Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A quest for validation

You are a good mother! Your children will be happy, healthy, successful adults!   This is the mantra I must sometimes repeat in my head and by sometimes I mean no less than 372 times a day.   Before becoming a parent I had never felt such self-doubt about my abilities, actions or decisions.  Now, I feel this on a daily basis.  Worrying about what everyone from family to people I pass on the street think of my parenting ability has put me on an uphill climb towards the holy land known as "mothering perfection". Is there truly any such thing? Here's a glimpse of a few things I worry about...

Health- Who saw me carrying that Happy Meal in my house?
Does D's preschool teacher think her lunch is healthy and well-balanced? Do I get extra points for her heart-shaped sandwich?
Should I call the pediatrician about that rash or will I become that annoying parent who calls about everything?  Is it even a rash?


Appearance- Do people wonder why D's hair is never brushed? Do they understand I literally cannot brush the kids hair unless she is asleep.
Yes, D is wearing bunny ears, a nightgown and rain boots but everyone knows I let her pick out her own clothes today, right?  
Can anyone see that pinhole- sized formula stain on S's onesie? 

Behavior- Do others think they my children are smart, respectful, funny and kind? If not, why? 
Should D be able to write her name, put on her socks, wipe her bottom at age 3? Do people wonder why I haven't taught her these things?
Why hasn't S met every 1 month milestone in the What to Expect the First Year? Am I giving up quality time with her to sleep 4-5 hours a night?

General Craziness- Does that lady in the checkout line next to me think I am  cheap because I am buying store-brand formula?  And or is she disappointed in me because I don't breastfeed?
Should I really get a sitter? Will people think I am pawning my kids off on to someone else so I can drink beer and eat nachos with fellow adults once every 3 months? 
Should I have skipped my shower today for that extra 20 minutes with my girls?

After reading this you may be thinking "Who cares what everyone else thinks? How petty and insecure of you, MonkeyMomma!" and/ or "Wow! MonkeyMomma is a little crazy and would probably benefit from some meds."  Excellent psychoanalysis and you are probably right.  That aside, I pour my heart and soul into the role of mommy and am not ashamed to admit that I occasionally need validation. I am fortunate to have an amazing husband and two sweet girls who show me everyday how much they love and appreciate me (and vice versa).  But, that silly, uncertain part of me is waiting for others to say "Yes! You are amazing!".  So while I wait for that pat on the back from the outside world to confirm that my kids are turning out okay I'm going to go hug my little ones.  You know, the ones who are still confident enough to not care what anyone else thinks. 


This week I am linking up to my new addiction, a site called yeah write which showcases bloggers. Check out the great posts and vote for your favorites! 

38 comments:

  1. I was looking for that pat on the back from the outside world, too. It never came. But something better did. I learned to value my own pat on my own back. And not to discount those from my family either. The fact that they know me doesn't make their praise less meaningful...in fact it may be the opposite.

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    1. How true! When my oldest looks at me and says "I love you the most!" all is right with the world!

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  2. It sounds like you're doing a great job! As your children get older, it will become more and more clear how hard you worked with them and how much time you spent with them in the early years. It really shows as they age; mine are ten and almost-thirteen and I don't regret a single minute I spent with them early on, only the minutes I didn't spend.

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    1. Thanks! It is so important to make every moment count!

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  3. Ah ... I still struggle with this and my youngest is 22! At this point I worry more about whether I am being judged for the choices my kids are making as adults. (Though for some reason I don't expect to be praised for their good choices!) I know it's crazy but ... the reality is that there are people who will judge us unfairly and it's probably normal to fret over that a bit. The trick is to realize and live in the truth that the opinions of those people don't matter! At least not in the long run.

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    1. Ahh! So this is what I have to look forward to? A life of worry? That's okay, I wouldn't trade this life for anything ;) Thanks, Beth!

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  4. Great post! You know the thing about being a new mom is we forget the adjective "new." The baby is all new - learning something new practically every day. HUGE things, like how to walk and talk! But why do we always forget that each time a baby is born, the mother is new again, too? So much to learn. So - "let yourself be new!" (-:

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    1. Very true, some days I feel like I have never done this mom thing before and my oldest is almost four! Thanks, Ado!

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  5. Yes! We all need this validation. This mom gig is a never ending battle of joy, blame, and second guessing. Reassurance that's it's all going to be ok is not only wanted, it is vital to parenthood survival. So don't worry, you are a great mom....and it's all going to be ok. :)

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    1. Julia, thanks for that virtual pat on the back! Exactly what I am looking for!

