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How to stay grateful as a parent?

Parenthood is filled with extremes. There are moments when you feel so full of love and gratitude. There are moments when you feel so overwhelmed that you feel frozen in place. One way to help you feel grounded on the rollercoaster of parenting is to practice small moments of daily gratitude. Taking a breather for just a moment throughout your day can help you feel more at peace, stronger, brimming with gratitude, and present.
“But I’m so busy!” you might be thinking. It’s hard to carve out time for things beyond the never-ending to-do list, let alone for something seemingly of such low importance as self-gratitude. Gratitude practices can be done even in the midst of chaos. Here are some easy ways to improve your gratitude attitude throughout your day.
First thing in the morning, whether it’s before your eyes have fully opened or during your (first) cup of coffee take a deep breath and do a quick body scan from head to toe. Acknowledge how incredible your body is. The beauty of waking up that day. The warmth of the bed. Just sit for a few deep breaths and notice the sensations, the smells, the sounds giving gratitude to each one individually. If you’ve awoken to the sound of a crying baby on the monitor, turn the volume down for just 15 seconds to do a quick scan and deep breath to allow your body to reset to a place of calm before rising to the day.
The physical washing away of the day can feel so cathartic, as if every stress and worry is literally washing down the drain. If you like scents like eucalyptus or lavender this can be lovely to add to the shower. Put a few drops of essential oil on a damp washcloth and place it into the shower. Inhale the scent, close your eyes and connect to what is serving you, giving gratitude to yourself with each little task. From the small to the big, it all matters and counts. The warm water, the ability to breathe, your family and friends. Whatever you can think of that fills you up with love, just breathe it in. Refill your cup. Then on your exhalations, release what is not serving you today. Doubts, fears, petty drama, just let it wash down the drain.
Once the baby has gone down for the night (or their first longer stretch) and before you’ve gone to bed yourself, take 5 minutes to write. Keeping a gratitude journal on actual paper rather than typing triggers and more visceral connection to the thoughts and words. We feel it in our bodies more deeply this way. Don’t know what to write about? Start by thinking about some of the things to be grateful for in your life. Here are a few prompts to get started.
What made me smile today?
When did I feel loved today?
What beauty did I see today?
Did my kid(s) say or do something funny today?
What is my favorite childhood memory?
Who is my favorite person to talk to?

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