It’s a Monday night and you’re sorting clean socks – a task that seems to have no end. How can there be so much laundry all of the time? You’re tired from a weekend that revolved around your kids’ activities, but instead of relaxing with a Netflix binge marathon and buttered popcorn, you are washing baseball jerseys so your daughter will have a clean uniform for tomorrow’s game.
Let’s just be clear on something: chores and errands? They will never, ever end. They are embedded into our daily life whether we are happy about it or not. So why don’t we try approaching the drudgery of grocery shopping, filling up the gas tank, and vacuuming with a new outlook?
If you’re anything like me, you’re pretty good at noticing those folks in the world that have what you perceive to be a better life than yours. New car, super cute clothes, a spouse. Now let’s step back and look at our own lives – no matter how broke and disjointed you feel, there are people – lots and lots of people – in the world who would be jumping-up-and-down-grateful to have your situation.
In this lifetime, someone will always have it better and someone will always have it worse, so let’s try viewing our lives with fresh eyes. That tank of gas you’re putting into your vehicle? Practice saying thanks for the privilege of having a car to get your family where they need to go every day. Hate grocery shopping? Let’s think about how fortunate you are to shop in a store with fresh produce and clean floors, and be grateful you are going to feed your kids healthy food to grow their bodies and minds. I hear you, vacuuming is a drag, but what if you lived somewhere with a dirt floor? Carpet sounds a whole lot better now, doesn’t it?
My point is that we all have choices. We can choose to view our lives as a fast and furious cycle of drudgery and a to-do list items, or we can consciously choose to stop, take a deep breath and be mindful and thankful for the many, many blessings in our lives. If your son becomes sick with a temperature and you have to take a day off of work to be with him, banish thoughts of your irritated boss, and focus on making this the best sick day of his life with a tray of food, a Go Fish tournament and a marathon of Arthur reruns. And then be sure to say a silent thanks that it’s only a temperature and not a hospital visit.
The more you practice this intentional gratitude, the more you will experience contentment in your life. And the more your kids notice your optimism, the more likely they will be to pick up this new habit and practice it for themselves. In a materialistic society, this could lead to a revolution of sorts, as you find yourself happy right where you are.
About Renee Brown
Renee Brown is the tired yet happy mother of two young adult sons, Sam and Zachary. Almost an empty nester, she loves sharing her single parent experiences with the goal of providing hope and encouragement to those struggling on that “long and winding road.” Renee lives in Minneapolis, works in advertising, and also blogs for Your Teen magazine.