Today I did four loads of laundry, including folding them and putting them away. I did two loads of dishes. My kitchen is clean and I cooked a delicious dinner for my family. I watched a puppet show my daughter put on and then sat and talked Minecraft with my boy.
Where is my report card?
Where is my A?
Who is going to say to me “way to go,” “thank you” and “you’re the best”?
That’s the answer.
I NEED a report card.
It’s ridiculous. Don’t you think I know that? Crazy even.
Don’t care. I still want one.
I need someone, anyone, to tell me that I’m doing a good job. I need that passing grade as mother and homemaker.
Please, just give it to me.
I’ve worked for it.
I’ve earned it.
Growing up, I was the teacher’s pet (big surprise). I got straight A’s. I was that kid that always raised her hand, was excited for tests, and loved homework. I was a regular Hermione Granger.
The older I got, the more I craved that approval. I would seek it out anyway I could. Please notice me teacher. Tell me I’m good. Tell me I’m smart. Tell me I am pleasing you.
Praise became necessary for me to move forward in my day. It didn’t matter what I thought about what I did, only if I got the approval.
This didn’t stop in college and continued even when I started working for a major newspaper. I would actually look forward to my reviews.
The funny thing is, I knew I was a good employee. I worked hard and showed up every day. But it wasn’t enough to know it.
I needed to be told it. Better yet, I needed to see it in writing.
So I am asking you again…where is my report card? Where is my written affirmation that I am doing a good job?
Is there somebody who can provide me this service? Come to my house with your clipboard and follow me around. Give me a daily grade. Please?
I grade myself every day, but I’m not doing so well at that.
I am a very harsh, judgmental grader with very little empathy or patience.
Yes I did four loads of laundry, but you know what? One of those loads was put into the washer on Friday. FRIDAY! It sat in the washer all weekend so I had to rewash it.
Yes I cooked a great dinner for my family; it was tilapia with an almond crust, asparagus and rice pilaf. But my husband cooked the fish and he did it better than I would have.
Certainly not an A.
Yes I watched my daughter’s puppet show, but I was bored and spent most of the time praying for it to be over.
That’s a C grade at best.
Yes I talked Minecraft with my boy, but this is after he has been asking for months to play the game and I finally relented. I’m as overprotective as they come and as we talked about it I felt sad instead of excited for him.
I wonder if someone else graded me if they would be more…forgiving. Maybe they would be more generous with their approval, because I am not.
Over the last few weeks I’ve read two books by SARK. If you haven’t heard of her or seen any of her work, prepare yourself for something amazing. I’m in love with her and it got me thinking.
It’s time I make myself a report card. Not a daily one, but one that I can hang up that says all the things that I need to hear. A reminder of my need for praise, but also recognition that self-praise is the most powerful of all.
I need to say these things to myself, because they are true.
So, here it is.
Please, if you find yourself identifying with me, print this out or make your own. Hang it on your wall and read it every morning.
Let’s be kinder to ourselves.
There is no reason not to.
The pressure to be the best at everything is exhausting.
Maybe we can just be ourselves and know it’s enough.
I’ll give you an A for working at not pressuring yourself.
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Thanks. I have no idea where I got the notion that I have to do everything to some standard of perfection that is impossible to maintain. Insanity is what that is! I’m taking baby steps out of this madness. Thanks for reading.
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We’re there with you. It’s just hard to let go at times. If more of us were like you and tried to do everything right, the world would be such a well run machine. Stay strong and be well, SB.
Remember one thing – we are not machines – you are human and humans are not perfect – that would be boring – get happy when you see one of your kids smiling for no reason which means you are doing one hell of a job as a mother – enjoy your holiday
It feels like this could’ve been written from my brain! I’m also a past straight “A” people pleaser, and I am always setting myself up for certain “standards” that seem ridiculous to maintain on a daily basis…. “but a ‘perfect’ mom could do it, so I should be able to!” It’s a tough cycle to break.
I’m so glad you found Sark! She is awesome at teaching us how to validate ourselves. Your colorful exercise is a wonderful testament. Hang in there. It feels pretty amazing when you can give yourself the pat on your back.
Reblogged this on A Modern Ukrainian.
I am much older than you. My children are grown, but I am amazed at how much of what you write, I identify with. Thank you for expressing all the things I’m sure many of us feel.
I give you an A for being a mom and wife who cleans, cooks and plays with your children. You don’t get the A for doing these things, you get the A+ for doing them, even though you may not always want to. Because you love them.
I LOVE YOU.
Also, I’m giving you an A right now as I’m typing.
How can you give yourself a “C” for not thinking about your daughter’s puppet show. You were THERE watching her put it on. I bet you interacted with her too. How could you “fail” yourself for talking Minecraft with your son. You did it. You were THERE talking with him, listening to him. Your family is so very lucky to have you. You put so much effort and love into what you do for them. So what if everything doesn’t get done timely (wash??) you did it. I don’t know you and I’ve only been reading your blog for a short time, but I would give you a big fat “A” for how well you take care of your family. You even do things for yourself. Kudos to you for the GREAT job you do. And don’t let thoughts of depression make you think you are any less. It is just a cross we bear as best we can. Some days better than others. Pat yourself on the back and say “Good job Bridgette!”
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