When You Don’t Feel Appreciated
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We are one week into the month of February.
Every morning for the past 7 days I have written a little note and left a small treat in our ‘love buckets’.
I started the ‘love buckets’ the first Valentine’s after we adopted Gabriel.
These tiny buckets may be small but I think they have the opportunity to make a big impact over the years.
I am always looking for ways to show my kids my love but also for ways to strengthen the relationship they have with everyone in our family.
Knowing you are loved by each member of your family contributes to that feeling of safety and security we all want our kids to feel.
Each family member has their own bucket. Starting the first day of February everyone gets to write a note, make a drawing or leave a small treat in the each other’s buckets until Valentines Day.
We typically open our buckets after school but you could find anytime, maybe during dinner or before bedtime, where each family member gets to read the note and enjoy the treat in their bucket.
I know my kids look forward to this every year and you will probably get asked more than once when they can open their bucket but this activity is easy, fun and always special to see what everyone writes and shares.
I truly love this activity but I also need to share something that happened today.
February 1st everyone was excited about their buckets. We all wrote sweet notes to each other and I left treats in everyone’s bucket. But as the days passed by, I noticed my bucket was empty. I didn’t think much of it until today when I had slowed down a moment and realized again that my bucket was empty.
I felt a little sad and unappreciated.
Why didn’t anyone put a note or a treat in my bucket?
Isn’t this how motherhood can often feel?
It also made me think about how we as mothers tend to fill everyone’s buckets around us but we don’t fill our own as much as we should.
I knew if I was feeling this way about motherhood and this season of life, that you have probably been here before too.
So instead of feeling sorry for myself about not having anything in my bucket I decided to try and make some positives out of what I was feeling.
The first thing I wanted to do was tell another mom that she was appreciated and loved. So I found some note cards and took a few minutes to write to a couple friends. I wish I could send all of you one but that’s not possible so here is my love letter to you.
You are loved.
You are a wonderful mother and friend.
You may not always feel appreciated but your love does not go unseen.
You are doing an amazing job.
I also wrote this to myself and dropped it into my empty bucket. That way even if I don’t get any other notes the next few days I still have this reminder to myself. Words and affirmations are powerful friends.
I feel like we live in a society where women are taught that at some level that we are not supposed to want or need recognition, especially at doing a job such as motherhood where we chose to do so.
However I think that wanting to feel gratitude or even just acknowledged for all that we do is not selfish but a wholesome desire and when that desire is met, it encourages us to keep going and doing the good we have been doing day in and day out. Even just reading my own words made me feel more happy in my day whether I believed them or not.
The second thing I decided to do was schedule some ‘me time’. I haven’t been as fierce with my schedule these past few weeks I as would have liked so I made a commitment to myself to get to the gym tomorrow and enjoy a yoga class.
When we take better care of ourselves, we are able to take care of others better. Don’t let your cup go dry pouring into others. I know we hear this a lot but it truly is important and a reminder that I personally needed yet again.
And last but not least I said a prayer. These empty feelings I had, I wanted to turn them over to my Heavenly Father. And in return He gave me a peace that only He can.
After my prayer, I was reminded of a video that I had watched earlier in the day. It was about a little boy whose father had asked him to come help him with the fertilizer that his mother had just bought for her garden. The little boy asked his father, why do we have to do this? The father paused as he questioned this himself and said because we love your mother and loving her means serving her. The next day the mom saw the little boy in the backyard moving the fertilizer all by himself. She asked him why he was doing that and he said, “because I love you.”
Don’t get me wrong. I think getting a “thank you” or “I appreciate you” here and there is deserved and needed, but I was reminded that I also don’t do my job as a mother for a high five from my kiddos or my husband or even those rare moments of gratitude displayed by them, but all of my efforts are to love and serve my God and my family.
If your bucket fills empty this morning mama, I hope you can find simple ways to fill it up this week. I also want you to speak those words in my love letter to you out loud today. I promise it will give you a boost of joy.