Positive Feedback, Please

There we were.  The three of us.  Cameron, Quincy and I sitting together at lunch chatting like we were old girlfriends recently reunited.  We were chattin’ about what they learned in class today.  We were talkin’ about the sun shinin’ and the warm weather.  They were tellin’ me some wild story that couldn’t possibly have been true about some little boy in their class.  They have a flair for the dramatic (read: they tend to make things up). 

But I was lovin’ it.  And then it…well, it just happened.  All of a sudden like. 

The discussion about what they learned in class morphed into what they wanted to be when they grow up.  And Quincy said.  Yep.  Wait for it.   “I’m going to be a mom.”  Wha?  I just about fell off my bar stool.  I shook my head just a bit to waken myself from what I feared was a  hallucination.  Then I closed my eyes and thanked The Lord for giving me the good sense to expose them to a bunch of other moms (my sister, my sister-in-law, my friends) who are clearly more competent.  That’s the one thing I know I’ve done right.      

These days I find myself longing for positive feedback from my girls, their acknowledgement of my efforts.  Some kind of sign that I am doing it right for Christ’s sake!  And the thing that is so difficult is that I never know when/if it is going to come.  I can go months without hearing positive strokes.  That which feeds my emotional gas tank and keeps me moving forward.  And then, BANG!  Out of nowhere.  They drop it like it is effortless.

So I decided that I am just going to create my own positive feedback by constantly telling the girls I love them just to hear them say it right back.  And if they don’t say it right back, I badger them until I hear those sweet, sweet words.  Part of me just enjoys hearing them say it because their little voices are just precious.  The other part, though, appreciates the ego stroke even though I have to guilt/force/bribe them to say it.  

Before you get all that’s so pathetic on me, this stay-at-home/work-at-home gig is new to me.  I am used to working outside of the home.  Having reports to finish and deadlines to meet.  Having adults to manage whose feedback could not possibly include “you’re the worst mommy EVER!”  Or “You’re ruining my life!”  Ask me about the man who quit in the middle of inventory by throwing his keys on my desk and then asking for his job back the next day, though.  I don’t know that my kids would even have the balls to pull that one off. 

I’m used to working in an environment where there are clear job responsibilities and performance measurement tools.  Now that I think about it, that marriage counselor may have been on to something when she told me to apply my business skills to my home life.  Maybe I need to formulate a comprehensive job description and schedule a quarterly performance appraisal with my husband, “the Boss”.  I could also create a form and a process for collecting a 360 degree evaluation from those who work with me – my mom, my sister and brother, my friends, and the girls.  Think about it.  It could revolutionize this whole stay at home mom thing!

On second thought, I don’t think I want all that feedback. 

To test Quincy’s level of sincerity, I asked her why she wanted to be a mom to which she answered, “‘Cuz you are a good mom…..and you’re a good cook like Oma.”   Hmmmm….  She must’ve been talking about her other mom.


5 thoughts on “Positive Feedback, Please

  1. I being a stay at home/work at home mom, can totally relate. I always fear I will make a mistake that will leave a lasting, bad bruise on Chloe. This is probably one of the reasons that I only had 1 child. I am a perfectionist to a fault…it is much easier to perfect one than many. I find myself, the older Chloe gets, needing that reassurance from her that I am doing a good job far too often. Everyone likes a good atta boy even if it is coming from the mouths of babes. I know raising one is far different than raising 4…apples to oranges if you will. But it’s still none the less something every stay at home mom probably suffers from, needing to feel like you make a difference and knowing that you have made the right choices.

    Whenever you have doubts, just looking at their shining faces at the top of your blog…their happy girls.

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