how grateful should we be?

Saying ‘thank you’ is important isn’t it? And it’s a good thing, right?

The reason I ask is because during the first panel session at Blogfest (which I went to on Saturday) women were advised to ‘stop saying thank you for everything’. It was part of a session on ‘Motherhood and Creativity’ which discussed the idea that most of the childcare burden is still shouldered by women and that this could impact on our ability to be creative. The panellist who said we should ‘stop saying thank you’ wasn’t suggesting we should be deliberately rude, just that in being grateful we are perpetuating the idea that we should be doing all the childcare and household tasks. That ‘thank you’ suggests we are considering ourselves lucky that the men in our lives were helping at all.

bird and sunset

Hmmm. Now, that particular session was a bit contentious. There were some – and I was one – who felt the tone taken at time was distinctly male-bashing (I could write a whole other blog post about my feelings on that subject – you know the whole ‘my husband is irritating me at the moment so let’s all throw our hands up and say “men!” dismissively’ thing that some women get into) but it was thought-provoking for sure. Does saying ‘thank you’ suggest ‘I should be doing that so I’m glad you are instead’? Can’t it just mean ‘one of us needs to do that and I appreciate it being you this time?’

Is there not huge power in saying thank you? I don’t mean crazy-ass, power-hungry, ‘I want it all!’ power, I mean the simple, genuine power to make someone feel appreciated. To show them that you care, even simply that you’ve noticed? I think so.

My husband and I are bringing our boys up to say ‘thank you’ (amongst other good manners) and part of teaching them that involves leading by example and saying thank you to them a lot too. When they hang their coats up I say ‘Thank you, that’s considerate’, when they do something nice for each other I say ‘Thank you that’s kind’. I often encourage them to say thank you to each other. You could say that I should simply expect good behaviour and not thank them for it. Why should they be thanked for clearing up their own mess? They should just do it!

I wish they would ‘just do it’ more often I have to say! But they do like it when I say thank you and it DOES have a positive effect. I’ve found when I say thank you to my husband for cooking the evening meal (which, incidentally, he does as often as I do… possibly more) then the boys chime in too. Even our toddler pipes up with ‘Thank you ‘lishus tea Daddy!”

As parents is that not where the real value of saying thank you to each other – regardless of gender – lies? To show our kids that meals being on the table, clothes being washed, rooms being tidied doesn’t just happen; that someone has to do it and that we do it for each other. And we appreciate it.

Personally, I love it when people say thank you to me. So I will continue saying thank you to my husband and I will continue saying thank you to my sons, not because I should be doing everything but just because saying thank you makes them feel noticed and appreciated. And being noticed and appreciated is a vital part of any successful relationship.

Thank you for reading :) and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up with The Prompt at Mum Turned Mom. This week it’s ‘gratitude’ – thank you for the inspiration Sara!


20 thoughts on “how grateful should we be?

  1. Mummy Tries

    There seems to be an awful lot of male bashing going on, which doesn’t sit right with me either. It probably stems from the men in those ladies lives being useless, but like you I have a decent husband, so don’t feel the need to label all men as being incompetent a-holes.

    Personally I think it all comes back to the old ‘having it all’ chestnut. No lovelies we can’t I’m afraid. Until men can have babies there will always be this issue. Today’s society likes to perpetuate the idea that we can have our cake and eat it, and be a size 8. It. Does. Not. Work. Like. That! The consensus seems to be that we can have it all, just not at the same time, and I am inclined to agree.

    Sorry my love, rant over. This topic REALLY winds me up I wrote this on the subject a while back:

    R xxx

    1. Maddy Post author

      Totally agree we can’t have it all, not all at the same time – although as one audience member at blogfest put it ‘you CAN have it all but only your OWN all, not everyone else’s’. This makes sense to me a i think you can decide what is most important to you, make sensible goals and set out to achieve them, but you can’t look at what everyone else has and expect that too – the three kids, the high powered career, the beautiful house, etc. Compromises always have to be made. and yes, women are the ones who go through pregnancy and birth and possibly breastfeeding too, all of which has an impact – we can’t deny that and expect it to be the same for men.
      As for the male bashing, I don’t like it and nor do I think it’s useful. We all have problems in our relationships from time to time (well at least I don’t know anyone who doesn’t/hasn’t!) and it’s fine to need to off load on friends etc but just let it be that PERSON who is being irritating, not ‘all men’. As soon as he’s just a ‘typical man’ you’re undermining your own ability to sort the problem out. That sort of stuff perpetuates stereotypes and doesn’t help the cause of feminism at all IMO, but as I said…. whole other blog post… Thanks so much for commenting Reneé and I’ll go and check your post out.

