October 8, 2013 by themommahen
I have two meals in the oven right now, getting ready to cook a batch of pancakes to stick in the freezer. H#3 is napping, the older ones are in school. This is not a normal occurrence for me, and I don’t have a lot of time to explain, but I think I know why.
My career was one in which the results were often unseen, unnoticed and often under-appreciated. Those of us in PR are used to our family and friends having no idea what we do. I mean, my own sweet Gramma always told people I went to Boston College to study advertising and TV and play soccer. In fact, it was organizational communication and PR at Boston University and I played volleyball.
Back to my point, when a client remembered to say thank you or my team got a huge hit or something amazing happened that we could actually see, touch or share with others, it was a big deal.
Fast forward to now, when I’m supposed to plan ahead and make meals, provide clean clothes, supervise baths, administer meds, and so on. Now, none of this do I in any way mean to insinuate that I do this on my own. The Husband and my parents help. (Well, Granny helps while Gramps entertains.)
But I’m supposed to be the team leader – the CEO – of this particular company. And I so often miss the mark, I sometimes think sheepishly about the type of review I might get were there someone here to provide ongoing feedback. (Note to The Husband: Don’t. Even. Think. About it.)
Folding laundry? Needs improvement.
Planning meals? Needs Improvement.
Cooking? Meets expectations.
So this is what was going through my head when I had an “A-ha” moment. It’s the stuff that comes and goes, ebbs and flows into a continuous cycle of clothing, grocery shopping, cleaning, straightening, carpooling, bathing (them, not us to be clear), feeding, changing, wiping, waking, soothing, and everything else-ing we do as parents. These are the little things I’m not supposed to sweat, yet they are necessities as the few tangible “results” we (or unfortunately others) can point to as an example of whether or not we’re measuring up to the job.
I can already tell you I don’t. Not in those areas. It’s not in my bones the way it is for some. I have clothes strewn on my own bedroom floor. Floors don’t have to be spotless for me to breathe easy. Clutter and disorganization, while not comfortable, doesn’t drive me to Pinterest-levels of DIY-ing and organizing. I sometimes wish I wasn’t this way, but I am. I admire and bow down to those moms and dads who can literally keep it all together while figuratively keepin’ it all together.
But for all of us, the ones keeping it together and the ones just scraping by on all the day-to-day stuff, it’s not the clothes, the food, the cleaning, the chores. It’s easy to get distracted by the short-term: what our house looks like, what kind of car we drive, how nutritious our meals are, how cool our Pinterest boards are and how interesting our Facebook feed is. That’s not what us parents are measured by. Not in the long run.
We’re measured by the children we raise. And raising a child takes a long time. Sure, sometimes there are thank yous and huge hits or amazing results that we can actually see, touch or share with others, and those are big deals. But the scale of parenting is often tilted towards the unseen, unnoticed and sometimes under-appreciated, and that’s okay. Especially when you remember the end-goal.
I’m not sure I will ever truly let go of that voice in my head that tells me I’m not meeting expectations. But for one second today, in my little zen A-ha moment, I was able to glimpse the real measurement.
Provides love and affection? Exceeds expectations.
Is there for my kids when they need me? Exceeds expectations.
Knows how lucky I am to have the family I have? Exceeds expectations.