30 days of grateful challenges before and it is really amazing how your heart and perspective changes as you focus on gratefulness. I’ve even more recently started the exercise of thinking of three things I’m grateful for the minute I wake up in the morning. Before teeth brushing, looking at the phone, starting coffee, talking to anyone, just a mental clarity moment of thinking about the three things I want to be grateful for that particular morning. Unquestionably, starting off the morning in this mindset is a game-changer. And this is coming from someone who hates morning. Period.
It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack. – Germany Kent
Despite what may normally top out your 30 days of gratefulness though, why not try a new twist? We have 7 days before Thanksgiving. My challenge to you is this. For the next 7 days, write a list of the 7 super random things in your life you are grateful for. Feel free to share it with us in the comments below too!
Being grateful for the smallest things in our life can have a large impact on not being overwhelmed by what we “should” be grateful for. Putting a renewed focus on the simplicity of life. In addition, having subtle prompts of those little things we’re thankful for can be fun reminders to CHOOSE gratefulness in a day. Using an apple slicer, for instance! Bringing a smile to your face the next time you wipe up cat vomit because you remember there really was a life before Clorox wipes, and it was a dark and ugly time in our history.
THANKFUL, GRATEFUL, BLESSED
Ladies, if you are reading this it means you have access to technology through a phone or computer, likely both. You are thankful for the amazing opportunities in life. Additionally, you are grateful for the wonderful family and friends surrounding you. Lastly, you are blessed beyond measure and realize it with a beaming heart.
Continue to be grateful. However, in moments of guilt when the inner cynic is playing mind games with you, remember your night cream. Thankfulness can come in the smallest and even silliest of ways. Just CHOOSE to be thankful, grateful, and blessed.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward