If Kids Gave Gratitude

We do so much for our children, wipe their bums, their noses, hear their screaming, comfort them in the early hours, go insane coming up with ideas to entertain them and spoil them regularly with a new wardrobe (kids clothes are far too cute. They dress better than us. Seriously). Although our toddlers are learning manners, we’re trying at least, they’re unable to outwardly say ”OMG mummy you’re so amazing, thank you, thank you, thank you” or ”that meal you made was sublime, well done you”. Instead, I take gratitude from their smiles, kisses and ”cheers mummy” (I honestly don’t know where ‘cheers’ came from). Quiet is also a sign I’ve done something right, or they’re doing something very, very wrong.

The best way to explain this is, when you go to school, college or work and you put your heart and soul into something. You put all the effort imaginable into a project, for it to be handed in to a teacher or manager. The reward for all your effort is feedback, you’ll be told you’ve done a great job and you’ll be recognised. Being a parent you’re recognised, of course, as their mum. But, after all the effort you put into their health, cleanliness, happiness, food – the list goes on, you’re met with silence. There’s no way to tell if you’re doing a good job, until they’re older and good people.

Does that make sense?

Nobody else can say ”good job” or give me a pat on the back other than them and Mr F, which he does, all the time, on their behalf and his own. I wouldn’t expect Linda in Sainsburys to randomly comment on how well-dressed and clean my children look, although that’d be nice.

Linda, if you’re reading…….

My children are sometimes the only people I see or speak to all day, they are my sole purpose, I’m a stay at home mum see, and my success in life and parenting is measured by them. Silly, maybe, but my days revolve around pleasing my two baby buddies. I appreciate the way they show me their gratitude with love, but, wouldn’t it be cool if they could go over the top and say how grateful they are for the things we do for them, just like we thank them every time they stop hitting each other and pee on the potty.

”Good boy for using the potty and not hitting your sister when she walked past you”

Meals. Our meals are pre-planned. I sit down once a week and consult with recipe books and ideas of what to cook for everyone, morning, noon and night. I then write a shopping list. I then re-write the shopping list according to where everything is in the shop (does anyone else do this, I’ve been told this is a huge time-waster, but lapping around the supermarket with two fractious children is worse? No?). I then take both children shopping. Sometimes ends well, sometimes ends in tears.

If you see me pushing a trolley with a screaming child in it. Please don’t talk to me. They’re just having a moment and I may be on the brink of tears because of it. Don’t risk your safety.

The next step is cooking and serving these delicious meals, that I’ve taken time to plan. Sometimes a good couple of hours goes into prepping such meal. Sometimes I marinade stuff, so that counts as like a day prepping. It’s then put into their little Mickey and Minnie Mouse bowls and onto their trays. The toddler will pick and poke at most meals before demanding something else, doesn’t eat that eaither and the baby face-plants nearly every meal. I’m sometimes hit with a ”don’t like it”.

Are they being serious?

It’s ok, I know they enjoy most of what I make, especially when it’s from a box, like fishfingers (I will take credit for fishfingers, I switched the oven on, I decided how many fingers everyone gets – I know how that sounds, but, you know what I mean).

So, for the meals that make them demand ‘more’ I’d love it if they said ”mummy, that was so delicious, I know you spent ages making it, so I will eat every last bit”. Wouldn’t that be sweet. But for now, a finished plate is all the thanks I need. Half finished is a slap in the face, kid, eat your peas.

Days out. Our outings, whether the three of us or with Mr F too, are meticulously planned out. I try to time things around naps, so to avoid any over-tired psychotic behaviour, it’s timed around meals too, a hungry child is almost as bad as a tired one. I have to pack us a lunch and some kind of entertainment. The potty journeys with us everywhere and so does my bag of tricks. Tricks being wipes, nappies, juices, the essentials.

The vast majority of our days out is at some point met with, whining, disapproval of something or tantrum. I’ve had two years of this and it catches me off guard every time. But, that’s what happens, you can’t please all the kids all the time (that’d be boring and too easy). The day surrounding any tantrum is always really pleasant and fun, our days out are aimed at the children, they are for the children. We take them to soft play, farms and castles, sure we enjoy them, but we also enjoy ziplining, eating in restaurants, comedy shows and we’d never do any of those with children.

We attempt restaurants when we’re feeling stupid. They say the more often kids eat in a restaurant the better they’ll behave. I don’t know who they are, but they should take our children to a restaurant. There’s no breaking in their dining etiquette, it’s luck of the draw.

