In my blog, Dainty Mom, I write a lot on the subject of happiness and the idea of “bliss.” Not in the indulgent, hedonist type of happiness; I believe in the art of living well, based on one’s intentions and beliefs as a woman — or, more specifically, as a mother.
I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m just a voracious “student”of lifestyle design and intentional living. I’m all for doing less of what makes me stressed, and more of what will add meaning to my life. And one of the things that I try to work on more these days is the art of being thankful, more grateful.
The honest truth is that it’s not easy trying to find silver linings. Sometimes when life is good and things are going well for everyone in the family, I can forget about having a grateful attitude, a thankful disposition.
Why? Well, I often get caught up in the busyness of my day-to-day routine. As a woman who works from home, the myth is often that I’m sitting around in yoga pants all day, tinkering around blogs and social media. But it isn’t, believe me! As a blog coach, a website manager, and at times, a contributing writer, I’m juggling several clients along with several details of the house: homeschooling, the cooking, the cleaning, the errands.
Yes, I do all this, at least for five of those seven days in a week. And often, stress tries to come with all that, which is when these feelings of thankfulness start to take a back seat.
Getting back that gratitude
I’m a rather spiritual person, in the non-religious sense. I believe that even though we do get busy as moms, we do have to refill our spiritual “tanks” of love, positivity, gratitude, inner strength, inner purpose. Whether it’s through meditation, prayer, journaling or another method, I’ve learned that when I stop becoming grateful, going back to a state of gratefulness is often as simple as reframing the way I see and respond to things.
I’ve found that seeing my mom-life through a lens of gratitude can work miracles. I’m sure you have, too?
When we’re grateful, stress seems to fade and our priorities seem to fall into place… and then we just feel better, right? I know as moms that we all need to feel our best, especially when a zillion tasks and obligations compete for our attention.
If you’re like me — wanting to stay thankful and grateful as a way to live life more fully — then here are a few strategies that could be helpful.
1. Express thankfulness in words. When was the last time you thanked your household helpers? Or the last time you thanked the security guards at your village gate? Maybe you need to say “thank you” and express gratitude to your own family members. Whatever the reason, find time to express thankfulness.
2. Arrest those complaints. I admit, I struggle with this! I tend to get impatient, even moody, when things aren’t in my control or aren’t going right. The thing is, I know that complaining will only satisfy me to a certain extent: For instance, a complaint to a maitre’d about a wait staff’s service might make me feel validated, but it’ll not necessarily make me feel any less annoyed about a bad service. (Of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t have a word or two to say about bad service at a restaurant!) Still, it helps to simply stop dwelling on things we’re unhappy about, or the things we feel are lacking in our life. Reframing things and seeing situations in a positive light can actually be a great exercise for the soul.
I’ve learned to even look at the mess of toys in our house as an opportunity to be thankful. I’m thankful that my son is alert, engaged and imaginative with his play! It’s the same with a load of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink (which I am faced with daily, since we’ve elected to not hire stay-in household help): I am grateful that I can cook all my family’s meals and make sure they get the best food. Yes, often, being thankful and grateful is simply a matter of shifting our focus.
3. Blog or write your thanks. Blogging has helped me be more reflective, because I can write freely about what’s pressing on my heart. I believe that writing things down and processing my thoughts on the page has a naturally “soul-lightening” effect at changing my focus. The more I think about all I have to be thankful for, the more I realize how much I am truly thankful for! This is why I try hard not to rant on social media, or just go on a Twitter nega-trip. It’s just not worth the emotional steam!
One last thing about maintaining a grateful attitude: It helps to share the load with other moms. It’s comforting to remember that others just like us are going through what we are going through. Sometimes that connection with other like-minded moms can give us enough encouragement, so that we can experience gratitude and thankfulness again.
“I am willing to see things differently. I am willing to see love.”
― Gabrielle Bernstein, May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness
So, have you had to stop, think, and be more grateful? How are you managing it?
Martine de Luna is a creative blogger and blog coach for women in small businesses. She runs Martine de Luna Creatives, a boutique small business hub that provides blog coaching, copywriting, and other solutions. Her award-winning blog, Dainty Mom, is a hub for women who enjoy blogging and living creatively. She is also the director of the WAHMderful Life Workshops, a series of workshops that equip and edify women who work from home.