Saturday, October 22, 2011

On thankfulness...

I have always considered myself to be an optimist. I tend to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, always seeing the best in people and in situations. Sure, some may call me naive. Some may think I'm delusional or unrealistic. But I enjoy being optimistic. I like being upbeat and positive. However, I've noticed that my positive attitude has suffered recently. Not because of politics or the economy, but because of something I never expected...children.

I have wanted to be a mommy for most of my life. I have always loved children. I love hanging out with them, talking with them, playing with them, and teaching them. From babies in diapers to teenagers in drama and everything in-between, I just really like hanging out with them and loving on them. So with all of these happy-happy-joy-joy feelings floating about my head concerning children, what is my issue?

My children. Or, more precisely, my response to them and what I've learned about myself through having them. All children can be frustrating, disobedient, stubborn, and mean. They are completely selfish and self-centered...Any you know what? So am I. Why don't they just do what I ask them to??? Why can't they understand that I want what's best for them? Why do I feel like their failure to behave to my standard is a reflection of my failure as a parent? ...Probably because I'm a mom. I'm sure my frustrations in raising my three little ones are not unusual. However, I have found myself focusing on those frustrations, and I think that's what has been bringing me down.

I realized this recently. I don't know why I didn't notice that I was doing it before. My husband would come home and ask about my day, and I would relate to him all the things that went wrong. Who hit, who was in time-out, who disobeyed, who broke what, etc. There were so many fun moments in the day, and I would remember all the bad ones. I practically had my husband convinced that I had the worst job in the world! I almost convinced myself. Then I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I'm only on chapter four right now, but chapter three blew my mind. The practice of seeing the good in every moment of the day, and giving thanks for it, has changed my perspective. Making sure I'm on the lookout for the good things, helps me to stay calm when the bad things come. No, my children don't scream every moment of every day...but that's how I felt. I would tune in from scream to scream and miss the giggles in-between. It was a sad and depressing way to live.

The first day of my new thankfulness mindset started with my trying to get the kids out the door to an activity and them not moving quickly enough. I was frustrated and exasperated. I pulled out of the garage in a really bad mood and waited to see if my garage door went down. Yeah, the sun shines just wrong into the laser safety light mechanism at that time of the morning and it thinks there is someone under the door, so it goes back up. I usually have to stand so that my shadow covers the light receiver so the the sun doesn't interrupt the laser. I paused the car anticipating the need to get out and be another two minutes late when the door just went right down. I was so surprised that it shocked me out of the frustrated mood I was in. That was when I remembered the thankfulness thing I was supposed to be doing. I smiled so big! Thank you for garage doors that go down like they're supposed to! It changed my whole day. We went on and had a great time at our activity and I had a great day to report to my hubby! Thankfulness for the little things really does change your perspective on the bigger things.

So I'm seeking to take back my optimism and move forward with thankfulness...because I really do have three amazing children and the best job there is! :)

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