Toddlers don’t understand the way we see days out. They just get dressed by someone, get hoisted into a car-seat and arrive somewhere for a day. Whether they enjoy it or not is up to them. All we can say is we tried. But wouldn’t it be nice to get home and to be thanked for taking them somewhere. Sometimes I feel my efforts are wasted (I know they’re not, days out are much better than days in). It’s almost as if we arrive home and the entire day is forgotten, they’re instantly distracted by the post on the mat or the cats tail dangling on the stairs.

I look forward to the first time they say their gratitude after a day out by talking about it non-stop.

”Omg, thanks for today, sorry I threw a massive meltdown and laid on the floor though, just fancied a rest”

For now I’ll browse through the pics of them smiling and know they did appreciate it. Well, it’s rare to get them smiling, or even looking at the camera. They’re mostly just photos of them in different locations.

At night. We have one baby that wakes for a night feed and one that wakes occasionally from a bad dream. Every night we tend to at least one of our children. When I hear that baby monitor start to grizzle, my first thought is, please God spare me tonight. Then I drag myself into whoever is calling and feed them or hug them.

If it’s the toddler who wakes up, then he always ends up in our bed. My pre-child self vowed never to bed share. I was stupid back then, I had no idea. For that night we’re subjected to rib kicks, elbows to the nose and the exhaustion of clinging onto the bed for dear life, while this tiny little dot sprawls out across the entire bed. It’d melt my heart if one morning he said ”thanks mummy for sharing your bed last night, sorry you didn’t get much sleep”. Normally he wakes up in a foul mood instead. I know how that feels buddy. I can’t really find his gratitude here, other than the drowsy cuddles we have through the night.

When the baby wakes, many, many times throughout the night, we’ll be there at her side.

Please God don’t wake your brother.

There’s a delay from our bed to her side due to the ”it’s your turn” argument. If he had a heart, it’d never be my turn. We feed her milk (probably need to knock this one on the head soon), we snuggle her back to sleep and will give extra cuddles if she needs it.

Sometimes these cuddles last three hours, three hours, while she cries and a little bit of me wants to run away. It was only one night that she cried for three hours, but it was the longest and most emotional three hours of my life. Nobody knows what that was about.

Once after two hours of listening to Miss M cry, I declared I’d had enough. I handed her over to her father, put on a dressing gown, stomped in some boots and left. I drove around town before I became ridiculously embarrassed by my dramatic exit. She was asleep when I returned home. But of course she would be.

The gratitude she shows me here are the huge smiles I get in the morning from her chubby, dimply face. Imagine if one morning she said ”you’re the best mum for just being there in the night, sorry I couldn’t stop crying, not sure why I did that”.

And wouldn’t it be great if we were thanked for all those bums that we wipe, the potty we clean out and the times we’re kind enough to let the baby roam nappy free, and she pees on our feet. Aims and pees, I’ll add. Every time. Potties are horrid to empty, I mean youre staring right at your childs business. Toilets are much less stomach churning for toddlers to use. Little potty training tip there.

When she pees on my jeans and my other pair is in the wash , or has worse on – gross – I just hang them up to dry ready for the next day, it’s only baby pee

They’re the only critics I have and the only ones whose praise really matters (Mr Firstooth matters too, like I said before he’s a constant praise-giver and I really appreciate that). But good things comes to those who wait and one day they’ll say ”great job mum” and that’s me set. A clean plate and a happy toddler terror is more than enough until then, and dialling the craziness down a tad, just a tad.


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54 Comments

  1. An imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum)
    January 23, 2016 / 8:10 am

    Parenting can feel like a thankless task. I think that is why it is so important to have time for yourself too. You are right that your reward will be when your children are older and you can see what lovely people you have raised.

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:39 pm

      I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed they will be wonderful adults, that say thank-you all the time

  2. January 23, 2016 / 9:24 am

    TBH that’s partly why most mums have a job, so we only deal with this in the evenings, nights, and at the WE. I’m just waiting for him to be a teenager so I can wake him up at 6am 😉

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:38 pm

      I should have gone back to work… Just kidding! But I can see the appeal. Yes, me too!!!

  3. January 23, 2016 / 11:54 am

    I think there’s a gratitude-age. Sometime after 8 in my experience, and repeatedly-&-sincerely when they are grown. Skipping the teenage years of course, teenagers are often too busy being grumpy-toddler-type-things to be thankful 😉 #weekendblogshare

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:37 pm

      So many people have said about the dreaded teen years, I thought terrible twos was as bad as it got?! Well I look forward to age 8 and will enjoy my crazy babes til then

  4. January 23, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    Sending you hugs cos I can relate totally. I am a mother to two year old twins, and I work from hiome so my job is to please them night and day. Lol.

