Friday, April 4, 2008

TRUE CONFESSIONS...My Thank You Note SHAME

I like to think of myself as someone with good manners. I say "please" and "thank you," open doors for people, know not to use the butter knife as my own, don't slurp my tea, and try not to fart in the presence of others. I possess a firm handshake and I look people in the eye when I am talking to them. However, there is one virtue that I totally lack, perhaps the most important one, and that is being a writer of thank you notes.

It is not that my thank you notes are banal or unimaginative. No, it is far worse. I don't write them. At all. It is not something I'm proud of. It makes me appear at best flaky, and at worst thoughtless or insensitive. It is ...my thank you note SHAME. Why do I have such a problem? The roots go deep. It isn't that I am unappreciative, although I'm sure it appears that way. I'm not going to resort to that lame excuse that gets thrown around far too often "I'm too busy." Everyone is busy these days. It is life here on planet Earth in 2008. Nor am I too intoxicated or lit up on caffeine, chocolate or the occasional whiskey to write legibly - and I know you ARE thinking that!

So, what is it? What exactly is my problem? My lack of social graces in this very important instance, which is a pattern repeated again and again? O.K., TRUE CONFESSIONS... it is because, I AM LAZY. There, I've said it. Lazy. And laziness combined with failing memory, otherwise known as "Mommy Brain" is just not a pretty picture. And it doesn't inspire confidence in myself that I will ever change. Although, truthfully, I really would like to change this about myself. It is rather humiliating. Take last month, I came across the list of presents that GIRL received for her birthday last...September. I'm good at writing lists! But, I have NO idea, at all, if I sent thank you notes to all the lovely people who gave her gifts. I have a vague memory that I may have succeeded in writing a few of them, but I am afraid that they were only written in my head. I say such lovely things in my head, too! Unfortunately, the giver of the gift never knows that I've said these things, because they NEVER RECEIVE A THANK YOU NOTE!

I shouldn't say "NEVER." You know, you never should say never. I did write a thank you note to my mom and step dad in mid-February for the wonderful Christmas presents that they sent us, most especially the children. Another confession? I actually patted myself on the back a little because 1) I actually wrote a note and sent it and 2) it was sent out within 2 months of the event. Maybe I'm improving?

Until BOY turned 3, we always had a "No Gifts Please" policy for birthday parties. I would put it as a little note on the birthday invitation. My family ignored this request, but that is what family is for, right? And family doesn't really count, because they love to give gifts to your kids. Wonderfully creative things like that cat, that still seems alive and freaky in the playroom. In fact, it just looked at me and meowed a moment ago. But, I digress... No gifts. That was our little deal. Other people were doing it, it seemed a great idea. And it was. I was given tremendous kudos for my restraint, for the ability to limit the avalanche of gifts that could occur when you have a playgroup of 20 people, plus other friends, plus family and somehow 30 presents does seem obscene for a 2 year old child. For any child. But, TRUE CONFESSIONS? ... I didn't do it out of any admirable moral fortitude. No, I just didn't want to write all of those thank you notes. Especially when they never get written...


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25 comments:

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

You are my soul sister in shame. THank you for your confession. I thought I was the only lazy, but guilt ridden gal out there.
Have a great weekend,
K

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one. My thank you note writing is random at best. Sometimes I do, other times I don't. I usually don't.

Mary Alice said...

Ohhhhhh...I thought I was the only one carrying that terrible secret. I am not very good about thank you notes either....and in the military it is still a pretty big deal...it's not that I don't have good intentions either. I have a desk drawer filled with beautiful cards.

happygeek said...

Killing myself laughing.
I write em, just forget to mail them. Kid you not. I once found a 3 yar old thank-you that I even packed and moved. It was to an aunt with a sense of humour so I finally sent the blasted thing.

Madge said...

ok. i have the same shame. i NEVER send them. i have boxes of them and never use them. it's horrible.

barbra said...

Well, I always send thank-you notes. I don't judge, but I do feel like it's an important example to set. But my kids are 7, 5, and 3, and one of them can write her own thank-you notes now, so I know they are old enough to take in the example.

So, we're carpooling next Wednesday evening, right?! The idea of that is adding to my excitement!

Lisa said...

I am bad about this too. I always have every intention and then after a week I start to think it's too late but I am just making excuses.

Janet said...

