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.
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!