I see you, Mama. You had a rough day, the kind where nothing went right. Your baby projectile vomited all over the living room carpet. While cleaning that up, your toddler managed to get into the linen closet and pull out every single sheet, pillow case and towel. Dinner burnt, bedtime was chaos, and now you’re sitting on the couch, completely spent, staring aimlessly at your phone.

At this point, gratitude is probably the farthest thing from your mind. You’d like to complain, drink wine, or stress eat, not put a smile on and be thankful for the day you just had. “How can I be thankful? Today was so horrible, I can’t even…”

How to show gratitude after a lousy day


Take 5

Take five minutes to sit and think back through the day. Remember that goofy face your toddler made? What about that cute little messy face after eating lunch?

Pick 3

Find three things that you are grateful for. Often, you will get on a roll and find more. I try to find one thing I’m grateful for that my son did that day, one thing I’m grateful for about my husband and one thing I’m grateful for about myself.

Be specific

Why are you grateful for this person or thing? I’m grateful for how my son called me up on his pretend phone (his hand) and said “Boop boop boop boop” (that’s him dialing) “Hello, Mommy?” I’m grateful for the way my sheets feel on my feet at the end of a long day.

It can be easy to get into a routine of saying things we’re obviously grateful for: our kids, our spouse, our home, etc. What specifically do you appreciate about that person? What was something they did today that made your life a little better?

Remember the basics

Ok, so there are some days when even coming up with three things is nearly impossible. Your child was screaming all day and you got in a big fight with your husband. On those days, think about the foundational things you can be grateful for, that people around the world go without. These could include:

  • A bed to sleep in
  • Four walls and a roof to keep out the weather
  • Living in a safe area
  • Having clean water to drink
  • Having food to eat
  • Being healthy
  • Having air to breathe
  • Having the gift of life for one more day

These are basic things that we take for granted. Just remember that for each of these things, someone somewhere on this earth was not so lucky. I know it’s grim, but it’s the reality. You have been given so many amazing gifts and all it takes is five minutes to appreciate them and realize that they are actually gifts.

“The days are long but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin

I love this quote because it reminds me how fleeting and temporary life is. Babies grow up and move out of the house. They stop thinking mom is the coolest person alive.

This season of your life might be incredibly tough and you’re doing all you can to survive. But it doesn’t take any money or much time to be grateful for what you have.

What are you grateful for?

If you have a chance, I’d love to hear in the comments below what you’re grateful for.

Action Item

When you’re laying in bed tonight, rather than worrying about how much you have to do, take five minutes to think of three things that happened today that you’re grateful for.

2 comments on “How to show gratitude for a miserable day”

  1. This is so true! When you have gratitude it can totally change your perspective on things. It is important to remember how lucky we are to have the basics! I like that! It is true that we shouldn’t take things for granted because life is short!

    • Yes on being grateful for the basics! One of my friends posted on Facebook about how instead of complaining about how she has to clean the house or get her kids in the bath, she’s reframed her thinking to “At least I have a house to clean” and “At least I have kids to bathe.” Whatever chaos we deal with as parents, there are other people who long for this opportunity of chaos.

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