Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on how grateful we are for what we have before we get online on Cyber Monday to buy the new things we need to make us happy next year.
The Black Friday/Thanksgiving juxtaposition is a funny one to me, though I openly admit I will be getting online for some Christmas shopping before the turkey is cold. But I do try to take little moments throughout November to focus on my many blessings.
This year, I've been thinking a lot about the things I am grateful for as a mother that make my life easier on a day-to-day basis. Of course I'm thankful for the big things like my health, my children and a warm place to sleep at night, but I'm talking about the little things that help me tackle motherhood with a little bit of grace and a little less exhaustion.
Seriously, anything where I don't have to get out of my car is heaven-sent. When it's cold and I've already lugged the car seat out 10 times, I am beyond grateful for a drive-thru pharmacy, restaurant, bank, anything. And don't even get me started on grocery stores that offer curbside pickup. It is a game changer, folks.
I consider myself a loyal friend, one who will drop everything at 2 a.m. and be there no matter what. But when there are no emergencies and life is just going along, nothing beats a low-drama friend who doesn't need to be checked on and doesn't need to be constantly reminded that you are indeed still friends. These are the kind of friends who are up for a girls' night when you need it but don't need you to text them every day to maintain your BFF status. Thank you to the friends who make me laugh, support me when I cry, and can pick up after weeks apart as if no time at all has passed.
Alas, I am not and will likely never be the kind of mom who signs up to run the fundraiser or volunteers to make meals for all the teachers on conference nights. So I am so grateful that there are mothers out there who are. I'm in awe of these women who find time to organize class parties, book fairs and clubs. If you're one of these moms, thank you for enriching my children's lives and for keeping my principal husband well-fed.
Speaking of my husband, I couldn't be the mother I am without him. He asks little of me but is always there supporting my dreams, even if it means tightening our budgets or him pitching in more than he probably should. I always breathe a sigh of relief when he walks through the door.
This is perhaps the thing I am most grateful for this year because it has been a work in progress since I became a mother nine years ago. Maybe it's because my kids are older or because my idealized view of motherhood was unsustainable, but I finally feel like I have been able to let go of the self-judgment and standards that used to weigh me down. I do my best to keep a happy home while also pursuing some of my own goals, but when I fall short, it's OK. I don't cook fancy dinners. I hire house cleaners once a month because I'd rather write than clean. And if you see me out, I'm likely in the same sweatshirt that I wore yesterday (and maybe the day before that). This year, I'm so grateful that I feel like I'm good with who I am, even with all my shortcomings.
There's no doubt I feel that way because I am blessed beyond measure to have friends and family who take me however I am. So this year, more than anything, I'm grateful for all the people in my life who make me feel that who I am — right now, with all my flaws — is enough.