The problem with Motherhood is that it sometimes seems there is only downside.
You love them, and love them, and love them, but let’s face it, you are exhausted, and occasionally disorganized, and only one person. Even if that one person is a Mother. Think of all the good you have done, and all the things you got ‘right’. Remember? No?
So why do you remember and continue to flagellate yourself for:
The time you lost your temper in the supermarket, and the lady gave you a dirty look.
The time you were late for pre-school pickup, and the Headmistress was at the door waiting for you, while your daughter wept down the front of her smocked flannel dress.
The time you let your children sit on the curb in 90 degree heat on the Fourth of July, watching the firetrucks parade by, not concerned with the mosquito bites on their faces. Only to watch them develop fevers and and throw out impressive displays of chicken pox spots that evening.
The time you let your toddler play in the hotel’s baby pool, and he got impetigo?
Why did you have to put mushrooms in the macaroni, and ruin it?
Why didn’t you remind your son to take his baseball mitt to school, when “everyone else” was playing?
So here’s the plan: I am developing a Report Card for Moms. We’ve got to learn, as they say of child rearing, to catch ourselves being good.
So did you:
Drive all the way back to school as soon as you’d reached home, to deliver the term paper, lunch bag, or social studies diorama your child forgot in the back seat? Well done, you.
Throw a good birthday party – with ponies? Score.
Hold your daughter down while the plastic surgeon stitched her lip, following an unexpected encounter with a shovel? Respect.
Control your temper when the bedroom door was slammed in your face? Props.
Make no comment when your children changed the channel on the car radio – without asking. Well done.
Bite your lip and determine not to say Anything, when your young adult son decided at 11:30 at night, after a gorgeous family dinner and maybe a glass of wine too many on your part, that he needed to tell you all the things that are wrong with your (his) family. Very grown up of you.
Moms need some positive feedback. Yes, a hug goes a very long way towards making up for all the guilt we assume, and all the blame we carry. But in almost every other job, calling, or walk of life, a person receives feedback, a job review, a promotion, even a salary increase.
Three or four times in my life of Motherhood, now well into its third decade, I have received *perfect praise*. My then teenage son, after he had downloaded all his angst, fears, and feelings of desolation onto my shoulders (leaving me momentarily profoundly depressed myself), told me that I was Always so good about listening to his problems, and it Always made him feel so much better. My teen aged daughter, who could be on radio silence for weeks at a time, said, “It’s so great that you send me REAL mail, Mom. I love getting things in my mailbox. Never stop.” The youngest, accepting editorial input on a job-related cover letter, admitting, “It is SO helpful to have a second pair of eyes to look over this. Thank you.”
And then, well, those hugs still work just fine.
Okay, now you’ll tell me that I’m Easy. That this is not perfect praise, that I settle for very little. Well, yes.
Shares well with others.