Something to Muench on: Gratitude & the weirdest back to school ever!

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Kimberly Muench

“It’s the last day of Spring Break!” Mia said as she bounded down the stairs into our kitchen about a week ago. We’d decided months ago that we were on [what felt like] an eternal Spring Break.

At first my teenagers were grateful for the change, now, six months later though they are continuing to cope well (thank God), I think they are longing to be living the life they used to experience.

Since we don’t have a lot of control over the situation, except how we respond it; I am trying to teach them gratitude. Some days that’s hard work, even for an eternal optimist like myself.

Finding things to be grateful for in 2020 can be a challenge. Or not. It depends on how you choose to look at your life in any given moment, right?

It’s about perspective!

I can tell you this, I am personally INCREDIBLY grateful that COVID did not happen a decade ago when I would have had one child in early recovery, one in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary and one starting kindergarten.

That would have been a NIGHTMARE.

And because I can imagine the challenge that would have been, I can totally appreciate all of the parents who are trying to stay on top of multiple kids’ school work while staying employed, keeping the bathrooms reasonably clean and stocked with toilet paper, and making sure the house doesn’t burn down as they cook the millionth round of Manwiches.

When I really think about it, there are other very important reasons to be grateful…for many of us our physical health has stayed intact, and for those who have contracted COVID, a lot have come through it without taxing the local hospitals.

How about the extra time we’ve been able to spend with our families? Dinner with 4/5ths of our kids for months on end would never have happened but for the circumstances brought on by the quarantine. Two of those kids (I say “kids” loosely because they are 22 and 27-years-old) have moved onto their next chapters and now we have the fond memories of having them home for a while…yet not long enough for any major fights or disagreements to break out, and for this I am super appreciative!

What we focus on grows. If we choose to let negative news stories, Facebook posts, and dark thoughts crowd our brain then we will continue to experience the negative.  But if we can begin to count our blessings (for example, at least we have the technology…though not perfect…to give our kids some kind of academic experience) then we can envision and experience a more positive path.

There’s no denying this is the weirdest year ever, not even the best Hollywood script writer could have come up with what we’re experiencing in real life right now.

2020 is all about understanding so many things like (a) how little control we have over many areas of our lives, (b) how to be thankful for the little things like going to Home Depot and just walking in instead of waiting outside until you and a very few friends are allowed to enter the store, (c) how important it is to be flexible and to “go with the flow” and (d) the only moment we really have is this one.

Parents, grandparents, adults of the world…WE are the example for our kids as to how to deal with adversity, lack of control, and uncertainty. I know it’s been a hard pill to swallow, but they are counting on us to show them flexibility, collaboration, and resilience so let’s truly be the qualities we wish to see.

About The Author

Kimberly Muench

Kim Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five kiddos between the ages of ten and thirty. She is a certified parent coach who loves working with moms and dads of adolescents to build stronger, healthier connections in their home. To learn more, visit her website at www.realifeparentguide.com.

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