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:36 pm

      It’s a tough job isn’t it, hugs back to you too! I can only imagine how hard it is to work from home amongst the craziness!

  5. January 23, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    This is so true, but they do say their thank you’s in the most beautiful way and that makes it all worth it x

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:35 pm

      They really do, thanks for reading!

  6. January 23, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    A beautiful post. I am just about to start on my motherhood journey – in fact I am due on Monday and really can’t wait. xx

    #KCACOLS

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Omg, so exciting, good luck with it all I’m looking forward to seeing updates!

  7. January 23, 2016 / 11:43 pm

    Lovely! You’ve described my experience completely. I was nodding along to the anecdote about you storming out of the house in a frazzled state after your daughter cried for two hours in the night time, only to feel immediately embarrassed and return home to find baby asleep. We’ve had a few nights like that, as I’m sure most parents have. I should call my Mum & thank her!

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one in the ‘storms out of the house’ club. It’s a hard thing to cope with all night. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  8. January 24, 2016 / 10:57 am

    I think you have summed up the life of so many mums, especially SAH mums. Your life revolves around the kids, family, cooking healthy meals & that becomes the main focus. The “don’t like it” after spending hours cooking a meal is such a bummer – I’ve heard it a thousand times! #HappyDays

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      It’s frustrating isn’t it, but one day they’ll understand. Until then we’ve got to grit our teeth and roll with it

  9. January 24, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    Trust me it will come, kids don’t really enjoy food till they get older, it is just an inconvenience to play. My older teens now compliment me on their meals, OK with a little prompting but I know they enjoy it by they amount they eat and the race for seconds, I find empty plates very satisfying, but hated the pushing around the plate and dropping bits on the floor from when they were younger. #KCACOLS

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      My son just says ‘put it in the bin’, eventhough he hasn’t tried it, then starts the whole ‘but you may like it’ debate. I’m looking forward to a licked clean plate!!

  10. January 24, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    I think children appreciate things more as they get older, although teens can be a bit ungrateful too. I think most parents have feelings similar to yours, but I am sure they are worth it in the end! 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      The laughs they give us are worth it now. But it’d be nice to hear it from my little baby beasts, God love them

  11. January 24, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    When they give you big cuddles or smiles at the end of the day, it makes all the hard bits worthwhile.
    Now my son is older, he sometimes comes up to me, hugs me and says thank you for no reason. It’s lovely!

    Laura xx
    #KCACOLS

    • firstooth
      January 24, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      Cute! I love random cuddles and hugs. It’s a job where you’ll be thanked at the very end, but I should thank them for the laughs they give us x

  12. January 24, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    This is a great post – I think new parents and those considering parenthood should read. It really gets across how overwhelming and difficult days can be. And yes, it can feel thankless. But I think there are also so many moments of joy – and when you see them happy there is a kind of gratitude to fing. Plus, as you say, they will appreciate it when older,hopefully! #KCACOLS

    • firstooth
      January 25, 2016 / 8:40 am

      Thank you! It’s quite isolating sometimes and when there’s no verbal thanks or ‘good job’ who knows if we’re doing it all well. I’m sure they will appreciate it when they’re older, or I may just throw in the towel… eek!

  13. January 24, 2016 / 11:41 pm

    This post made me laugh so much Lizzie! If only eh?! I have one tip for you though…online shopping! Saves sanity and a fortune! #KCACOLS xx

    • firstooth
      January 25, 2016 / 8:36 am

      I really enjoy shopping is that weird? But I don’t enjoy taking the kids into any shops other than the supermarket! That’s got to be online shopping for sure xx

  14. January 25, 2016 / 8:30 am

    Parenting is indeed a thankless task much of the time, but the rewards when you get them are wonderful. #MarvMondays

    • firstooth
      January 25, 2016 / 8:34 am

      I agree with that. The rewards of just having them are wonderful and they’re hilarious!

  15. January 25, 2016 / 8:47 am

    I think there is an age where this happens but it also depends on the sensitivity and awareness of the child. My 7 and 9 year old have started randomly thanking me for things when I tuck them in at night – like, thank you for a lovely meal mummy; thank you for working so hard mummy so we can have nice things. No one has asked them to do that which is what makes it lovely. The two little ones show me in a different way in kisses and cuddles I guess. #sharethejoylinky

    • firstooth
      January 25, 2016 / 8:50 am

      That’s really sweet. I think the unprompted thank yous are the cutest

  16. Leila ( A Polyglot Mum)
    January 25, 2016 / 10:05 am

    ha! this made me giggle…great blog!…just wait until they’re older… 😉

    • firstooth
      January 25, 2016 / 10:10 am

      Oh no… it gets better right?! Thanks so much!

