Now that November is officially here, it's that time of year when Americans start feeling extra grateful. The latest social media's Gratitude Challenges, have been taking over my feeds, which is great, considering researchers recommend people practice daily gratitude. Personally, I have so much to be grateful for, but there are definitely things I'm really grateful for that I don't share too often. That should change, though, and I'm working to be more cognizant of the positives in my life. According to Robert Emmons, a UC Davis psychologist and author, people "who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems."
Obviously, I'm eternally grateful for my children and my husband. I am thankful for my parents, who adore my kids and always help and drop off dinner and take my kids to and from school. I'm thankful for my in-laws, who love playing with my children and showering them with love and attention and gifts. I'm thankful for our life, our home, and our fridge full of food. I'm thankful for my job and that I get to do what I love every single day of my life. I have a lot to be grateful for.
And still, there are so many other, seemingly benign things I'm really grateful for. Like bulky sweaters on a chilly fall evening. Or, the comfy couch. Or, huge cups of coffee, chocolate, and pizza. I'm grateful for tequila, wine, and beer. I'm grateful for cheese fries and burgers and tacos. But, moms aren't supposed to be grateful for such insignificant things, you know? They are supposed to be thankful for the big stuff; the important stuff; the "found in a Hallmark card" kind of stuff. And, obviously moms are thankful for all of those things, but they are also grateful for the little things that help them sustain their sanity, too.
Translation: "I'm grateful that my kids are actually going to eat a real meal for the first time in days."
I don't know about you, but most weeks you'll find me running around like a crazy person, trying to get everything done. So, more often than not, my family has been surviving on pizza and crackers. I'm also grateful my kids are going to clean the table after the dinner and for the husband who is going to do the dishes. Finally, I'm grateful for leftovers, which mean I won't have to cook for yet another week now. Then, it'll be back to makeshift meals until the next holiday.
Translation: "I'm grateful that my mom is going to cook much of the dinner and dessert and that my dad will play with the kids for hours.
I'm also grateful for the presents my parents give to the kids because that means the kids will be occupied for at least an hour. Unless it's a toy that makes a ton of noise, those toys should die in a fire.
Translation: "I'm grateful for the television that keeps the kids interested for hours."
Personally, I am especially thankful for Bo on the Go and Story Bots because, you guys, my son loves them and they are awesome. But also, I'm grateful for early bedtimes, quick showers, minimal toddler tantrums, and comfy pajamas. I'm grateful for the time when everyone is in bed so I can eat popcorn without a chunky little hand stealing some, and without an 8-year-old whining about how bored she is.
Translation: "I'm grateful for disposable plates and cups and tableware, for not having to change out of my leggings and a hoodie, for not having to feed 50 people I need to clean up after, and for takeout."
I'm grateful for zero hours spent in the kitchen, for minimal cleaning, and for everyone keeping their comments to themselves about how little effort I put into the holidays. In fact, I'm grateful for a meal without any conversation at all.
Translation: "I'm grateful for days off from work, sleeping in, and lazy mornings and afternoons."
Without fail, I'm grateful for the time of the year when I'm able to turn off my alarm and for the fact that my husband gets up with the kids. I'm grateful for Netflix because I don't have to find a cartoon for the kids and they can find one on their own without having to wake me up. I'm grateful for technology that keeps everyone out of my life for about 20 minutes.
Translation: "I'm grateful for their kids who keep my kids occupied."
My friends are the best because of the wine they bring with them and the adult conversation they provide. I'm thankful that my adult friends are willing to talk about anything but changing diapers and which daycare has the best teachers and which way of parenting is better than the other.
Translation: "I'm grateful for the fact that my partner is a totally competent and involved parent."
I'm grateful for my nights out with my friends while my husband stays home with the kids. I'm grateful I don't have to worry whether or not my children will be fed or bathed. I'm grateful for hours I can spend food shopping, by myself, without any interruption from a toddler who just has to sit in the cart and then has to walk and then has to sit back in the cart.
Translation: "I'm grateful for my children."
There's no hidden meaning for this one, my friends. Every single day, whether it's November and we're celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I'm grateful for their smiles, their random hugs and little moments of love, their faces, their quirkiness, their wittiness, their warmth, their everything. I'm grateful for the fact that they made me a mom, that they made me a better version of myself, and that they exist. Without a doubt, I know my children make the world a better place.
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