Complain less and be kinder in 2015. You will like the results.

by Mary Ann on January 8, 2015

blender flowersI came home last week and on the counter was my blender…filled with flowers. I loved the flowers but I couldn’t understand why they were in the blender!!

When we moved last time I really downsized. I kept only two vases. Right now one is filled with plants I am rooting. That left just the red one under the sink…too narrow of a neck for the flowers I found on my counter, in the blender.

I took a minute and stood in the middle of my living room and thought about what I might have that I could put this big, beautiful bouquet of flowers in. I mean, I couldn’t leave them in the blender. Right? Only a man would put flowers in the blender! Right?

I have a curio cupboard filled with stuff. Some things are antiques from long dead family members, some are just odds and ends picked up here and there. In the cupboard I discovered a beautiful clear, glass cookie jar. It was perfect for the flowers and the arrangement looked so nice.

Here is the thought that I had when the flowers were arranged in that beautiful, glass jar:glass vase flowers

“What’s wrong with Don? He could have found this jar just as easily as I did. Why in the heck did he put those flowers in the blender? Men!”

Now in my past life this is what would have happened when Don got home:

Hi Don. Thanks for the flowers. They are beautiful but why did you put them in the blender?”

“Well, I couldn’t find a big enough vase.”

“Honey, there was a glass jar right in the curio cupboard. You can see it as well as I can. You just have to look. Anyway, thank you for the flowers. I love them.”

Ladies, does this scenario sound familiar to you? I am sure it does. Here my man brought home flowers but he would have gone away feeling unappreciatedquotesunappreciated for his efforts and I, well, I would think that despite the fact that he brought home flowers, he was kind of lame for not putting them in something pretty, instead of the blender. In fact, I would have thought he was sort of lazy for not taking the time to find anything else.

Fortunately, I had time to think this through before Don got home and I am old enough to have been down this road many times in the past. I was looking for a new road! Here is what I realized. He wouldn’t have been free to use that glass jar even if he had seen it. Why? Because he wouldn’t have known if it was an antique or just stuff. If he had used it I might have come home and said, “Gee Don, why did you use that. It was Great Aunt May’s and it is worth a lot of money. Why do you think it was in the curio in the first place!” I’ll bet this sounds familiar to many men. They just can’t do it right.

I was telling this story to a friend the other day. She nodded her head and said, “Monty is always saying, “Can I do anything right for you? Anything?” Gee, Don has said that to me! It isn’t that they really can’t do anything right. It’s really about complaining because it isn’t done the way we think it should be done.

This is the bind that our husbands and our children find themselves in quite often. They do the best they can but it just doesn’t make the grade and we let them know it.

I propose that it is better, more often than not, to just accept what is offered without complaint or criticism.

For example:

  • Your husband bring flowers home, can’t find a vase, and so he puts them in the blender. Kiss him soundly and say, “Thank you so much sweetheart!”
  • Your 12 year old son does the dishes without complaint. When he is done you notice that he hasn’t swept the floor so you point it out. “Sigh”, this comes from the son. It would be better to give a quick hug, say thanks and acknowledge that the job was done with out complaint. Then, if you must,  at a much later time mention that when he does the dishes next time would he please sweep the floor.
  • Your husband helps the kids with their baths. There is a lot of laughing and good times going on. When they are done and in PJ’s and sittingimages on the couch you huff out of the bathroom because there is water all over the place and the towels are on the bedroom floor. You do one of two things – march into the living room, angry that you are again stuck with cleaning up, and loudly ask everyone to go clean up the floor and hang up their towels or you stay quiet and just put on your martyr face so that HE knows that you are upset. It would be better to join everyone in the living room, even if for only a few minutes. Give some quick hugs, thank your spouse for a job well done and then quietly wipe up the floor and hang up the towels. Later, in a day or two, if you must, you then ask him to wipe up the floor and have the kids hang up the towels next time, please, with a smile.
  • Your five year old sets the table for dinner. He forgets the napkins and two plates don’t have forks. He comes to you beaming from ear to ear and lets you know he has done the job. You point out that there are no napkins and forks are missing. Job gets finished, smile gone. It might be better to give the five year old a big hug and ask him if he wants to learn how to fold napkins in a really cool, new way. Sure he does. You show him how, help him do it and now there are napkins on the table. You quietly put on the two missing forks. Later you have a Family Learning Time and everyone practices setting the table.

There are three things I am pointing out here:

  • Sometimes it is wise to just accept the job as is and be grateful. No complaining!
  • Timing in teaching is everything. We all want to feel valued for what we do even if it isn’t perfect.
  • Even though we want our family to do their best, their best isn’t always going to be our idea of “best”.

I have two goals for 2015. One is a carry over from 2014 – stop complaining. The second is the other half of the first, be kinder. Let’s all complain less and be kinder in 2015. I think we will like the results.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ember January 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm

What an amazing way to look at things!!! I for sure need to work on being grateful even if things aren’t my “perfect”. I grew up hearing “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” The other side of it was; “Anything worth doing right is worth doing yourself.” Meaning nobody could do it “right”, but whomever wanted the job done and in their way. Time to remove the fog from my eyes and see the beauty in my life more clearly. Thank you!


Mary Ann January 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I think anyone over the age of 30 grew up hearing that same thing. I heard it a lot and so I, like you, have had to get the binders off. As it says in the Bible, “we see through a glass darkly”. : )


Roger January 13, 2015 at 9:20 am

This is very true Marry. There are many times I have never felt appreciated by my spouse and think I have been just as guilty because it did not meet my own expectations of how it should be done. Will have to add these tips to my own communications tool box. Thanks.


Mary Ann January 13, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Yup, it is certainly a two sided sword that can cut us down. : )


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