Valley Voices

Give gratitude where it’s due

Last November, I started doing something that’s proven to boost my own happiness and productivity on a daily basis, and has carried me through this year.

When I wake up, I say (in my head): “Thank you for this day.”

No matter how sleepy, cranky or stressed I am, or how crazy the morning routine rolls out of feeding and dressing and getting two small ladies under the age of 6 to their schools, those five words start my day positively. I’m a big believer in recognizing and showing gratitude in my own life.

The other day, my husband and I were talking about how fast this year flew by and how the holidays are right around the corner.

“Ugh,” he said. “It’s going to get so busy.”

I just looked at him, had a flash of what I’d be rushing around doing for the next two months and then I got annoyed, like most wives I know would.

“You have a lot to do?” I asked him with a deadpan stare. I was dying for his response.

“Yeah, holidays are busy,” he said. Yes they are, my darling husband, yes they are.

And then I wanted to scream the following: “Do you have to pack everyone’s suitcase and snacks and games for the plane for our upcoming trip?

“Do you have to buy everyone’s presents for Christmas?

“Do you have to get all the end-of-year teacher appreciation gifts?

“Do you have to cook or bake or shake and make ... anything?

“Do you have to dig down in the basement for those silver branches and lights and decorate the house so our kids don’t feel like they have a Scrooge for a mom?”

You get my point. I could go on, but I won’t ... because that would be whining. I’m not the kind of girl who whines about positive and lucky stuff like this.

Typically (and thankfully) speaking, most of us moms pretty much handle holiday shenanigans. And, the holidays can be a lot. (These words said by someone who really does cut corners and does not go overboard with all things merry-making.)

But now that we’re in November, I feel that familiar pressure bubble up between my chest and neck and I’ve started making frenzied lists in my head to try to get ahead of the game.

If it weren’t for my daily sayings of “Thank you for this day,” I’d be that much more of a stressed mess these months.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy this season, I really do. I’m thankful and thrilled that my family gets to travel this year. I’m excited to eat delicious and fattening food. I feel blessed to be able to decorate my own Christmas tree. I’m grateful that the past few years have solidified a tradition with my daughters of making homemade frosted sugar cookies with red hots for decorations.

I’m just not always so sure how thankful and appreciative my husband – or any spouse – is when it comes to recognizing and verbalizing how much work actually goes into creating memorable Halloweens, Thanksgivings and Christmases. Most wives I know commiserate about this same thing. “They have no clue about all the extra stuff we have to pull off and do!” we tell each other. What do we want? A pat on the back? Yes.

Husbands, please tell your wives “thank you” – that’s all you have to say. Even “thanks” will do. Hearing it might just bring us to tears. We want to hear it, we need to hear it. For the food, the decorations, the suitcase-packing, the holiday card-making, the getting-all-the-gifts thing. It’s a lot to do. Hearing the words ‘thank you’ will put us in better moods, make us happier and might even create a more tasty dinner.

When I told my husband I was writing about this, he said, “Well, you don’t thank me for taking care of the stuff I do, either?”

I stopped short. He was right. I looked at him and said, “Thank you,” very sincerely. He smiled with pride.

And then he told me, “Thank you,” too. Then I smiled. Like magic, we both felt better ... about what, I’m not sure, but we felt better.

Gratitude is a choice – to say to ourselves and each other on a daily basis. Choose it. Say it. You can thank me later.

Jill Simonian was born and raised in Fresno and graduated from Sanger High School. Founder of TheFabMom.com, she is a parenting lifestyle expert for CBS Los Angeles. Her first book, “The FAB Mom’s Guide” will be available in April 2017. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @jillsimonian.

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