I overheard two women chatting at our local coffee shop today while out on a sneaky coffee date with the littlest man in my life. One was describing how her husband expressed how horrified he was at all that he had to squeeze in to his day with the kids while she had a day at work. “So, you mean I have to get up, get the kids ready, get myself ready, drop the kids at school, drop the car off to be serviced, go to the post office and the grocery store, then pick the kids up, drop Jack at music and Alice at ballet, then pick them both up and come home and get dinner ready? Are you kidding me?” No doubt there are a few smirks of recognition out there from any mums who are reading this. It was what she said next that interested me the most. “Does he really expect thanks for this? I mean, this is what I do EVERY DAY and no one ever thanks me?! I’m just not feeling the love.” After listening to The Happiness Project audiobook by Gretchen Rubin a couple of months ago, I’ve been addressing this mindset in my own life. I’m certainly guilty of thinking, “Really? You want me to thank you for getting up with Flynn this once so I can sleep in when I've been up every other day this week? You want me to thank you for cooking dinner this one time when I’ve done it every other night for the past two weeks?” Thinking like this certainly didn’t feel good for me, it achieved nothing, and it wasn’t great for our relationship.
Gretchen covers this in her book and questions our need for praise and appreciation. She challenges our expectation of always needing something in return – the “if I… then you” “but I…. so you”. I made a decision after hearing this chapter to change my mindset. I started doing things for others purely for my own satisfaction knowing that I had helped someone, expecting nothing in return, no appreciation. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I had to catch my thoughts frequently and challenge my mind to stop needing validation from others. I caught myself one day saying “I know you do all of the outside jobs and feel like I don’t thank you enough, but I do all the inside jobs and I get no thanks from you?!” Can you imagine how unproductive that conversation was? Nothing but running around in circles and we both ended up feeling terrible.
Initially after making that change I was thinking well, it’s all good and well that I’m doing this, but what about Dan? He’s not making any effort to change his mindset! This isn’t fair! But we can only control the way we behave, not anyone else. And do you know what? When I started doing things without expecting anything in return, when I started saying thank you and being appreciative of the little things without holding on to any begrudging niggles in my mind, something magic happened. I got back in to bed one night after finally winning a battle with a screaming Flynn at 430am and Dan gave me a hug and said “well done”. I went through our mess of a filing cabinet and reorganised it and when Dan went to find a receipt he said, “wow, you’ve done a great job with that, thank you!” Was this always there and I was in the wrong mindset to see it? Or in changing my own behaviour had I managed to allow Dan the chance to actually show his appreciation before jumping down his throat? I don’t know. But I can tell you it’s worth challenging your thought process and your motivations for helping others - whether it be for your husband, your children, your boss. Because once you do it, once your own feeling of accomplishment is enough, you will find peace.
I’m not going to bang on here about how important breakfast is for our health and energy levels throughout the day. We all know that if we grab a slice of toast as we run out the door we’ll be sneakily raiding the biscuit barrel by 10am – but sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles… like what I did there?? Ha.
After one two many mornings running out of the house with a grumbling tummy due to a grumbling toddler, I made myself a list of go to breakfasts that I can have pre prepared for when sitting down to porridge or smashed avo, spinach and eggs on toast just aint gunna happen.
Pile oats, chopped nuts, seeds (pepitas, chia seeds) coconut and your choice of fruit in to a jar – grab in the morning and add choice of milk and a dollop of greek yoghurt and you’re done!
Try soaking overnight for a ready to go Bircher version with chopped apple and cinnamon. Delish!
For the smoothie lovers
My favorite time saver is to prepare all of my smoothie ingredients in to individual zip lock bags and pop them in the freezer, that way in the mornings all I need to do is grab them out, add some coconut water or milk and blend it all up. So handy!
Some of my fave combinations:
Boiled egg and avo soldiers
I love the sit down version of this, as does my little guy which is a huge bonus!
Bring saucepan of water to the boil, then simmer the eggs for five minutes. Spread toast with avocado, slice in to strips and dip I the egg.
Don’t have time for all that? Boil up some eggs on a Sunday so that all you have to do is grab one out of the fridge, make some toast and eat on the run!