Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'll Take the Kudos Any Way I Can Get Them

For me, one of the most frustrating aspects of being a stay(work)-at-home mother is the staggering lack of validation for childrearing and the myriad other duties as assigned. There's no one around to pat me on the back, to tell me I'm doing a good job. I guess I could flip that around and say that at least no one is there to purse their lips and inform me that my performance leaves much to be desired. Either way, it's much like operating in a vacuum.

Although I disliked receiving (not to mention writing) performance evaluations, at least they provided an opportunity for me to hear how I was doing. Now the feedback is only indirect -- if my kids seem happy and content, if they have enriching activities and time to just relax and use their imaginations, I suppose my job performance rating can be considered satisfactory.

And as I discovered yesterday, validation can come from the most unlikely source.

For the past few days we've been bedeviled by a large black fly. We couldn't catch it, couldn't even coax it through an open door. Allie was especially concerned about this uninvited guest. At one point she was cowering under the kitchen table; "I'm hiding from the bug," she whimpered.

Finally, I successfully smacked the cagey fly with one stroke of a folded-up magazine. According to Allie you would have thought I'd cured cancer:

"Wow, Mom! GREAT job! You got the fly! Good for YOU!"

So, if nothing else, at least I know I am a competent fly-swatter.