You just feel guilty because you're from the South. I write them because I don't want my grandmother to rise up out of her grave and beat me severely about the face and ears. And she would.
Fortunately we have avoided the huge birthday parties thus far. I dread the day.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My mother was terrible at this and I was embarrassed by it. So I'm a rebel that writes thank you notes!

flutter said...

I almost always do, wanna hire me to do yours?

:)

liv said...

I used to be great about it. Now I totally suck. Let's work on this...

jennifer h said...

I share in the shame. I'm hit or miss. Or forget whether I did or didn't. I try. I did send one this week. (just pulled a muscle from patting myself on the back. Ouch.)

I vow to have a whole special desk for this someday, with proper paper, and a ledger for marking off gifts received and thank you notes sent. But I don't really need the desk do I?

Jen said...

I am actually pretty great about thank you notes - I inherited it from my mom - the queen of thank you notes. She has been known to write a thank you note for a thank you note.

Do you send birthday cards, because that is WAY more important in my opinion.

phd in yogurtry said...

I used to be a pretty good t-y note writer.. but i'm sucking at consistently getting my kids to write them. Its especially tough after christmas. My kids do thank the givers on the phone, so sometimes I let that suffice, but I know it isn't the same. and even though my mom says, "you don't have to get the kids to write notes" we all know that doesn't let us off the hook, right? but I randomly opt to keep her at her word.

phd in yogurtry said...

ahh, janet, my long lost cousin. no doubt we have the same grandmother!

Don Mills Diva said...

Ooooh I hear ya on this. I soo recognize the importance of thank you notes and I have gotten progressively worse at sending them over the years.

Karen MEG said...

I am also really bad about thank-you cards. For the big things like wedding, shower, baby ... not so bad.
But the last couple of years, after the year my son turned 4 and had all of his class and daycare kids - oy. It was a chore just to write out the invitations! Nowadays we don't get thank-you cards from the kids' parties either ... but it's sort of an understood thing. If I see a parent or a kid then I have my boy or myself thank them verbally. But other than that, not really.

HRH said...

Thank you for writing this. Oh crap, was that a thank you note? You sound like my husband who would rather not receive gifts that he would be required to write a note for.

Mrs. G. said...

Let it go. I don't write them either. Just cross this one off your shame list. I insist.

A Mom Two Boys said...

I'm so with you on this. And at almost 30, my mother still bugs me about it.

I wake up at night sweating because I realize I didn't write thank you's for Dylan's party (3 weeks ago) and I'm just waiting for my mother to say something. The worst part? Dylan opened most of his presents without my knowing, so I have NO idea who gave him what, if anything, becuase I, too, do the "No gifts please" thing because I don't want more crap to clutter my floors.

Ah, I feel lighter now.

Kellan said...

I'm pretty good about sending thank-you notes. I often send them later than I'd planned, but I usually get it done. It is not something I like doing either - I have 3-4 I have to send right now and I keep putting it off.

Have a good weekend J - see you soon - Kellan

Janet said...

Did you order the book yet? YOu know I wrote that post just for you. (Well, and me, too, hoping hubby would take the hint - he's my known lurker.)

Bea said...

Oooh, you're brave. I've mentioned this a couple of times on my blog and I always get a slap or two for it.

I'm at the point now where I'm opposed to the whole thing. For weddings, maybe. But for showers where you've already thanked the giver in person? For in-the-hospital gifts, where there is absolutely no way for the new mom to keep track of who gave what? I just don't see it.

And I can't think of a time that I've derived any appreciable benefit from the thank-you notes I've received from others. They always sound forced and miserable, as if whatever gratitude the gift inspired had been more than expended in the task of coming up with one more platitude before the obligatory signature. Ugh. I think I hate getting them even more than writing them. (Am I projecting much, do you think?)

Manic Mommy said...

My confession - I didn't send thank you notes for my bridal shower!

I feel that this is a nearly unforgivable breach of etiquette. To this day, I am shamed.

We use the excuse that I was in charge of wedding thank you's and Andy was in charge of shower thank you's.

Angie said...

I LOATHE thank you notes. My sister is the queen of them. When she was a kid, like 9, she would have her birthday thank you notes pre-written. Dear ____, thank you for the ____. Thanks for coming to my party. Love, Mindi. She would hand them out as people left the house crackng up that the word in the ___ were in a different ink than the rest.

To this day, I HATE TY's. I asked my ever thanking sister the other day if a TY email was okay. She gave me the go ahead. I still haven't done it.

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