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.