On a recent morning at our house, I wasn’t feeling too chipper. My baby had been teething and not sleeping well, and my husband had been putting in long hours at work and school. It was Monday morning, and I was feeling fatigued and not ready to face the week. I had made a goal to be more cheerful around my children, but my prospects for good cheer were looking pretty bleak. I was playing with my kids in our backyard, and their constant pleas to be pushed on the swings, caught at the bottom of the slide, or helped with various other endeavors were starting to wear me down. I felt like snapping. But I really didn’t want to.

I took a long, deep breath. (Sometimes two or three work even better!) Then, I took a good look at my children to remember just how much I love them and how grateful I am to be their mother–even during the moments of fatigue and desperation.

“I’m a tickle monster!” I suddenly announced. I pretended to nibble on their toes as I pushed them on the swings.

We laughed, my fatigue was forgotten, and all seemed right again.

Taking a deep breath and counting my blessings doesn’t automatically solve my problems, but it does help me to refocus. I don’t think we should put on a Pollyanna façade and pretend that life is nothing but bliss. But I want to teach my children to handle the ups and downs of life with grace and good cheer. So when they whine, argue, make messes, or give me a headache I can pause and remember that this is what I signed up for–and even on the hard days, I’m grateful to be a mom!

QUESTION: When things get tough, are you able to step back and count your blessings? What actions (such as taking a deep breath) can you make a habit when you are stressed or grumpy?

Photo submitted by Rachel Sullivan

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