  17. Leila ( A Polyglot Mum)
    January 25, 2016 / 10:05 am

    Woops, meant to say I came to you through #ShareTheJoy!

  18. January 25, 2016 / 10:55 am

    Ah gratitude, I still struggle to receive any and my boys are 11 and 6! Like you said though, the gratitude doesn’t need to be spoken. I see it everyday in their behaviour when in restaurants, I see it in their smiles, and I see it in the cleared plates at meal times. I think it’s only when they have children of their own that they will realise and that’s when we’ll receive the gratitude (hopefully). Great post hun. xx #sharethejoylinky

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      They show it in so many different ways, it’s their love that’s the biggest thanks. And thank you so much for your lovely comment x

  19. January 25, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    Parenting is the most thankless task in the world. And you can never quit!

    As you say, you have to look for the gratitude and the well dones elsewhere – cleaned plates, smiles and hugs …

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:44 pm

      clean plates after a meal are my favourite!

  20. January 25, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    Great post. You sound so organised with planning your meals. I need to start doing that- I think it will be much easier for us.
    Thank you so much for linking up to #justanotherlinky

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      thanks for hosting!

  21. January 26, 2016 / 2:23 am

    This sums up my thoughts precisely. I was a teacher for 7 years before staying home to be with my daughter just this past year. In my line of work, there’s plenty of feedback–from my supervisors and even my students. Yet now, with my daughter, it’s sometimes hard to know if I’m doing a good job or not, but you’re right: a smile or two and even silence is thanks enough. Like you, I hope that one day they’ll say thanks to me to…but for now, I’ll settle for some giggles and the occasional kisses and cuddles with my daughter. Thanks for such a beautiful piece, Lizzie!

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      Giggles and happiness is the best sign we’re doing something right. Toddlers are very tricky little ones to work out I’m finding. Thank you for such a lovely comment!

  22. January 27, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    I can totally relate with this post. I am a stay at home mum and some days are so long without a thank you. But my 4 year old is starting with the gratitude and it really is lovely. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      I can’t wait to get some feedback, my son said a clear ‘thank you’ the other day it was lovely. Thanks for hosting!

  23. January 29, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    Parenting can feel do thankless sometimes, or a lot of the time really. I really enjoyed this, I’m glad it’s hot jut me. And yep I write my shopping list like you! Thanks for linking up to #HappyDaysLinky x

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:51 pm

      Thank you! Lol! and thanks for hosting x

  24. January 29, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    I am really lucky, Little G is a little ahead of her years and by the age of 2 was thanking me without prompting. It does make all the difference. LJ barely says a word so I have to take her cuddles as payment in gratitude. To see they are happy is all the thanks I need really.
    Thank you for sharing in #HappyDaysLinky x

    • firstooth
      January 29, 2016 / 9:52 pm

      That’s really early I bet that was so sweet to hear. Cuddles are fab, mine give them randomly and I cherish them. Thanks for hosting x

  25. January 30, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    I know what you mean and sometimes it feels that way. But I think kids will appreciate things more when they are older well at least this is what I hope! My girls are 5 and 17 months so they still are not in the gratitude age although Bella sometimes surprises when says thank you and give a kiss and hug. Best feeling ever. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x

    • firstooth
      February 2, 2016 / 8:49 pm

      That’s so sweet! My son has just started saying ‘love you’, that to me means everything! I’m looking forward to having a little feedback from my monsters. Thanks for hosting as always! x

  26. January 30, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    Oh Lizzie reading this makes me want to img my Mother and say a huge ‘thank you’! Knowing what she went through makes for sobering thinking now that I’m a Mum and perhaps it will be the same for my two in time In the meantime like you I focus on the small symbols of gratitude and try to ignore the uneaten meals and indignation! Thanks for linking up this fab post at #sharethejoy x

    • firstooth
      February 2, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your lovely comment and for hosting x

  27. January 31, 2016 / 9:31 pm

    Oh, you’ve nailed parenting on the head with this post! Wouldnt it be great if our little ones could show appreciation for all the little things that we do for them. I guess it comes with time though, my little lady has started to say thank you on her own initiative, or make comments like how delicious some meals are after I’ve cooked them. All these little things make my heart melt and are totally worth all the tantrums and hard days and nights :-). Emily #MarvMondays

    • firstooth
      February 2, 2016 / 8:52 pm

      My son says ‘dis nice mummy’ about every meal, but rarely eats it, so who knows! It means the world when they thank us doesn’t it, they can be baby beasts, but absolute angels too x

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