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  6. We all wish we had a crystal ball to tell us how this motherhood thing is all going to work out, but alas that is not to be. In lieu of that, we get some crushing insecurities. All I can say is that I think you feel more like this when the kids are really little like yours. As you all make your way together and you keep them alive and healthy, you get that A+ on your report card just from seeing how great they are turning out. Not to say that the middle school and high school years don't bring their own challenges---they certainly do--you are just more apt to think THEY are crazy instead of you. You sound like you are doing just fine, Erin

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    1. Thanks, Erin! Just hoping to make "Honor Roll" on my Mom report card!

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  7. Great post! We all feel that way sometimes, it's so hard not to! I hope that, with time, we all settled into ourselves as moms, just like we settled into ourselves before becoming moms.

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    1. Tricia, glad to know I am not alone (even if I am a little crazy!). Thanks!

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  8. Aww I'm neurotic too and can be totally insecure. So I don't have kids, but I feel you.

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  9. I think you just crawled into my mind and wrote what I have been giving a lot of thought. I never realized how hard parenting is until I had my own, and until recently, I worried like crazy about what others thought. I have recently come to the conclusion that no matter what you do, folks are going to judge, so I have just decided to let it go, and NOT return the judging. We are all doing our best, striving to raise happy, well adjusted, well loved kids. If that means an occasional Happy meal because your day has just ben too crazy to fill those empty shelves, so be it. Just be the fierce Mama that you are! Your in Mama-ing- Erin

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    1. I am working on hard on the not returning the judging because you are right- we are all working hard and need to appreciate that! Thanks for your comments!

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  10. I totally am the same way! I think it's natural to crave validation, to have someone tell us we are doing a good job.

    This is why blogging was invented :) You're doing a good job, Momma!

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  11. Yes! You are amazing.

    Welcome to the yeah write grid. Are you not on Twitter?

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    1. Thanks, Erica! I am not on Twitter- my obsessive personality can only handle one addiction at a time (currently yeah write!) or else my family will be going to school/work in their underwear.

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  12. I am not a mom, but you sound like a good mom to me...aren't those the same things that all conscientious parents worry about? I worry about a lot of things, including what people are thinking about me (ridiculous, because who cares?) I'm amazed at how parents deal with the stress of it all. I guess at some point you have to say 'screw it', right?

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    1. Thanks, tri-girl! I've decided that insecurity and stress are exactly why wine was invented! It helps me remember to say "screw it" when I need to!

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  13. You are soooo not alone!! I felt like you were writing a checklist for me. I can relate to too many of these to list. I really really enjoyed this piece. I do not know if we will ever get validation from the outside world. I think it is who our children grow to be that is our reward. We just keep doing the very best we can! -LV

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    1. LV- so glad to know I am not alone! Wish I had a crystal ball to show me what great adults my kids will be, but for now I will settle for seeing them smile!

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  14. I think you're amazing! I worry sometimes about my DOG (do people think it's my fault when he growls? Is he bored? Did I do a good job training him?)...I can't even imagine how hard it is not to drive yourself crazy over your KIDS! :)

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Stephanie! And I feel your pain- I have a dog I worry about, too!

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  15. You are amazing and you just made me literally laugh out loud - thank you thank you. So freaking cute. Write more!

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  16. Haha! This is hilarious! I know I'm going to worry about whether the teacher finds my kids' lunches acceptable.

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    1. I've decided the key to acceptable lunches is for them to be cute- think cookie cutter shaped sandwiches! D is so obsessed with them she will be taking dinosaur shaped pb & j to high school.

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  17. Even if the whole entire world simultaeously told you how awesome you are it wouldn't matter a bit if you didn't think so. You are good enough. You are. And it only matters if you believe it. Welcome to yeahwrite! And good luck with Motherhood!

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  18. I think all of those things too. Especially the eating - my kid is so picky and I feel like the whole world is judging me. I'm sure they are not. Sort of...

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    1. Glad to know I am not alone! My daughter is seriously going to become a big blob of jelly the way she eats it!

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  19. I'm right there with ya, but I don't think the world ever quite gives us the pat on the back we need. Consider this my virtual pat on the back :)

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    1. Thanks, Youngman! You are right, they will not but I can always hope!

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