How I Stopped Complaining for a Week
"That's so weird, Mom," said my son. "You don't sound like
"I know! That's the point — I want to change!"
I hope they'll recognize me when I've become Mommy Sunshine.
I had to get a car-emissions test today, and I didn't complain to anyone — just
went off and did it. Shouldn't I get extra credit for that?
But when I was watching TV with my daughter, we saw an ad for The
Biggest Loser — and I couldn't help saying, "I don't see how anyone
can watch this show." Normally, my kids and I bond over criticizing TV. But
now this was just another negative statement, so I added, "On the other
hand, I've never seen it! Maybe it's great!" My daughter rolled her
Today I caught myself about to say "I hate it when — " and quickly
changed it to "Don't you hate it when — ?" But I'm pretty sure that's
cheating. I've also found another way to cheat: I'll say I hate something and
then add, "That's not a complaint. It's just an observation."
"Please stop," said my son. "I can't stand you trying so hard
not to be negative."
But I can't stop. If nothing else, this test is making me realize how often
I fuss about things that don't really bother me.
Progress! I've had a headache for a few hours. (Not a complaint. Just an
observation.) So when the supermarket checkout lady asked, "How are
you?" I could've launched into my sad story — but instead, I just replied,
"Great, thanks. I love your nails. Where'd you get them done?"
Biting back the real answer didn't cure my headache, but it did improve my
self-image. Now I can see myself as the type of person who's friendly to store
employees and cheerful in the face of adversity.
Even when you've put a sock in your complaining, it's not easy to stay
positive. Last night, my women's hockey team lost to a rival that I swear is
not as good as we are. Back in the locker room, one of my fellow players said,
"That was fun." I just looked at her. How could I respond without going
on about the refs, the other team, the fact that it was almost midnight? But
instead of complaining, I expressed what was really on my mind.