I was recently standing amongst a group of adults, and not one person wasn’t complaining.
I was taught very early on, not to complain. It would make my Father livid, he would ask how would you change what you are complaining about? For years, I would argue with him, but I learned a lesson in it all. As a Mother, I am often surprised by those that get the most attention, fain how life is difficult for them, and complain non stop. I stand there wondering, do you realize you are complaining? Do you have food? Do you have shelter? I learned early on, that I could never complain (even when I was in severe pain), it seemed like an odd thing to do, considering there was always someone who had it worse than me. I always had to come at a complaint by way of solution. If I don’t like something, I had the power to change it, therefore, I had no reason to complain.
For the last 2 weeks, I have been at the playground, listening to one particular Mother, in a faint voice, complain about everything. She complains it is difficult to have 2 children, that she can never go out anymore, that life is so hard when her husband is away. She constantly hints at needing help, we jump in and help, but it seems it never ends. So, I began to play a game. Everytime she complained, I turned it around to a positive. If she complained about making dinner, I said “Well, it is so fortunate that you have food”. If she complained about her husband being away again, I have replied “you must be excited that he is coming home soon”. I wasn’t doing this for her, it was for my own sanity.
I realize though, those small complaints, lead to a bigger problem: Depression and a feeling of never being able to get out of it. I realized, my Father getting annoyed at any of the complaining, was actually teaching us to cope better with all of our moves and adjust to our new surroundings faster. I had never thought that it was a tool to make us more adaptable, and more open to new experiences, but it was, and is.
Just think about that for a second, if we taught all children to problem solve instead of complain and do nothing, kids would grow up to be better adjusted adults.
I have really been thinking about that lately, when kids actually complain, it is usually for something that their parent has the power to fix, like hunger, or being tired. They don’t actually complain about stress, money, or politics, those are things they learn from their parents.
So in short, I now think about the complaint.
Am I complaining about a service? If the service is terrible, tell them how they can fix it.
Am I complaining about Parenthood? Why? I chose to be a parent, and love every second of it.