Wednesday, April 20, 2011

To Do #2: Start Saying Thank You

I got dressed the other day….
Yes, I put clothes on everyday, but I don’t always get dressed. You know what I mean. I did my hair, I put on makeup, I put on clothes that were clean and pressed. That kind of dressed. Believe me. This doesn’t happen everyday in my world. Anyway, as I was saying...

I got dressed the other day. When I picked Ladybug up from school, not one, not two, but three moms in the lobby made comments,
“May I help you? Oh! Ladybug’s Mom! I didn’t recognize you! You look good!”
“Wow, you look great!”
“You really do look pretty.”
I get this pretty much every time I get cleaned up. There’s a tremendous difference between the cleaned-up me and the throw-on-the-workout-gear-and-head-out-the-door me. My typical response to these statements,
“Yeah, I’m not really that ugly.”
“Yep, I clean up gooood, don’t I?”
And then I launch into some explanation for looking better than usually do.

Well, on the aforementioned day, (aforementioned, now there’s a $2-word for ya!) as I was justifying my look, a mom-friend tapped me on the shoulder and said,
"You could just say ‘Thank You’.”

That simple, yet totally obvious statement really got me thinking about all the times I don’t say ‘Thank you’ – and the impact that has. Not only do some very nice people go unthanked, but it invalidates their kindness. And let's face it, it's just another way of telling everyone how much I think I suck. So, in an effort to help myself realize that I do not suck, I’ve decided to start saying ‘Thank you’ -- and not just to people who exact kindness on me. I’m going to open my eyes and recognized the many thankable acts that occur everyday.

Case in point:

Last week I was hustling kids out the door and into the car. We were late. I was stressed. And I’d forgotten where I’d put BuddyBoy’s cough drops. I frantically ran into The Man’s home office and demanded that he help me find them. He looked up, and in his most annoying husbandly voice, started asking me if I’d looked in all the obvious places. “AH! Whatever! Gotta go!”, I screeched as I dashed out the door. As I was in the car, seconds away from burning rubber out the driveway, The Man enters the garage, sticks his head in my window, reaches across me and starts grabbing for BuddyBoy’s backpack. Hello?!?!?! What part of “Gotta go!” didn’t he understand? Can he not tell time? I snapped at him to get out of the way, he snapped back that he was only trying to help. I tore out of the driveway feeling like a loser who can’t keep track of anything, who’s mean to her husband, and who’s setting a fine example of how not to be a good Mommy. Ugh. I suck.

On the way home, I was trying to think of the best way to apologize for my behavior. It was tough because I really felt like he was partially to blame. He does this kind of thing to me all the time. I’m racing to get the kids some place on time and just as we’re ready to pull out of the garage, he comes out and wants to give on more hug, one more kiss, one more goodbye. Why can’t he do that 60 seconds earlier? Does he not realize what 60 means in my world?! As my mind went down this path, I realized I couldn’t offer an apology that wasn’t laced with resentment. And besides, I’m not apologizing anymore, remember? (see To Do #1.)

I stopped thinking about apologizing. Instead, I started thinking about what he was actually trying to do. Help. He could have just stayed in his office going about his business, but he didn’t. He got up and tried to do something. Sure, it would have been nice if he’d done it a little sooner, but still…. He was trying to help. So, instead of walking in the door and giving him an, “I’m sorry, but….”, I gave him a kiss and thanked him for trying to help me. The result was beautiful. He felt appreciated. I felt lucky to have such an involved and caring husband. Nobody felt resentful. We actually exchanged a couple of laughs about how we’re so predictable in that sit-com kind of way (especially after I found the cough drops in my pocket.) Focusing on the positive instead of dwelling on who did what wrong left us both feeling happy, appreciated and…well…un-sucky.

Up next: To Do #3 – Laugh More….

1 comment:

Almost Precious said...

Life can be hectic, full of demands and most of all it can truly stress us out. But you're right that it is no excuse for not showing our appreciation for favors received, be they big or small. I think sometimes I tend to shrug off compliments because I'm uncomfortable with them, I don't look at myself as being pretty or having any special attributes. Often I wonder if the compliment is sincere or just meaningless flattery. Still it doesn't matter, if the person is being kind a simple thank you is in order. So I'll have to take this page from your book of wisdom. Thank you. :)