I’ve been a GP for 10 years now and have listened to thousands of patients tell me their stories. One thing that strikes me is the human ability to find the worst in every situation, no matter what. What a pity! In the First World, we really have so little to complain about. Yet we complain about everything. Picture this:
Someone who loses their job will complain about their sucky life and how they are having trouble finding a new job. Then lo and behold, they get a job and complain about the job – the hours, the boss, the work they have to do!
Childless couples will lament that they still haven’t conceived a baby. And yep – you guessed it. Baby arrives and they complain about being parents. In fact, even before the baby arrives, the new mother complains about the pregnancy…
1) You have managed to secure a job. This means you can read and write, at least. You are earning an income. You’re not dependent on welfare or on your partner’s income (well, not totally anyway). You have achieved some level of independence. And someone needs you to come to work, to fulfil a role, no matter how small you think it may be.
2) You have children. For many childless couples, this is a dream come true. Maybe your children were planned, maybe they were not. But chances are, even as hard as child-rearing gets, there is magic in every day that you can reach out and touch – the tousled hair in the morning, your toddler smiling and saying “Mama!” in the morning, the cuddles at the end of the day, the hilarious things these children say and do. The chubby cheeks, the toothless grins, the feel of a tiny hand in yours… You have small people who depend on you and need you. It reminds me of a quote which goes along the lines of “There is nothing better than being needed” or something like that. Admittedly, there are times when the needs become overwhelming and you crave some space and freedom. But gentle, sobering reminders from non-parents who dearly wish to have been parents will jolt you back into perspective. Give thanks for these wonderful gifts.
I must say I rarely complain about my work, but I’ve managed to get to the point of being able to do what I truly love. This is after years of slogging it out doing jobs that I didn’t enjoy like working long hours in hospitals and working away from home for extended periods. But say I was still working those awful jobs? Yes it would be a stretch for me to be grateful. But if I really tried I could have been. For the income, for the education I’ve had, for the financial independence, and for the fact that I was physically and mentally able to work.
As for my children? I certainly could be more grateful. I adore them to bits, and I have those moments – you know those? – when they wrap their arms around you and your heart does that smooshy melty thing. They’re simply gorgeous and they make me so proud. But the small stuff, there’s so much of that. And I forget to be grateful. I forget to be thankful that I have two beautiful healthy children, that I completed my family the way I wanted it to be, that I am needed in this way, that I have the opportunity to teach two very special unique individuals the secrets of a happy and healthy life, that I have them to inspire me to find the answers.
And sometimes I forget to be thankful that I can combine both motherhood and a career. It was only recently that mothers were able to pursue a life outside of the domestic sphere, and here I am complaining about the juggle. It’s hard, it’s tiring, bla bla blah!
So, part 5 of the Working Mummy Mindset. I’m going to be grateful, every single day. I’m not going to feel guilty if I can’t feel completely grateful for every single moment – this isn’t about that. But each day, I’m going to look for my blessings and embrace them. I don’t want to waste these precious years complaining my life away. All too soon things will change and I don’t want to have regrets about how I spent these years. I can be more grateful and I believe gratitude and positive thinking is a habit that needs to be cultivated daily, like physical fitness. And I believe that this will help me navigate my way through the busy weeks, months and years ahead. 🙂
Main photo: Imagicity.com [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo of toddler: By Larali21 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons