Choose Gratitude Over Stress
By: Martha Eleftheriou
The last couple of months have been stressful in my world of parenting because I had the idea that it would be great for us to get a dog. A puppy! I don’t know what I was thinking (or not thinking) plus a 9-year-old, a 2-year-old and a husband! I have always wanted a dog and it was in our family plan to get one when my youngest started school, but somehow, at the beginning of this year, I decided that this would be a good time to get our puppy. This idea totally went against our two -year plan, but my husband supported me anyway and went along with my decision.
We picked up our puppy in March and now, almost 3 months later, I can honestly say it hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been the opposite! It’s been more work than I could ever imagine! It’s been non-stop cleaning up of pee and poop off my floors. Plus, my two-year old has also started potty training recently, so it’s been endless cleaning up, sometimes double the poops and pees! I’ve been going to bed at night so exhausted that I’ve fallen asleep before my head even hits the pillow. Our extended families, in trying to support us, have been saying things like “What were you thinking?” “Now’s not the right time to get a puppy.” “Puppies are too much work like babies.” Yes, all stuff I have figured out the hard way!
I’ve come to fully realize that now was definitely not the right time to get a puppy. If only we had stuck to our original plan and waited a few more years, things may have been easier. Or would they? There is never a perfect time to have children or to get a puppy, but I’ve come to realize it’s always a good time to shift my perception from stress to gratitude.
The other day, I watched my 2-year-old daughter play fetch with our puppy. I watched her giggle non-stop while calling his name and jumping with elation when he came back to her. I took in the sight of her hugging him with so much love and adoration, I couldn’t help but smile. My 9-year-old has started taking better care of him (albeit, very, very, slowly), but our puppy is the first thing she calls when she gets home from school, and he comes running to her in a split second. Sometimes all three of them play with the hula hoops and I’m laughing at the fact that somehow, this puppy has already become one of us- almost like one of my children.
I have never yearned for a third child, but in some way, I feel like I now have one. Yes, it’s been completely exhausting. Yes, I’ve wanted to throw in the towel many times and send our sweet puppy back to the breeder! But when I look at my children’s faces and notice the love, joy and excitement they share with the puppy, I know it’s all going to be okay. I will persevere, try my best to take even better care of myself, and remind myself to practice present moment awareness and gratitude while I raise my two kids plus 1. After all, no one ever said this parenting thing would be easy right?
My new mantra for when things get a bit (or a lot) crazy in my world of parenting is “Just for today, I’m choosing gratitude over stress.”
Martha Eleftheriou is married and a mother to two beautiful daughters ages 8 and 1 years old. She is a transformational and spiritual Life Coach, a certified elementary school teacher (OCT), Reiki Master and Yoga Teacher (RYT). Aside from passionately working with people in helping them to uncover their dreams and purpose, she loves reading, writing fiction and non-fiction, as well as taking regular nature walks. On the inside, she is an eternal soul seeker. She loves to question, ask, learn, un-learn, re-learn and live her life as true to her core values of love, compassion, honesty, and service as best as she possibly can. She lives with her family in King City, Ontario, Canada.