How to Be Content When You’re Not

I haven’t been very thankful. I mean, on the outside, I came up with plenty of things I was grateful for this Thanksgiving.  I made the list as part of our family tradition and for one day was genuinely thankful for those things.  I’ve been making lists to try and build up a stronger gratitude muscle in me. But seriously, on the whole, my heart has been pretty grumpy inside.  Maybe it’s because it’s my time of the month. But I don’t think that’s it.  My heart doctor all the way up there has been convicting me of a problem. I have so much. Yet way too often, I still pout and many times am ungrateful for it all.  

I’m having some adult tantrums, let’s just say.  What I want is pretty simple actually. It’s not that book contract or a lottery win. I kinda want that great hair  But really, I am just tired of little people using my toothpaste for concoctions or opening my desk drawer and “borrowing” my special set of coloring markers. Yes. Those are mine!  I am done with asking little feet to put a jacket on again, only to have to chase them around while breathing deep as to avoid having another conniption over something I should not get uptight about.  I’m a tired mom, who just wants to be able to lock my door from time to time and not have three noses glued to my door.  First. The banging does not really allow for a good quiet time. And while slipping notes underneath and shouting to me to confirm that I’ve received them is really cute.  I still to be alone. And I am dying for it to be quiet.  I’m sure you sense that I’ve gone off the edge and maybe could use a little vacation.

My tantrums are matching up to my kids. Which all has led me to come up with some ways to fight that discontentment we all have in life sometimes.  As I search endlessly for what Black Friday/Cyber Monday things would complete my life, I realized I gotta stop. And practice some of these ideas to help my adult heart to be thankful. Forget teaching the kids this lesson. This time, I’ve got to learn it first.

How to Be Content
1. Get off my phone

I’m embarrassed, but I’m one of the millions of other people in this world who is magnetically attached to my phone.  I know this is a problem, yet I still find myself texting when I should be present with others.. Like when my adorable children are telling me hilarious Knock Knock jokes they came up with themselves.  If I was off my phone, I’d probably be happier since I’d get a lot of delirious laughs into my day. Sometimes I keep my phone close because I am bored or wishing for something better in my life.  So I check my emails constantly waiting for something new and better to appear.  I’m smarter than that.  But sometimes I’m really not.  Get me off the phone guys.  Because if I am, I think I can be a better friend, wife, sister, and daughter. Oh right, and mom.  And if people like me more and I enjoy being around them, I can see myself being more content.

2. Get a home phone

To help me with my “problem”, I bought an Ooma home telephone on Black Friday.  Safety wise, it’s good to have, but even more, I think Ooma will give me better time with my family.  I always fear that someone will not be able to reach me if it’s an emergency.  Thus, Mr. IPhone comes with me everywhere.  Mr. IPhone is almost always an arm length away and he is always part of reading time, playtime, playground time. Even bedtime routine time. It’s ridiculous. With a home phone, I am going to challenge myself to keep my cell phone off the dinner table or even out of the kitchen so when every single one of my family talks to me, I won’t be distracted even for a second.  

3. Write thank you cards

It’s easy for me to list off a lot of things I’m grateful for. House. Food. Family. Did it! See?  So easy… however, I realized that listing things off is not building a genuine gratitude in my heart.  So I’m returning back to what I always loved doing. I started writing cards again. And I plan on doing it anytime I feel the grump in me.  I don’t care if it’s a super vintage card yellowish stained one that was from 20 years ago. I’m still gonna write a thank you to someone and send it their way. There is something about writing a few sentences of gratitude that helps me internalize and say, oh yes, I am blessed.  If I can, I will also try to write a thank you card to the customer service rep who was polite, kind, and refreshingly helpful. I should be thankful for that too.

4. Do real things

I realize I get lazy and end up scrolling my life away on Facebook or my favorite fashion blog, all too often.  When I go to the gym just to see people. Or call a friend (does that even happen anymore?) to say nothing at all.  Or take a walk to the playground even if for five minutes.  Or visit a new store where I don’t even intend to buy anything. When I go out into the real world and actually LIVE LIFE, I know that I feel so much better. I’m not sure why sometimes we feel stuck at home.  Maybe it’s fear.  Whatever it is, I think we should team together to eat with others. Talk with neighbors.  And interact with real people. When life is too virtual, I can feel myself screaming for some nature, fresh air.  For some real-life community.  When I get together with friends.  I LOVE life so much more. Plus, all of us, I believe are so much more fun in person.

5. Google Kara Tippets

I am adding this one a few days later because it has changed my perspective on life.  I have been reading Kara Tippets book, And It was Beautiful: Celebrating Life In the Midst of the Long Good-Bye.  If you’re a parent who gets grumpy over the labor of raising children, this book knows how to set one straight. To be grateful for baths and bedtime routines, for changing diapers and the like.


If you have other ways that you foster a nongrumpy, grateful lifestyle, please share. =)