Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grateful Changed My Attitude

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and think to yourself (or sometimes say out loud) "I just can't do this day."? It seems that with the stresses of children, and all else that accompanies being a mother, there are times that it all seems to be too much. I went through a period of time recently where I had a lot of "I can't do this day" days. I hind site, I think that I allowed myself to focus on what seemed to be going wrong in my life. The more I focused on what was wrong, the more "wrong" I found to focus on. When I made a decision to turn my attitude around, I discovered a very simple way to do it. I began a gratitude journal. It was nothing fancy. In face, I just grabbed a spiral notebook I already had and began writing. I tried to look for the good in what was not-so-good. Rather than focusing on the fact that my car was old and only just big enough to hold my family, I stopped to realize that I had a working, reliable car that is paid for. Rather than be frustrated that my washing maching had stopped working, I found gratitude in the fact that I have a husband who has the skills to fix it for cheap. In my greatest moments of frustration with my children, I looked for little things to be grateful for-the silliness of a toddler, or the creativity of of my five-year-old (even when that creativity meant marker on my counter or play dough all over the floor). At the end of a long season of canning, when I was so ready to never can anything ever again, I realized how grateful I am to have the skill of canning.
Keeping this gratitude journal has helped me to turn my attitude around. I admit I still have days where I forget how blessed I am, but as soon as I catch myself in this spiral, I go to the drawer and pull out my journal and ponder how what seems to be so wrong is really, probably a blessing in disguise. So often, I believe that God sends us these blessings all packaged as challenges, trials, and frustrations. I once heard this saying, "Life is a series of amazing experiences, each disguised as impossible situations." Challenge yourself to look for the good in every situation, and begin to be grateful for things you may have first seen as a frustration.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It Takes a Village

Today seems to be one of those days where being a mom seems overwhelming. It seems that everything I need to do requires the help of someone else. The thought of getting my teeth cleaned with 2 kids in the room and an infant on my chest seems a little much, but it describes my life exactly. Runing to the grocery store with 3 kids, or immunizations for one child while the other two watch. It's the everyday things that seem so impossible. To be honest, the minute I sat down to start writing this, my 3-year-old called me from the bathroom with poo in his underwear.Ahhhhh! I have yet to figure out the balancing act. And to add to it all, Dave and I desperatly need to spend quality one on one time together, but leaving a breastfeeding infant and 2 other children with a teenage babysitter sounds, to be honest, scary.
I happened to express several of these thoughts to a friend of mine over the Christmas holiday and she had some profound words for me. "Telena," she said, "it takes a village." That was it. So simple, and yet it served as a gentle reminder of the fact that raising children is something that takes many hands. I can't do it alone (which is my tendency) and I must stop feeling guilty for asking others to help. So, when it all seems to be more than you can bear, remember, "it takes a village."
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