Since Bibi Lynch wrote her article in the guardian, and various bloggers responded (to which they had some thoughtful some erratic and sometimes bizarre reactions from Bibi herself) I have been thinking about being grateful.
This isn’t a post about that article at all, I have no idea how that woman feels – I don’t understand what she was getting at, but that’s not the point. This post is about my thoughts about being grateful and moaning about it.
Something that has come to me when thinking is this: being grateful isn’t the opposite of moaning or complaining. They are different things, and should be treated as such.
ALL humans need to vent. We have language and sometimes we need to use it to express our emotions.
Toddlers are unreasonable and irrational and make very little sense. They are learning and most parents have infinite patience with this. Teenagers (so I’ve heard) are unreasonable, irrational and make very little sense. They will move out soon, most parents manage to keep their cool most of the time. (I have heard that there is a glory age, between 7 and 12 where we have a brief reprieve before the teenage years? Please God.)
I have had a bad morning. I’m absolutely sick of feeling crap every day and having to rely on my husband for everything (come ON second trimester loveliness – where the hell are you?!) and today it all went a bit wrong. Flat tyre, ill baby, pressure at work, sleepless night etc etc. So I will moan, complain and eat something made of buttery pastry. AND drink coffee with caffeine (so sue me). And I will not allow anyone to make me feel guilty about a little complaining.
There is always someone who has it worse, there are always worse situations you could compare yours to. But it’s not fair to do that. I believe that when you are feeling an emotion you are feeling it – the why doesn’t matter, in fact it completely undermines how you are feeling and makes you feel worse.
Of course you can be grateful and moan at the same time. You can moan about things you are grateful for.
This struck me yesterday when I was talking to a woman at work who returned from maternity leave. She is one of the strongest people I have ever come across. She has lost 3 babies, around half way through pregnancy, and gave birth to her fourth last year. She was 11 weeks early and the woman’s birth story was more horrific than you can imagine. It made me grateful for how Joni was born. Grateful for the experience that has traumatised me. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t be moaning/complaining/talking about it running up to the birth of number 2. Because my trauma was real, and has had a huge effect on me emotionally. Of course others have had it worse, I mean Joni and I are still alive, but I feel how I feel.
I’m never going to apologise for moaning or complaining – sometimes I need to – EVERYONE does, parent or not.
Can we all just agree that when someone moans or complains we understand that they know other people have it worse and we know that they are grateful for all they have? Thanks!