If you look at social media for more than a few minutes, you will probably see at least five people complaining about something — too much laundry, too many dishes in the sink, a job is eating their soul, etc. I am ashamed to say that I was one of those people. When I look back at my Facebook posts from a year or so ago? I am ashamed. I complained. A LOT. I was so overcome with my to-do list that I felt like I could never catch up. My anxiety was at its peak. My attitude was at its lowest. I was a pretty miserable person.
But why? Was my life really that bad? No! It wasn’t my life. It was my heart.
Even if I could gather around the table at Thanksgiving and wax poetic about all the “wonderful blessings” I had to be thankful for . . . I wasn’t actually grateful for most of the things in my life. My heart was heavy and hard.
Something had to change. I didn’t want to continue to be a mom teaching her child to complain about everything. I had to figure out some way to change my heart.
Just before Thanksgiving last year, I started a gratitude journal on my Instagram account. (Because that’s where real life-change happens, right?) I committed to my friends, family, and followers that I would post something for which I was grateful every day for 30 days — and that it would be something different every day. I thought it would be easy. But after day five? Things got a little harder. I couldn’t repost my gratitude for my son or my husband. I couldn’t just post about being grateful to have a place to live. I had to start finding things. And then, day fifteen rolled around. And something changed in me.
I remember taking a picture of my vacuum cleaner and truly being grateful for this magical machine that allows me to pick up the crumbs and dog hair with relative ease. And then my mind started to wander a bit. I found myself actually being grateful for the dog hair and crumbs and stray pieces of yarn — because it meant we had food and pets and crafting time. I began to see my to-do list as my get-to-do list. I don’t have to mop up spilled milk. I get to mop up spilled milk because I have a son. (I never thought I would have kids because we suffered through ten years of infertility). I don’t have to fold a mountain of laundry. No, I get to fold laundry because we have jobs and playdates and clothing.
I found that training my mind to view my daily life and all the tasks that come with motherhood as “get-to’s” helped focus and retrain my brain to be more grateful. It isn’t easy every day, but I have found that if I take a breath and remember why I am doing this task? I can usually find just a little bit of joy in anything — even giant blowouts that make you want to burn the mattress.