Prior to being a stay at home mama, I worked in the corporate HR world. In my role, I was constantly receiving feedback whether it be positive or negative (let’s be real, the negative isn’t always fun but at least you can learn from it!). I thrived off of feedback. There was nothing better than working feverishly on a big project and hearing that I did a great job. It always made the long hours and work worth it!
When I transitioned to stay at home mom life, I wondered to myself, how will I know if I’m doing a good job? How will I know if I’m not doing something right? I quickly came to realize that the answer to these questions was easy: I won’t. Measuring my success as a mom wouldn’t be rated on a performance rating scale. As someone who thrives on feedback, that was a tough transition to get used to at first, and I really struggled with it. I mean after all, I’m responsible for raising a tiny human. I would like to know if I’m doing a good job or if I’m on a PIP (performance improvement plan). For working mamas, I can’t even imagine how challenging it is to constantly be receiving feedback at work and then to go home to a role where you have no idea if you’re killin’ it or just scraping to get by.
As we all know, being a parent into today’s society is accompanied with a lot of pressure and judgement (can we just not?!). I think deep down, we all wonder what our child will be like as they grow up. Will they take AP classes? Will they make the varsity team (Jonas will be taking the golf or cross country team to state – right?!) Will they have a charming personality that makes everyone want to be their best friend? The list of questions goes on and on.
Of course I think it would be amazing to have a child that excels academically or athletically. But when I really sit down and think about how I will know if I did my job successfully as a parent, I go deeper. I think about how when I was growing up and in school, I had a really hard time making friends because I was so shy. Lunchtime was always the scariest part of the day. Who would I sit with? What if no one wants to sit with me? Every single morning I begged my mom to come to school and eat lunch with me. The poor woman was so concerned about my socialization and could only eat so many canned green beans from the cafeteria! To have someone say “hey Steph, you can sit with us” as I scanned the cafeteria would’ve immediately alleviated all of my worries and fears.
My hope – actually, my dream – is that my child can be that person for someone one day. I would rather see him eat lunch with the kid sitting alone than take the team to state or have a 4.0 GPA. I would rather him give extra big hugs, have a grateful heart, and say please and thank you. I would rather him say his prayers every night and read his bible. I’m always thinking about what things I can be doing now, even though he’s only one, to encourage him to be that kid.
At this stage I’m mainly trying to focus on habits and repetition. For example, every time he hands me a toy I make sure to say “thank you” and when it comes to our nightly routine, it always ends with saying our prayers. These things may seem small and insignificant now, but I know that it’s setting the stage for the future and what’s to come. As he gets older and more aware, I’ll encourage him to play with the kid that’s playing alone and teach him the art of writing thank you notes to encourage a grateful heart. I’ll show him how to make meals for our friends when they need help and the importance of sharing our belongings with others.
To the world, he may not look like the “golden” child if he does these things. He may not be the one they talk about as being amazing and successful. However, to me he will be. I will know that I’ve done my job well and will be the MOST proud mama in the world to have him as my son!
P.S. I would love to hear from you! What does successful parenting look like to you? Click on the title of this post to comment and share your thoughts!