Nikki Lamberg encourages making a practice of finding surprising things to be thankful for, every day of the year.
Although the official day of thanks has now passed, every day is an opportunity to be grateful.
Recently I was listening to a podcast that suggested starting each day with a “grateful eight.” Eight things, every day, spoken aloud or written down, of things you are grateful for. And if you could find a friend to hold you accountable for it, then you might be less likely to give up by day three.
These “grateful eight” things do not have to be momentous. In fact, often they are likely not.
Some things that often end up on my grateful eight are: a beautiful sunrise, that first cup of coffee, sleepy morning snuggles from my kids, a great podcast to get me going, are just a few that make the list.
The goal is to dig a little though, and not keep the same grateful eight every morning. Get under the surface of the easy stuff, and really find the good in what sometimes just feels like a whole lot of mess.
For example, do you sometimes feel frustrated when you wake up to a counter full of dishes that you didn’t have time for or feel like washing the night before? Do you ever reflect on why that might be, though? Maybe instead of doing the dishes, you chose to sit around the table as a family, talking about your days, and what’s on the agenda for tomorrow. Or maybe it was an extra-long bedtime story because your child wasn’t quite sleepy yet, so you honored their request, which helped them to fall asleep faster. Perhaps the time spent not washing the dishes was time spent showing your kids that they matter, by being attentive and present. By asking them about their day, showing them that you care about what’s going on in their lives.
What about the toys on the floor, books and dolls strewn about? Is it because you decided that everyone would put down the electronics for the night and instead you played a board game and read some books? Perhaps the time spent being in the moment with your kids instead of scrolling through your phone, made all the difference in the world to your child. Maybe your paying attention to them, instead of your phone, made them feel important too. Maybe it was one more way of saying you love them, and letting them know that they matter, without actually saying the words.
Or maybe it’s shuffling through the fifth basket of unfolded laundry just to find your favorite shirt. “Dear Lord, thank you for my washer and dryer that cleans our clothes, so I can spend my time doing other things. Thank you for allowing us the resources to ensure we have those clean clothes, even if they don’t get put away every week.“
While you may be waking up to dishes on the counter, toys on the floor, or laundry baskets full of clothes, you made some pretty incredible moments with your kids that surely won’t soon forget. You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect— they don’t care about that. So starting giving yourself a little grace.
Your kids aren’t going to remember that your house was clean every day. But they will remember the time you spent with them, how you made them feel, and the memories you made together. And that, my friend, is what being a good parent is all about.
I challenge you to take the grateful eight challenge too. Maybe if we can challenge each other more to see the light of the world, the light in our own lives can shine a little brighter too.
Copyright 2023 Nikki Lamberg
About the Author
Nikki Lamberg is a born and raised Catholic, full-time working, wife and mom of three young children. It brings her great joy to read, write and help others as she can, especially when it comes to infertility and raising young children.