Gratitude

Yesterday a chat with a friend about some reactions she had to having a moan gave me cause to pause and think about what we’re grateful for.

My friend had been told to stop whining about how hard things are for her – she’s looking after a 4 year old who has little interest is learning and a 1 year old who doesn’t sleep while her partner works full time. She’s geographically isolated and they’re trying to renovate a house too. She has every right to moan, its really tough on her. Sure she’s lucky that everyone’s healthy and they have outside space, but that doesn’t stop it feeling overwhelmingly difficult sometimes.

However, talking to her made me realise how different our situation is. Yes it’s hard, but I have so much gratitude for the positives in our lives.

Practical gratitude

Practically, we’re so lucky in our home. We have plenty of space so that himself and I have our own workspaces and the boys can learn in the kitchen.

We have a smallish garden, enough to keep the boys engaged although the lawn is suffering. There’s even a little vegetable patch we’ve planted some cucumbers, courgettes and beetroot in.

We’re also lucky that I still have an old work laptop that I should have returned this spring. That means no fighting over screens when the boys need to use PowerPoint presentations for their school work.

In some ways I can imagine that if boy3 had been born at the right time and I was still on maternity leave right now, the home learning would have been less pressured. We wouldn’t be organizing their learning around work meetings. But instead I would have been as sleep deprived as my friend and trying to juggle two older boys learning with a small one feeding and weaning and toddling. That wouldn’t have been easy either.

Our boys’ ages probably aren’t the easiest – if they were each four years older they’d both be able to learn independently and working and learning would be less fraught. However, I’m loving watching the process of small boy learning to read and write first hand. He’s doing it all by himself and I’m amazed by how quickly he’s improving.

Habit gratitude

We’re a family of routines and habits. We’re used to not seeing our relatives for weeks or even months at a time. So while we are of course missing them, its not the same as for our kids’ school friends who see their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles every week. I know those children are missing their families like crazy. For us, its not unusual to be video calling grandparents every week.

When we started home learning we stuck to our old routine as much as possible. The boys still don’t get TV first thing, they do maths first thing and get breaks together. They finish learning at 3pm and then have free time just like at after school club. We’re so lucky to be able to do that.

Himself and I are both so lucky to be able to work from home. I’m used to it and he’s adjusted. We’re still being productive and our employers and managers are sympathetic and supportive.

Relationship gratitude

We are so lucky that our boys get along, more than that they’re great friends. Sure they have their moments of shouting and crying and fighting. But they can also spend hours together on their own, negotiating and bouncing their imaginations around.

Himself and I have been through intense times in the past, living on top of each other when writing up our PhDs as well as the incredible pain of miscarriages. We’ve also ended up living 2 hours apart Sunday to Friday for 6 months when large boy was a toddler, due to job changes and house moves not coinciding. So being in the house all day together isn’t proving too taxing. His scalextric habit is mounting and my discipline with the laundry is wilting, but we’re ok.

Overall we’re very lucky

When you take all these things into account we really have a lot to be grateful for. Neither of us (or both) is working outside of the house, we haven’t had our income affected, the boys are willing (mostly) with their school work, and we have plenty of room.

So, when I’m feeling frazzled and torn, pulled in three different directions at any one moment and dozens over the course of a day, I need to remind myself that so many aspects of our lives deserve gratitude.

What are grateful for?

What lucky circumstance of mine makes you want to give me a good slap? I don’t mind, so long as its just virtual.

22 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. I wouldn’t say any of your situations would need you to get a ‘(virtual) good slap’ 🙂

    It just highlights that we all have our own unique situations to deal with during this time.

    Regarding your friend everyone has there own way of dealing with things, the only thing I would beware was if she had a ‘half empty’ perspective, but now and again for odd scenarios is okay!

    I’m certainly very grateful to my wife stepping up during this time, she’d have been at home anyway but her original plans of going to mother and baby groups was ruined.

    I’m also grateful for:
    – working from home being able to spend more time with my family and stepping in to support my wife with the children more
    – the technology to enable the work from home situation
    – the massive amount of money saved from everything being shutdown
    – my continued health and the ability to improvise keeping fit
    – my family and friends being safe from coronavirus so far
    – living in a nice house with a big garden

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think in horrible times like now we all need to at least attempt to focus on the good. This post ism’t just a bit of light reading I think it’s necessary atm, everyone is far too quickly consumed by thoughts of anger and dread lately, and this reminds us all to just be grateful for the small things we take for granted and the smallest/biggest our health. I really liked this x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved getting a look at the different things you are grateful for. There is nothing like suddenly being without something to realize how much you have. We see our garden now as more then we have in past years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post is so relatable. We complain about small difficulties in our lives while they are nothing in front of the challenges faced by people in real life. We should be satisfied with what we have and not yearn for gaining something more. Also, we should have gratitude for the health care staff, nurses, doctors etc. They are the ones that truly face the consequences of this pandemic.
    Thank you for sharing this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gratitude is so important and I really loved reading this post. You’re so right at the start about your friend, how she’s allowed to feel however she wants even if others have it ‘worse’. I’ve just shared a post myself where I mention how you only know your own feelings and situation, so it doesn’t matter if others seem worse off. I think all of your reflections on what you’re grateful for are lovely and so important to remember in this time. Thank you for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We should never underestimate the power of gratitude, especially during these difficult times. I wrote a similar post a few weeks ago. Mostly, I am grateful that I have a home where I can be safe right now, and the fact that my husband and I, and our two daughters, are all still working. And we’re all healthy. Every night, I write down 2 or 3 things that made me happy that day. It’s a great way to end the day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. Some days I have to try really hard to find something positive. On those days, sometimes it’s enough to say I made it through in one piece! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a lovely post. I could have written similar myself. It does make a difference when you look for those little things you are grateful for. I am so grateful my kids get along most of the time. The boys are best friends and yes, they have their moments, but love each other fiercely. My husband and I get along well too, we work together so it has it’s issues, but we have a lot of separate hobbies and keep our work lives separate from our personal. I know I have a lot of gratitude, especially now xx

    Liked by 1 person

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