November is here–a time of gratefulness and giving thanks. Everywhere I go I see pumpkins, signs, and fall decor with “blessed,” “thankful,” “give thanks,” and so on, beautifully written in cursive. It is a good thing that these designers did not draw inspiration for these sentiments from my texts with my husband or Marco Polos (video messages) with my best friends. These decor pieces would say things that would not exactly serve as inspirational quotes for the season…
Imagine walking into Hobby Lobby with “I’m tired of cooking, so we will have nothing to eat tonight” written eloquently in gold on a rustic sign. Keep walking down the aisle and you come to pumpkins that read, “Everyone is crying” and “When you get home tonight, I am leaving immediately.” You come across a Thanksgiving centerpiece full of deep reds, burnt oranges, vibrant yellows, and small sign in the middle that reads, “I want to be alone and not talk to anyone.”
These thoughts are not the sweet sentiments people want displayed in their homes, but they are often the truth. Can complaining and being grateful coexist? Can I send my husband a barrage of negative texts throughout the day, yet still love my children and this phase of life? I would argue yes. Misery loves company, and I see this often in my mom friend circles. We can all whine (and wine) together about the never-ending hamster wheel of laundry, dishes, kids not sleeping, and beyond with the knowledge that we are all grateful for what we have. It’s a common language where you do not have to explain yourself or reassure others that you ARE appreciative. It’s just understood.
When I am around someone who is only positive and never has a negative word to say, don’t get me wrong–I admire her–but also wonder if there is a true subtext under the “blessed” header. Does she not complain because she wants to be viewed as only positive? Does she not want others to know she struggles? Does she not want people to judge and think she ISN’T grateful for her family or life? While I obviously don’t know the reason, I hope that this mom has a safe place where she can take down the “blessed” sign and hang up the one that says, “I’m tired and this is hard.”
If the Thanksgiving-themed decor at HomeGoods triggers guilt in you for not feeling grateful “enough,” know that you are not alone and that I complain, too. I believe that we can be irritated AND thankful. Exhausted AND grateful. Nostalgic AND blessed. These positive and negative feelings are not mutually exclusive and no sign, pumpkin, or hashtag should make you feel that way. Without the hard things in life, what would we have to give us the feeling of being blessed, anyway? I’m a grateful complainer and it’s okay for you to be one, too. You may just not find my sentiments on serving ware or throw pillows anytime soon.