Oh, November. A time when, in theory, we reflect on all we are thankful for. A couple of years ago, some of my Facebook friends and I started participating in what was called the ‘30 Days of Thankful’ challenge.
We would change our status at one point each day in November to tell the world something we were highly appreciative of.
It might seem kind of cheesy to think about, but I have found that writing what I am grateful for makes me focus on the positives in my life and that’s why I try to do it every November.
The first ten days, I tend to have few issues deciding what should be contained within these statuses. My ‘thankful’ posts are filled with my profession of love for my husband, my kids, my house, my health, the food on my table, my parents and other family members, my car, and my job (inside or outside the home). All completely true statements, but nothing Earth shattering.
Once I have used up all of the seemingly obvious responses, it usually becomes increasingly more difficult for me to come up with more things for which I can express gratitude.
I mean, I have to rack my brain for 20 to 22 more things I haven’t covered. Thus is the danger of using such general language in situations like this. Somehow, I never fail to muddle my way through the remaining days, but really, I can do better.
I’ve decided that this year WILL be different! I have put thought into this gratitude challenge way ahead of time and will not fall victim to the lazy response again.
I am a mother for goodness sakes! When my kids are finally in bed at the end of the day, I heave the same sigh of relief every other parent does because my family and I have survived another day. There has to be something said for all the little things that allow me to persevere and they deserve recognition as well!
So, here it is, in no particular order, 10 not-so-obvious things I am thankful for as a mom. Rest assured that I will be posting these for all to see on Facebook this November:
Whoever made all these white little girls’ clothes has obviously never had children.
#9: My chiropractor and her staff
My chiropractor is awesome for many different reasons. Obviously, the lower back pain I had during both of my pregnancies would have been so much worse without her assistance. However, she is also amazing because she and her staff have put up with my ‘mommy brain,’ which has gotten worse over the last 24 months. I’ve found myself missing an appointment here and there because I have no idea what day it is, or thought I put it in my calendar and didn’t. (I swear I was so organized before my second child, I just don’t know what has happened. Do moms recover from this once toddlerdom is over? Please say they do!) I have called to cancel because of sick children more than I ever thought I would. These wonderful women have dealt with my toddler who comes with me to appointments, and who is never thrilled to have anyone she doesn’t know well go anywhere near me. They offer her snacks and toys, and the chiropractic assistant has helped with my child so I could finish my appointments. Seriously, they deserve an award for their patience.
#8: Cardboard boxes
We can have a million toys but my kids would rather have a cardboard box. Whenever we have one (usually after diaper delivery), it gets endless use. Just the other day, my children threw a bunch of blankets and toys in one, hopped in with their toy golf clubs and pretended to be rowing a boat. So I guess cardboard boxes also get bonus points for promoting development of imagination. Not to mention that this is clearly the definition of reduce, reuse, and recycle.
#7: Goldfish crackers
Five years ago, I would not have said this at all. I don’t even like Goldfish. (Although I have never attempted to make my own; I probably should). I try to taste ones we buy at the store every six months or so, wondering if my opinion will change, but I just cannot understand what the draw is. I don’t need to, though, because my kids think they are some type of gourmet snack! If I need to talk on the phone, I give them Goldfish crackers. Meltdowns? My toddler usually stops if I put some Goldfish in front of her. So yeah, I think they taste awful, but apparently they possess some magical power which makes my children silent just long enough for me to complete a task. Either that or they make the provider of the Goldfish (aka me) invisible, seeing that my children suddenly don’t seem to acknowledge my existence as they munch. Whichever it is, it works. Pass the Goldfish, please!
#6: My vacuum
I have two kids who love Goldfish (see #7) and the sandbox. I have no idea what I would do without my vacuum. Our current vacuum is about as old as I am. That makes it old (for a vacuum, of course, I’m not calling myself ‘old’). It still works great even though I broke one of the attachments earlier this year. However, I know all good things don’t last forever. I will be heartbroken when the day comes that I’ll have to buy another that inevitably won’t last half as long as our current one.
#5: Hand-me-downs, consignment stores and sales, and Facebook swap groups
I will start by saying thank you to all of the people who have given me hand-me-downs for my children. I cannot thank you enough! Everything we have received has gotten so much more wear around here. Secondly, I’m sorry, expensive department stores, but I do not want to pay 20 dollars for a shirt that is just going to get covered in paint at preschool, or even just sit in his cubby as part of an extra outfit. Call me cheap, but I’ve gotten some great deals, some things even new with tags, from consignment.
My family does not have cable so guess where we watch Thomas The Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh? Believe me when I say, my children do not get a lot of screen time, but YouTube has allowed me the random quick shower here and there during my children’s waking hours.
#3: Kids’/Toddler music
My kids love to sing and love to listen to me sing (I’m not great but I can carry a tune). Some days, the only way I get by is to sing almost all day long. One day when my son was a baby, I sang 40 minutes straight in the car to him to help him stay calm. By the time I arrived home, I’d lost my voice for the rest of the night. It was worth it. This is also probably the reason that, on the rare occasion when I am in my car by myself, I turn the radio on and know none of the songs. I am constantly listening to toddler music in lieu of all the country and pop I used to listen to. Pandora Radio’s toddler and Disney stations are my friends. My younger child currently prefers ‘ABCs’ and ‘This Old Man,’ my older child ‘B-I-N-G-O.’ My favorite at the moment is ‘I like to Eat, Eat, Eat, Apples and Bananas,’ but I can also sing a mean ‘Five Little Speckled Frogs.’
I do not drink frequently, but after 20 consecutive months of being pregnant and having to worry about a nursing baby who didn’t take a bottle waking up wanting to nurse, I see wine as more of a luxury than I did before.
#1: Mom friends
My mom friends and I are long overdue for a ‘ladies night,’ (probably 24 months overdue), but they are always just a phone call, a text, or a Facebook Message away and I just couldn’t ask for a better support group. I am endlessly thankful for all of them!
I do realize that even after these 10 ideas, that I will still need to come up with about ten more before, say, November 20th. I have a good start though!