July 20, 2020

Motherhood at a Glance: Reconnecting with Gratitude




How often do you find yourself beat-down, exhausted and overwhelmed after a long day? I know for me, this scenario plays out more often than I'd like to admit. These moments are almost inevitable in life, especially during motherhood! But, it's what we choose to do next in those moments that really define us. 


Today's feature writer is my dear friend, Sasha Menkes! Sasha lives in Syracuse, NY with her husband, Tom, and their adorable two-year-old, Raine, and their two dogs! She works from home as an influencer, blogger, social media manager and executive consultant for few local businesses. Her passions include fashion, beauty and stylish motherhood. Sasha is amazing and I'm so grateful she wanted to share her insights on how to make the choice to practice and reconnect with gratitude.





When Lauren asked me to be a guest on her Motherhood at a Glance feature, I was so honored - but also a little nervous because it was hard for me to think of strengths that I have as a mom. I feel like I have it so easy compared to many - a healthy and fairly easy child, the ability to work from home and lots of help and support. But the more I thought about it, I realized that the very ability to recognize my many blessings is a strength. 

The most effective tool I have cultivated in my motherhood - and life - is the practice of gratitude. I am BEYOND grateful for my healthy child, my loving husband and supportive family. They are, and will always be, the number one spot on my gratitude list. But I truly have an infinite amount of blessings I thank God for every day. No matter what, there is ALWAYS something for which I can be grateful. Here are some ways I think about gratitude in my daily life. 









Gratitude is an instant game changer. If I get irritated at something, I try to see how I can be grateful in the situation, and that usually leads to me having a more positive and productive thought process. For example, I live in Syracuse NY, which has extreme changes in weather. If a sudden blizzard thwarts my plans, instead of staying mad, I choose to practice gratitude. I can think, “I am grateful for the beautiful city in which I live with its nature and change of seasons.”  






Because I have been practicing gratitude, my brain now often automatically goes to seeing the good in difficult situations, rather than ruminating on the negative. This is a wonderful  skill to have, especially in the many difficult situations brought on by motherhood. I do have to remember, however, to practice balance. Although I have so much to be grateful for, I still have had difficult and painful times (just like everyone else!). I am certainly not suggesting anyone use gratitude as a way to cultivate denial, but simply as a way to shift your focus away from the negative in order to be happier, more patient and more productive.



A simple way to begin practicing gratitude is my making a gratitude list. You can write it out, but my favorite technique is to verbally discuss it with a partner, family member or friend. I love having family discussions around graduate, because you then in turn become grateful for the things everyone else is grateful for! It is really fun, and eye opening! My son is only two, so he doesn’t fully understand quite yet, but I would imagine that this could be a great “game” to play with your older kids!





Ultimately, I believe that there is so much good in the world and so much for which we can be thankful for - even during the most painful times. Things may not happen the way we would like them to, but they happen the way they should. I will leave you with this quote, by Shauna Niequist, which is one of my favorites: 


“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”




All I have to say is, "YES!" Practicing gratitude is so so important in life, especially during the craziest year that 2020 has proven to be. It can be difficult to choose gratitude during life's bitter moments but when we can apply these simple strategies, it gets easier, little-by-little, day-by-day. Just to recap, here are the three ways we can practice and reconnect with gratitude: 



Shift your perspective and make a conscious choice to see the good in every situation


Stay grounded by allowing yourself to feel emotions while maintaining control 


Share with others and be willing to express gratitude towards others





You can find Sasha over on instagram: 

@SashaMenkes

And on her blog:

https://sashamenkes.com











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