Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My eval

One of the many, many..... many aspects of the working world that I miss is those glowing evaluations. I loved teaching and when you love what you do, well, you are often relatively good at it. Of course I always had areas that needed improvement, but I felt confident on most days that I was doing ok.

Then there is stay-at-home-motherhood. For most of us there are no glowing evaluations. No one comes in to "observe" us at work for 45 minutes, take notes, write up a list of comments on areas where we excel as well as areas we could improve and then schedule a meeting 3-5 days later to discuss it. None of us SAHMs get to walk in to a room full of smiling bosses sitting around a table ready to gush at our wonderfulness. No one gets a raise when her baby finally nurses successfully or when her child is finally potty-trained or when her son correctly uses a fork.

How then do we evaluate ourselves? Although told not to, and we don't want to, we compare our kids to other kids, find faults with them and therefore, find faults with ourselves. I would bet that if your kid ran to the top of Mt. Everest, came back down, found a cure for cancer, and solved world hunger all before becoming president of the United States, that you would still say, "I just wonder if I waited too long before teaching him to ride a bike." I know I would.

No matter what we do and what our kids do, we tend to negatively evaluate ourselves as mothers. (I did this exact thing in my previous post about my 3-year old super-reader who can't put his own shoes on. And they are velcro.) There is always more we can do -- more crafts, more academic activities, more exposure to classical music, more exposure to sign language... There are always thing other kids are doing that ours are not. Your daughter says HOW MANY words?? Your son counts HOW HIGH? I am clearly a horrible mother because my kids says 8 words and yours says 11. You make homemade organic smoothies? My kids eat frozen waffles. You feed your kids vegetables from your own garden? My kids don't eat vegetables. Sigh. Failure.

Well today I was told by someone in the know that I am doing a good job. My town has a program called Parents as Teachers (your town may have this program as well) and my "teacher" visits every couple of months to evaluate my kids, make sure they are on track developmentally, and provide me with advice, feedback, etc. It is really the closest thing to a super-mom-teacher evaluator. And guess what? She said I am good at my job. It brought back all the warm fuzzies of those glowing working-world evaluations. No, there is not anything on paper with her signature, and no there is no raise, promotion, or fancy catered work lunch to go along with it. Just a couple of words -- but it was really good to hear.

I bet you are good at your job too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A bookworm without pants

My 3-year old son can read. Seriously. He can pick up a book he has never seen before and read it. He reads his own birthday cards, billboards on the interstate, writing on strangers t-shirts, etc. He was actually able to read before even turning 3. He knew how to spell his name before he could pronounce it. He is sort of freakishly smart in that way.


He occasionally still poops in his underpants. He cannot get himself dressed, get his shoes on (or sometimes even off), or brush his teeth without help. He still struggles to jump properly. He rarely eats with utensils. I still wipe his hands and face clean after meals. He will probably sleep in a pull-up until he is 7, and I cannot fathom the day when he successfully wipes his own bottom.

Most of the fault is mine for his short-comings. Like most 3-year old little boys, he is impatient and easily distracted. While getting dressed, he is looking around the room, pointing at things, telling me stories, and I have to remind him over and over to concentrate and focus on getting himself dressed. I will hand him his shoes and tell him to get them on (or at least attempt); upon my return 3 minutes later, he is doing a puzzle on the floor, shoeless. Most of the time when I try, really commit to making him learn to do these things himself, it is the day my 15-month old becomes extra clingy. While "patiently" teaching him how to properly wash his own hands, she is pulling my pants down or trying to climb into the toilet. He is also a horrible eater, so often I am so happy to see him eat meat and a vegetable, that I pretend not to notice him shoveling it all into his mouth with his hands like a 3-year old neanderthal.

So what does Mommy too often do? She just does things for him. She puts his shoes on for him. She dresses him, cleans him up, wipes his butt. She helps him brush his teeth because half way through doing it himself, he starts adding up all of the fish on the shower curtain -- and it is 30 minutes past his bedtime --and Mommy has been up with the kids since 5:30 A.M. -- and she just wants the kids to freaking be in bed already.

So yes, my son is a brain. He is probably gifted. Friends ask me what my secret is to get him to love books and I honestly cannot take the credit. He has been a bookworm since 6 months old. I, however, ask them what their secret is to get their kids to pull up their own pants.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Not only does my son have a mom, a dad, a sister, 2 grandmas, 2 grandpas, 1 great-grandma, 7 uncles, 6 aunts, and 13 cousins to pray for every night, but the list has also extended to include the following "friends":

Nemo, Dory, Buzz, Woody, Wall-E, Eve, Wilson, Brewster, Koko, Thomas, Edward, Gordon, Percy, Rocky, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, Pete, Professor Von Drake, and ClaraBelle.

I hope they all know that they have a special place in heaven according to our 3-year old.

(If any of these names are foreign to you, consult any parent of a 3-year old little boy for reference.)