Thursday, December 16, 2010

Re-frame it

Lately it seems like all I do is complain. I complain about money, about our house, about my relationship with my husband, about my lack of “time off”, about my son, about work, about it all. So many of the conversations I have in my head and aloud end in “why me???” and people, let me tell you, my mother never allowed us to act that way growing up. She wouldn’t stand for it. Her stock answer whenever one of us started complaining: Guess what, kiddo? You may think you have things pretty bad but someone out there has it much worse. Guaranteed.

So it was with some measure of comfort that I learned about “re-framing“ through Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Ms. Rubin gave a name to what my mother always tried to teach us: take the negative way you think about things and “re-frame” those thoughts into something more positive. Perhaps you’ll realize you don’t have it so bad at all.

Here is my attempt at “re-framing”, Sara-style:
  • COMPLAINT “I hate walking to the train in the snow every morning, my feet are frozen, and my hat makes my hair look stupid when I get to work.”
    • RE-FRAME “At least I don’t have to sit in traffic for an hour to get to work and I get to spend 20 minutes ALONE on the train with my book/magazine/iphone with no one bugging me."
  • COMPLAINT “We’re constantly broke and why the hell did I go back to work if we still never have enough money?”
    • RE-FRAME “Though money is tight, I’ve learned quickly how to spend more wisely and what’s really important and necessary for my family. I am a budgeting MASTER."
  • COMPLAINT “My husband works 24/7/365 and we don’t get enough ‘family time’.”
    • RE-FRAME “My husband works 24/7/365 for US so he can make life better and more comfortable someday. Plus he really, really, really loves me and our son and tells us everyday. Oh, and he takes care of the morning routine with our son and that is absolutely priceless.”
  • COMPLAINT “I hate laundry. And emptying the dishwasher. And cleaning the bath tub. HATE.”
    • RE-FRAME “At least I have a washing machine that works. And is on the second floor next to our bedrooms. No lugging full baskets up and down stairs. At least I have a dishwasher that washes the dishes for me and it truly takes 5 minutes to unload. The tub though? That really does suck.”
  • COMPLAINT “My son drives me crazy when he takes 20 minutes to get out the door/refuses to put on shoes (or PANTS! why no pants? it’s WINTER)/takes a frillion hours to eat a simple meal and then demands a cookie.”
    • RE-FRAME “My son sleeps through the night in his big boy bed and DOES NOT GET OUT OF BED. That’s right, I said it. All night long, no visits out of his bed into ours. HIGH-FIVES FOR ME.”
  • COMPLAINT “My ass feels like it’s getting bigger from sitting at a desk all day (and office holiday treats are in abundance...helllooooo, cookies)  and there is no time to work out.”
    • RE-FRAME “My aunts told me I looked skinnier at Thanksgiving so let’s just believe them. And my pants still fit.”
  • COMPLAINT “Our calendar always feels full and like we’re constantly rushing around to this or that or the other event.”
    • RE-FRAME “A busy calendar means people like us...we have friends and family who want to see us and spend time with us.”
  • COMPLAINT “My house is drafty and leaky and old and needs new windows/furnace/garage/basement re-do and why the hell did we spend so much money on it?”
    • RE-FRAME “I have a pretty house on a pretty street in a really awesome neighborhood. It needs some work but my husband and I are handy-types so we can tackle some of it ourselves. We can walk to every possible store/restaurant/amenity you can imagine plus we have some fantastic neighbors. We have a good school at the end of the block. It’s the perfect size for our small family. It has beautiful moldings and built ins and creaky floors. And at least we’re not homeless."
I feel better already. I am not advocating Pollyanna-ish behavior because I think that’s ludicrous and people who are always looking at the bright side live in a fake universe. But maybe, sometimes, it helps to look at what’s bugging you and try to think about it from a different perspective. Perhaps a new view of the same old is just what you need.

How about you? What can you “re-frame”?

Monday, December 13, 2010

A little charity

My lovely friend and neighbor, Miss Pseudostoops, is hosting her annual "Give My Money Away" Extravaganza! Hooray! In her words, this is how it works:

I write a post each day featuring a charitable organization that I like to support, to which I plan to make a donation at the holidays.  I guarantee a minimum donation, then I add 50 cents for each comment I receive on that post that day, up to a predetermined limit.

If you want, in your comments, you can leave me some info about one of your favorite charities.  On Friday, I’ll choose five organizations that were mentioned in the comments and we’ll have a good old-fashioned vote to determine which one of them will receive a $50 donation.
I really like doing this: some small and dear-to-me charities receive a little spotlight, you make me feel all warm and fuzzy with your comments that lead to donations, and one of you will see one of your favorite organizations get a bonus $50 at the holidays.  Everybody wins.
So hop on over there and leave a comment. Help her help others! Isn't she so special? Don't you just want to squeeze her? 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's a baby snowman, Mommy!

Winter's first snowfall + one bored toddler = a miniature snowman.

He was so proud even though he didn't help one bit.

The time honored tradition of catching snow on your tongue 
as demonstrated by a reluctant toddler.