With deadlines to meet, kids to feed, and a house to keep clean, life can be hard (and often exhausting) for us working moms.
In that exhaustion, we can lose ourselves. We can start to feel like there’s no joy and sometimes even begin to question whether this is the life we actually want. It’s not a great place to be, but it’s real, and it’s something I also experienced.
I know that I’m not alone, so I’m going to share how I worked through all of that.
The secret is to have gratitude for what I do have.
Focusing on the good in my life helped me because what you focus on dramatically impacts how you feel.
If you don’t believe me, take a second and try this exercise with me.
Close your eyes, and imagine one of your children when they were a sweet baby.
Imagine the baby asleep, their little lips, their little nose, and those soft baby breaths with the cute noises they make. Just picture that sweet child. How do you feel? Do you feel at peace? Do you feel joy? Do you feel calm and comforted?
How did imagining your sweet sleeping baby make you feel?
Now, take a moment and imagine your child as a toddler, having a tantrum in the middle of a store, completely flailing. Think about the screams, the people looking, and the frustration. Think about them lying on the floor, refusing to move, and you needing to get stuff done and to just get out of the store. Now, how do you feel? Are you frustrated, crunchy, a little angry? Because that’s how I feel when I think about that.
That’s the point. Depending on what you focus on, your feelings change. When you focus on that sweet sleeping baby, you have feelings that are positive and relaxing. When you focus on that same baby being a toddler with a tantrum, you don’t feel so positive.
What we focus on makes a massive difference in how we feel.
That’s why gratitude is so important. I’m going to give you a little bit of a trick on how to be more grateful each day: before you switch tasks, take a moment to pause.
Take a deep breath, reset yourself where you can, and think of something to be grateful for about the situation you’re about to walk into or about the task that you’re about to complete.
For example, whether you work from home or you’re commuting, before you close that laptop and move on to the next thing, take a moment to pause, breathe, let work go, and then be grateful for the home that you’re going to, for the kids that you’re going to see, for the food that you can eat.
Take a moment and just be grateful for the little things.
That pause is going to help you reset. That little thought of gratitude will push you to look for more things that you can be grateful for. When you think about the good stuff, you’re going to feel better.
If you can take longer than a moment, take your time to reset and watch a funny video, or read something that you like. Disassociate yourself from the previous tasks.
From work, before you move to your next errand, always take a moment to be grateful for what’s coming next. The same goes for even when you’re at home going between chores, you’re doing laundry, and you’re cooking. What’s there to be grateful for?
Well, I am grateful that I have water in my house. I’m pleased that we have a washing machine and a dryer in our house. I’m from New York, and in New York, we didn’t have a washer and dryer and an apartment, but now we live in a house. We have a washer and dryer, and I am grateful to be able to go down in the basement and wash these clothes.
I am also grateful that we have space in our kitchen to wash and dry our dishes. We got a counter big enough to put things on. Not everybody has that.
You can always be grateful for things, and they don’t have to be big. That’s really the point. They can be small, but if you focus on them, you’re going to feel better. When you feel better, you live better.
That’s what it’s about at the end of the day, living better and enjoying your life. So take a moment each day and pause between your actions, between your tasks, or between switching locations. Think about what you can be grateful for and what’s coming next for you in that immediate moment, it can be big, or it can be small.
What I’d like you to do now is to take some action. Because if you’re reading this and are not taking action, you’re not going to get as much out of it. So I challenge you to, at this moment, think about something that you’re grateful for and say it out loud.