“You’re doing a good job.”
Words rarely uttered in our thoughts. When we hear it from others, we immediately list the reasons why we are not doing a good job.
A mother’s thoughts usually sound more like this…
“Your house is a disaster.”
“You always pick that same argument with your husband.”
“You didn’t offer to cook Sally a meal after she had her baby.”
“When was the last time you volunteered at your child’s school?”
“Mickey D’s for dinner? Really??”
“How are you doing on that reading log with your kindergartner? Be honest.”
“You are competing for worst-mother-in-the-world.”
In between this sound reel, a mother is extremely gifted in finding evidence of just how poor of a job she is doing. It usually comes in the form of comparison. “Have you seen how spotless Jane’s house is?” “Lindsay’s kids are always so well-behaved.” “Their marriage is perfect.” “Jennifer is super-mom, super-volunteer, super-wife, and super-gorgeous, too.” “Why can’t I just be more like her?”
I’ve really struggled with this in the nine years I’ve been a mother. Even when told by others that I was doing a good job, I’ve found ways of convincing myself that they just didn’t know me well enough. There is always proof that I am not measuring up as a mother by comparing myself with another mom or comparing my children to other children. As I parent two little girls with special needs, my not-measuring-up voice becomes even louder. “If I would do better, they would be doing better.” It’s an exhausting, guilt-ridden merry-go-round. The scary thing is our inner voice becomes our children’s inner voice. When we think we don’t measure up as parents, our children can all too easily begin to think they don’t measure up as children. What if our children grew up watching mothers who weren’t perfect, but were confident that they did a good job. What if, at the end of the day, we listed some things we did right that day. Even on days, when we did a lot of things wrong. When our house was a disaster and our kitchen desperately needed to be swept, what if we viewed the cheerios on the floor as evidence that we did a good job because we fed our kids that day.
That is my challenge to myself and to you, dear mother. Allow yourself to acknowledge that you are doing a good job at this whole parenting thing. Because you are. You’re doing a good job at being a friend, a wife, and a employee, too.
So, mothers everywhere, do this with me. Take your right hand. Now, raise it in the air (like you just don’t care). Cross it over to your left shoulder and give yourself a pat or two on the back. Now, say this out loud: “I am doing a good job. I am a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good sister.” One more thing. Go get your phone and text a mommy-friend, “You’re doing a good job.” Because, we all need to hear it once in a while.