The “Month of Gratitude” is Utter Nonsense

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gratitudeThe month of gratitude is upon us, and with it, everyone on our social feeds sharing their gratitude lists, their shout-outs to the people they are grateful for, and their humble brags. I’ll admit, it can get mildly obnoxious. Not because I’m not happy for my friends and family. I genuinely am, and I am also happy they are getting in touch with all they are thankful for.

I question where this sentiment was during the rest of the year. Thanksgiving gets close, and we magically go from complaining about Mondays and how mommy needs coffee/wine/a vacation (or something like that) to be endlessly grateful for the same family and circumstances we whine about the rest of the year?

Okay, I admit I have fallen into this trap, too. This critique is as much for me as anyone. I appreciate that November and Thanksgiving provide a concrete reminder to count my many blessings. To be honest with those who didn’t read it, last year, my November article for Westchester County Mom was about gratitude in the face of the overwhelming challenges posed by 2020 (gratitude is an excellent mindfulness antidote to self-pity, at least in the absence of crisis and co-occurring mental health factors).

My social feeds this year will also contain a modest helping of gratitude, though probably a toned down, less syrupy version than my 20-something-year-old self. And, hey, I’m not here to judge those who do the daily gratitude updates, even with the humble bragging.

My critique is more a judgment of the saturated gratitude we express this time of year than saying we shouldn’t express it at all. Why do we not make more effort to express authentic gratitude at other times of the year? Not humble-bragging. Not grandiose or artificially public displays of thankfulness.

I get it; it is easy to get lost in the daily grind. But if the last [almost] two years have taught me anything, I can do a better job at connecting with my sense of gratitude throughout the year, especially during times of significant challenge.

I say the month of gratitude is utter nonsense, not because there is anything inherently wrong with taking the opportunity to be thankful, but because so many of us can and should be acknowledging our gratitude more throughout the year. But please, do remind me of this rant when I am complaining come January!

Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season, readers! May yours be one of many, many sources of joy and gratitude. Just try to hold on to those same sentiments six months from now!

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Erin is the mother of one sweet, rambunctious toddler and wife to a talented chef. Professionally, she is a former special educator and preschool teacher, and is currently a cognitive neuroscience researcher and Ph.D candidate in Cognitive Science in Education with specializations in neuroscience, cognitive development, and neurodiversity/autism. She holds masters degrees in cognitive science, and neuroscience in education, from Teachers College, Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in special education (with an additional concentration in elementary education and a minor in English) and early childhood education. As the wife of a chef, food is a huge part of her family culture, and she enjoy both cooking and baking. Some of her other hobbies include hiking, traveling, jogging, meditation, animal rescue, playing piano and guitar, crafting, reading, and of course, writing. You can follow her parenting journey and pick up tips on great kids activities here on Westchester Moms Blog, as well as her website (www.themindfullyscientificmama.com), Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.

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