I'm tired … this is boring … why do I have to do this? … that's what we're having for dinner? … I don't wanna do my chores … I'm bored to death! … I'm starving … sigh …
This is the unending stream of whining I hear from my boy. My formerly-sweet 10-year-old has become an angsty tween. And what's even better? I read an article that said that girls develop emotionally about 2 years faster than boys, so an 8-year-old girl will have the same types of dramatic emotions as a 10-year-old boy. And, you guessed it, my daughter is 8.
So with school starting, starts the drama. That two hour time frame after school before dinner is the absolute worst block of time in my day. I'm picking up kids, rifling through backpacks, finding homework, having a snack, cooking dinner, keeping up with my work email (everyone sends out their end-of-the-workday messages right about this time of day). Add in tween hormones and it's a recipe for disaster.
As I'm struggling through third grade math with my daughter, I get the "woe is me" monologue from my son.
ENOUGH! I say. I get down in his face and say: "I'm about to go all Oprah all over your behind."
I went into my office (i.e., the spare bedroom, which appears in a constant state of audition for the TV show "Hoarders") and found what I was looking for: a spiral-bound set of 3×5 notecards. I grabbed a fat permanent marker and quickly penned on the front of it: "Spencer's Gratitude Journal." I put the directions inside the front: each day, three things (minimum) for which he is thankful. Specific things (no "I had a good day") and no skipping a day. I'll force him into finding that silver lining if it's the last thing I do.
I talk a lot about happiness & gratitude on this blog, but it's not a natural state for me, I have had to try to find the silver lining, the hidden blessing in the circumstance. He learned to heave those sighs from someone, after all.
So we're a week down and it's so far, so good. He's starting to look forward to writing down the good things that happen each day. Hopefully at the end of the pack of notecards it'll be such a habit that he wants to keep going on his own, recording these little bright spots.
Well, a mom can dream, right?