  2. Marija Smits

    Sometimes simple commonsense (and kindness) gets ignored by people trying to make things more complicated (and political) than they need to be. The act of saying thank you is still (for many people) a way to simply show appreciation and it should probably be left as that.

    I do think though that there is a lot to be said for more women saying ‘no’ to things (something as a woman and as an HSP that I find difficult!).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Maddy. :-)

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Marija. I agree that ‘no’ is a word we probably don’t use often enough and that some things should probably be kept simple. Wish you had been at the session as there were lots of interesting points made amidst it all. The consensus was that motherhood can make us more creative because it allows us to tap into something deeper… although there are many other experiences in life that can assist creativity too. Anyway, I’m getting off topic now! thanks for commenting. xx

  3. Leigh - Headspace Perspective

    I really didn’t like the gender stereotypes of that session either, Maddy. Surely saying ‘thank you’ is good manners…and I’d be inclined to think that there’s a problem in the relationship if there’s issues with taking one another for granted/taking advantage/nit pulling their weight xx #theprompt

    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes I agree Leigh. And I think the problem with making relationship problems into general gender problems (‘Oh he’s just being a typical useless man’) is that you make it far harder to sort it out. You can resolve an issue one to one but if you feel it’s bound to be this way because of your different genders then what hope is there? xx

  4. Julie S.

    Great post! We should all want to help each other and we should all acknowledge the help we receive. There is too much bashing going on.

  5. susankmann

    Manners mean a lot to me, it doesn’t cost anything to say please and thank you. I always say thank you, please and sorry I say way to often I think. I am bringing up my children to be the same. To hold open doors to people and to help. It’s nice to be nice and it’s important. I think we should be thankful and it sounds like you had a lovely time at blogfest. I wish I was there to meet you. Hugs x

  6. Coombe Mill

    The more I hear about that Blogfest session the more I don’t think I like the sound of it, manners are a basic to me, important on every level and something I will pick my husband or my kids up on #ThePrompt

    1. Maddy Post author

      I agree manners are a basic. Its a shame that that particular panel was tainted by issues like this as there were some really interesting and relevant points made about how motherhood can make us more creative. I think the point about manners was an attempt to get women to stand up for ourselves more and not assume that household chores and childcare are just our responsibility. But treating each other with respect is at the heart of any good relationship and that for me means being supportive of one another and not making assumptions based on gender. And it may sound old-fashioned but good manners are a part of that. Thanks for commenting Fiona xx

      1. Coombe Mill

        Delighted to stop by, thanks for rescuing my comment, sounds like there were some interesting sections at Blog fest too. I’m happy to be old fashioned with my manners xx

  7. Sara | mumturnedmom

    Sounds like an interesting session! To me, saying thank you is simply good manners, and a kind thing to do. Saying thanks to my husband doesn’t mean I think I should have done it, I’m just grateful that I didn’t have to do it :) If saying thank you means that, then there is a deeper problem… This kind of gender stereotyping is unhelpful at best and damaging at worst; I want my children to grow up to be helpful, share responsibility and not take anyone for granted. Great post, got me thinking! Thanks so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    1. Maddy Post author

      I agree – I’m certainly teaching my boys it’s not just my job to cook and clean and my husband is a good role model for them in that respect too. And we ALL say thank you for stuff. There can be many issues for couples to work out in their relationships and making it ‘men vs women’ could make them harder to resolve. Thanks for #theprompt – I wouldn’t have written this post without it.
      Maddy recently posted…how to win an argument with a toddlerMy Profile

  8. Rebecca Ann Smith

    I’m doing Headspace daily meditations at the moment. The mindfulness take on gratitude is – quite simply – that it helps us to be happier. I’m not sure it’s helpful to frame the argument in terms of women thanking their husbands for sharing household tasks; rather if we all take time to appreciate each other, we all feel more supported. Sounds like an interesting session anyway.


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