Suburbia. Keeping up with the Jones’. If only’s… It can become so hard to live a happy contented life, and I’d say that living in suburbia makes it even harder. Forget about being judged by where you bought your jeans – your stroller (as a parent) deposits you firmly in one clique or another. And when you look at how many cup holders and storage spaces these new minivans and SUV’s have – think about how much better my life would be if each of my kids had their own cup holder. Or 3. And the new gadgets! Wouldn’t I be a happier mom if my house was decorated with Southern Living things and my kitchen was stocked with Pampered Chef? And wouldn’t my kids be happier and better adjusted if they wore those cute boutique-style clothes? Ah, the curse of suburbia.
To battle that, I’ve begun practicing the art of thankfulness. As a follower of God, I try to thank Him throughout the day for the simple things – thank Him for the green grass when I walk into my front yard. Thank Him that there aren’t any wasps around. Thank Him that the little rosebud is blooming and it looks so pretty. Or when I get into my car – instead of thinking about how hot it is after sitting in the sun, thank Him that my A/C works well. thank Him that my kids are quietly entertained (for now). Thank Him that there isn’t much traffic as I pull out onto the road. Thank Him that I got the green light. You get the picture. The more I consciously think about how thankful I am in the little things, the happier and more contented I become. And the smaller those little things seem. If I’ve just said thank you for a gagillion things when the baby starts to cry because he dropped his pacifier in the backseat, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal to pull over and find it. After all, look at how much is actually going my way!
I’ve been trying to teach this to my toddlers. Instead of screaming and crying that I only let them listen to Jack Johnson’s Breakdown 8 times, I remind them that a better response is to be thankful they listened to it several times already. It takes a while to sink in, but at least I’m being intentional about teaching them thankfulness, rather than just expressing my frustration that they’re whining after hearing their song an outrageous 8 times in a row!