Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Diary of a Chronic Complainer

Mrs. Love Bird aka "Chronic Complainer" circa 1990
Growing up I was a chronic complainer. Things were always getting under my skin, and I would constantly gripe about them - hey, I've always had high standards even as a kid! As punishment for complaining my dad made me write sentences. Yes, like the kind you had to write in school for talking too much. I had to copy down this verse a bazillion times on a tiny, yellow legal notepad:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . . .   - Philippians 2:14-15

Being the stubborn girl that I was am I continued to complain, but always kept this verse in mind even as an adult. This has been an issue I really struggle with! Mr. Love Bird even noticed it early on in our relationship, and I would tell him I was just venting, but honestly I was complaining. Since being married I've gotten much better at it, but I can see how easily it is to get sucked back into the complaining cycle especially with social media at our fingertips. In a few strokes we can let loose a flurry of 140 characters letting the Twitterverse know our annoyance with anyone or anything. It's so easy to do, but is it the right thing to do?

One of the things I see the most complaints about in my social media realm are the choices my peers make in their family situations. Whether the annoyances of sleep deprivation with their toddlers or newborns, their spouses failing to share the load of the housework despite them both working outside the home, having to work holidays or leave their children behind when they return to work after maternity leave there is so much complaining going on!

Recently, Mr. Love Bird had an honest conversation with me about complaining and owning up to the choices we make. It brought back a high school memory for me . . .

I went to a girls' school which had weekly chapel which was a weekly non-religious community gathering session. Various guests would come impart their wisdom on us and one of the most vivid I remember is a man who talked about the choices we make and how we have to live with them. The visitor fanned his hand behind his head and said the word "Choices!" It's stuck with me ever since. 

The mnemonic device he used has especially entered my head as I think about siblings for my Lil Love Bird (lately she's been asking for a "little bruddah" -  Lord, help me!). It was one thing before having her when my peers who were already parents would warn me about what was to come. I would shrug them off confident that I could easily handle it, but now living the reality of parenthood is completely different. It's as though I've learned my lesson and am in no rush to go through this process all over again. In the midst of hairy moments with Nia I often turn to my husband and say, "Imagine a newborn added to this situation!," and we both look in horror at each other and shudder.

No thank you! 

Of course we all have the right to complain, and I know it's as easy to close out a screen full of complaints, mute, de-friend etc. (yes, I've de-friended based on complaining), but honestly I've made my bed, and I'm going to lie in it. At this point I'm just not ready to CHOOSE to make it any more complicated!

I know I could turn this blog into a major complaint space, and it would be my right to do so, but instead I decided to accept my choices I've made whether it be about motherhood, living in one of the most expensive cities in the world (it drives me bonkers when folks complain about the cost of living in NYC!), or my decision to exit the corporate arena. Instead of complaining I'm living and have decided to bloom where I'm planted . . .

And pray a whole lot in the process! 

What are your thoughts on the rampant complaining throughout social media? Have you ever de-friended/muted someone for complaining?

    P.S. If you need help in this area I highly recommend considering the 4 questions Harriette Cole shared at Blogalicious before you post anything on social media. It's kept me in check often!