How Am I Doing As A Mom??
Ever ask that question? I ask it every day it seems. There are countless ways I can point out how I’m not being the best mom I can be on a daily basis. But what about overall? Looking at the bigger picture after all these years of parenting?
The tricky thing about raising kids is that you have no way of knowing how you’re doing until a few years later. Did I screw up my kid? You hold your breath and wait until they turn 15 and fingers crossed hope for the best. All the work was done years ago, and it’s not easy to undo now.
Raising kids is a lot like losing weight.
When you’re trying to get healthy you put a lot of effort into eating right and exercise, but you don’t usually see results until weeks or months later. There is no instant feedback, as much as we would like. Jumping on the scale the day after you joined the gym will mostly likely make you miserable. You won’t see results for awhile and people around you won’t see them until much later.
You have to trust the process. And yourself.
So, today at school during Caleb’s parent teacher conference I came face to face with how I was doing as a mom. Caleb is 9 years old and in 4th grade. He’s always been a good kid, good student and a good middle child. He pretty much navigates the middle really well and rarely rocks the boat. When it came time for teacher conferences I was just hoping that the teacher didn’t point out how much he likes to talk, crack jokes and make people laugh.
Not only did Caleb get great marks, so did I.
Caleb exceeded all benchmarks at school. Gold star for him! But this isn’t about having a smart kid. The teacher and I spent most of the conference talking about how teachable he is. How adaptable he is. How kind he is to other kids. How he displays leadership skills but is a fantastic team player. He’s kind. He’s funny. He’s ambitious.
He’s doing just fine.
Whew. I feel like I got my report card today. Raise a kid for 9 years, day in and day out with very few ‘parent report cards’ and just hope for the best. Fingers crossed that by the time they hit middle school you haven’t screwed them up. Or yourself trying. The teacher brought me to tears as we talked about the non-academic strengths of my kid.
I don’t take credit for any of it.
I’m blessed to be part of it. I wish I was the mom that sat at the kitchen table with warm cookies and milk helping him study for his spelling test. I’m not. I’m not the kind of mom that reads every night with my kids. They read every night because they love it, not because I make them. I have worried about this many nights as I lay down to sleep. Could I be a better mom, more engaged, checking homework, being at the PTA meetings more often? Of course I can, but the truth is the my kid is not suffering because I’m not there.
I must be doing something right.
Or more right than wrong when it all balances out. Here’s the trick. It’s the same for losing weight — it’s in our daily decisions and habits. Making small, good decisions every day leads to bigger success down the road. The hard part is continuing to make the best decisions day after day without seeing immediate results. It’s trusting the process. Trusting yourself.
If your kid is alive and happy and still likes to be around you, then you’re doing something right. You have to look for the little signs along the way letting you know you’re heading in the right direction. Every now and then you’ll reach a big milestone, like a teacher conference that let’s you know you’re on the right track. But, in the meantime, make good decisions every day, on every level and trust the process. And yourself. Never Stop Starting.