How am I doing as a mother? Rankings, ratings, and reviews

I have a confession to make. I’m guilty of asking my husband, mom, gram, mother-in-law, etc. to rate or rank me as a mom. I can’t help it. My primary love language is “words of affirmation”.

“Can I ask you a quick question? Am I good mom? Are my kids nice? Am I as good of a mom as [insert other mom’s name]? On a scale of one to ten, ten being ‘the best mom’, what would you give me?”

The onslaught of questions can be insufferable.

I shudder to think about the countless times I’ve asked my poor husband for rankings, ratings, and reviews. Maybe it’s the student or teacher in me. Maybe it’s the narcissist in me. Maybe it’s the obsessive compulsive personality disorder in me. I want to stop, really I do. Sigh.

Parenting Report Cards

Not once has my husband asked for a “dad report card.” He knows he’s a good dad. So why do I have to ask to see my grades? And why do I have to ask all the time? Why can’t I just know I’m a good mom.

This has been my perception thus far, and please correct me if I’m wrong. But it seems many Dads choose to audit the parenting course or take it pass/fail. Moms, on the other hand, rate ourselves on the A-F grading scale option.

But if we strive for that “A” – that one out of a five-point scale, that ten out of ten, that gold star, etc., – who or what is putting pressure on us? Ourselves? (yep) Other moms? (uh-huh) Society? (mmm hmm) While I think some dads feel the same internal and external pressure, they seem to handle the stress of parenthood much better.

At many schools and business, traditional grading scales are being reconsidered and scrapped in favor of alternative, more wholistic ratings. So shouldn’t we consider alternative ways to measure the progress of parents? But if you eliminate grades (whether they be letters or numbers), what are you left with? A happier, less stressed stay-in-bed mom?

Personal Performance Objectives (PPOs)

One of the harder parts about being a SAHM is that you aren’t externally validated with a paycheck or a performance rating and/or appraisal. Whether it’s a case of nature or nurture, I’m a person who obsessively and compulsively craves validation. So when I relinquished my paying teaching job for a non-paying vocation (with no employer to evaluate my performance), it was rough.

You don’t really know how you’re doing because your newborn babies, babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, tweens, teenagers don’t tell you so. Sure there’s the rare occasion when your children do proclaim you to be “the world’s best mom” or various permutations of this overused (but much appreciated) superlative. They might tell it to you in subtle or not so subtle ways. Maybe you get a custom mug, pillow, or photo book for your birthday, Christmas, or Mother’s Day. Maybe you get a shoutout on social media. Or maybe you get an unsolicited hug and kiss in the privacy of your home or – better yet – in public.

Imagine if there was a parent report card that your children filled out for you. What overall letter or number grade would you receive? What kinds of questions would be asked?

But there’s a better way of knowing how you’re doing. Here’s my suggestion to you when writing your personal performance objectives (PPOs).

  • Are your children growing?
  • Are your children happy?
  • Are they loving?
  • Are they kind to others?
  • Do they show interest in the world around them? Do they ask questions?
  • Are they happy to see you after you’ve been away from each other?
  • Are they willing to try new things?

If you can answer mostly “Yes” to the above questions, then you need to know that you are a good mom/dad/caregiver.

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

The only ranking, rating, or review that matters is the one you give yourself.

So don’t be so hard on yourself. If you love your kids, make an honest to God/goodness effort to get to know them, and try your best to satisfy their needs and wants, then this teacher (now stay-at-home mom) gives you an “A”, a one rating, a gold star. Now go and get in bed. That’s an order.

Do you think women (particularly moms) are harder on themselves than men (dads)?

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