November. It's that time of year where there's a lot of warmth and coziness and good cheer and smiling faces. I truly, truly, love this season. Anything that gets people to be kinder to one another, to think beyond themselves, to reach out, is a good thing, in my book. And the holiday season does that.
There's also the crazed reality of this time of year. Shopping lists, budget stretches, overtired children, burned side dishes. I always feel like there are moments where your choice is to either laugh, or cry.
I try really hard to choose laughter.
So in the spirit of the season, I thought I'd share with you my list of things I'm most grateful for. With a little dose of reality.
1. My husband. A man with many, many talents, not the least of which is his ability to sleep through crying children between the hours of 10pm and 6am. But! I'm thankful that this full night's sleep means that he'll get up with them on the weekends. So he's forgiven (during the daytime hours).
2. My daughter (4.5 years) . She is such an amazing little person. Inquisitive and social and kind. I'm thankful that she is also a master humbler: "Mommy, you should take a nap, you look tired. And why are you wearing that shirt again today?" She keeps me real.
3. My son (2 years). A toddler who is ready to take on the world. So much so that he doesn't want to ever sleep for fear of missing something. I'm grateful that he has healthy lungs that allow him to let me know that he doesn't want to sleep, and that this requires me to spend so much time sitting on the floor next to his crib. I'm getting a lot of reading done on my Kindle.
4. My power. I have many superpowers, but in this case, I don't mean my personal powers, but the convenience of electric power. Yes, for lights and heat and computers and television,but especially for the coffeepot. I know, I know. You can make coffee without electricity. I'm sure Laura Ingalls Wilder did it brilliantly But I need my push a button, ready in 3 minutes coffee. Sometimes several times a day.
5. My home. The place that's warm and safe and dry. But I'm also thankful for the place to hide on the days when I don't get out of my pajamas till 4pm, haven't had a shower in 2 days, and am babbling from sleep deprivation.
6. My girlfriends. As a wife and mom, these women are my lifeline. And thanks to modern technology, they are all only a text or FB message (who has time to talk on the phone??) away. I'm thankful that we can all be instantly connected and supported on the days when we don't get out our pajamas till 4pm, haven't showered in 2 days, and are babbling from sleep exhaustion.
7. My writing. Something that is for me, separate from my role as mom and wife. I'm thankful I have this outlet to pour my energy into. You know, at 8pm. When my beautiful children are not climbing my legs or demanding another snack. So after 8pm. Did I mention I'm grateful for the ability to make quick coffee?
8. My health. Three cheers for hearty, German stock! I'm thankful that I'm blessed with good health. Because nowhere in my "Mommy Benefits Package" is there mention of sick days. I guess moms don't get those?
9. My optimism. This parenting gig is tough. It's easy to get bogged down in self-doubt, worries, or fears. I'm thankful that my outlook is generally optimistic. Well, optimism with a side of sarcasm. It works for me.
10. My humor. Not just mine, but that of those I surround myself with. I'm thankful that there are people who are willing to laugh with me, at me (only when they have my permission, of course) and for me. During those times we're exhausted, hungry, and frustrated because our child is exhausted, hungry and frustrated, we need those moments of laughter to keep going.
Happy season of thanks, ladies. My wish for you is that you find moments of laughter and thankfulness amidst the everyday chaos.
January is often a time for self-reflection, starting new projects and making resolutions. Many of us begin the new year with hopes to improve ourselves. What a perfect time to feature a series of posts on gaining wisdom! Over the course of this month, we'll post interviews with experienced mothers and feature stories written by women about what they've learned, and are continuing to learn, about motherhood. Thank you for starting the new year with us. We wish you all a very happy and inspired year of growth! ~TMC--
Last New Years Eve, I made a resolution. My husband and I had just celebrated our 4th year of marriage and it hadn’t been our best year. We had become parents and while we loved being parents and a family of three, we agreed that our relationship could use some focus and tender loving care. We committed to working towards growing stronger and not further apart.
Pinterest is where I found my inspiration. It was a simple glass jar labeled “365 Days of Thankfulness” and it was just what I needed. It is my sincerest desire that my husband is the head of our home but giving up the reigns does not come easily to me, especially, as a stay at home mom. I’m a first born; typical type-A, control freak. I needed something to turn my attitude away from “my way is best” and “just do it like me” to “you’re the best, thank you.”
I started January 1st 2012, secretly typing one thing I was thankful for, about my husband, into a note on my iPhone. I would surprise him on December 31st 2012; our five-year anniversary. What better way to celebrate? Fast forward to April 30th, 2012. I was 4 months in, a third of the way there and my toddler deleted my note. This was going to be a little harder than I thought. Regardless, I started again. I also started keeping track on a Word document, harder to delete. But, somewhere in the middle of June my toddler threw my phone in the toilet. Yes, definitely harder than I thought because I wasn’t very diligent about updating the Word document. I began yet again and weekly updated the Word document and, looking back, my toddler's curious ways were really a blessing. I had to be extra diligent at this point, forgetting a day only sent me further behind and most days I had to sit and reflect on at least five ways my husband had served, surprised or shown love to me or our son.
I’ll never know exactly how many reasons I had to come up with, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to come up with “365” reasons I was thankful for the amazing man I married. We had the most wonderful year. Continually focusing my mind on why I was thankful made a remarkable difference.
Parenting is an incredible gift. A gift that can equally frustrate you and uplift you all in the same ten minutes. Marriage is the same way. I love my son, but my husband comes first. He’s the reason I am a parent. As we start 2013, I encourage you all to refocus and ask yourself: “How are we doing?”
My whole family is happier for it.
Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/365-Days-of-Thankfulness/317672098273632