Years ago when I held an office job, I remember some coworkers complaining about the results of the Dancing with the Stars episode the night before. Evidently, the results were just plain wrong. My coworkers (and evidently even the show’s judges) deduced that not as many people voted for the shoo-in because she was a guarantee, a no-brainer. Instead, they invested their votes to the contestants whom they felt needed the help.
That example comes to mind often when I think about parenting.
It’s a tough gig. It’s not for the faint of heart. I knew before I became a parent that I was willing to rise to the occasion. I love a good challenge, and there’s nothing quite as challenging as being a parent. And honestly, I think most days I do a fairly decent job. I’m hoping that’s why people are so quiet about it.
When a mom is struggling, people seem to come out of the woodworks to support her. They offer help in the form of free babysitting and meal services, they suggest days “for yourself,” or maybe they just offer a word of encouragement.
My family and I were on the receiving end of absolutely overwhelming support when my son was hospitalized for nearly drowning, and it honestly left me with a lot of mixed emotions — some of them being embarrassment or even the sense that I didn’t deserve it. After all, I’m used to doing things on my own, facing challenges head-on.
However, I’m also willing to admit that I could use some support even when I don’t have a child in the hospital, even when I’m NOT feeling my worst or most incapable. But support for me probably doesn’t look the way it does for others. I may not need help, but I could use some recognition.
I honestly don’t feel like I need a spa day or babysitting services–I would miss that time away from my kids and probably be really bored and lonely. And I’m not sure I need encouragement. I tend to be able to motivate myself and will always be harder on myself than anyone else could ever be.
Recognition, though, is awesome. I think recognition for me has the same effect that a spa day has for others. I’ve heard about “Love Languages” and have been a member of a professional workplace long enough to tell you that I am willing to do just about anything for an “atta-boy!” I think it’s called “Words of Affirmation.” Whatever it is, that’s me.
My husband is great about recognizing all I do for our family, but I realize that moms don’t necessarily see the need to offer recognition to other moms whom they see as knocking it out of the park. I’m sure people don’t say anything because they don’t think they need to. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? Well, they don’t hear any squeaks coming from the supermoms they know. For her sake, though, think of the most amazing mom you know, and give her the gift of recognition today. She won’t admit that she needs it, but I can guarantee she’ll appreciate it.