Recently, my children kept complaining about how I was the “worst Mom ever”, and “so unfair”, among other issues. I started to wonder if those balanced out enough with the times they would give more positive affirmations of my parenting such as, “You’re the best, Mom!” or “This is the best day ever!”
I have a full-time career outside of the home and over the course of that career, I’ve received and given plenty of performance reviews. With the inconsistent feedback I was receiving at home, I thought perhaps it was time to get a better handle on how I’m truly doing.
I thoughtfully composed a list of questions and then set out to get some honest opinions from my children.
We were in the van and since they were strapped into their seatbelts in a moving vehicle, they couldn’t run away or be distracted by a TV, so I thought that was a great start. I let them know how much I love them and how important it is to talk to each other about how we’re feeling and also about how we’re doing in our jobs. They understand that we all have our jobs in the family so at least we were speaking the same language.
I let them know I had some questions for them about how I’m doing in my job as a mommy and that I’d ask them one at a time for answers.
It was clear that there were no wrong answers and this was a chance for them to tell me how they really were feeling.
Here are the results of my Parent Performance Review:
Q: Can you list what my jobs are in the family?
5 year old: “Get the garage done, feed the kids and baby and clean stuff.”
7 year old: “Go to work, do chores, fold laundry, do your morning routine, get everyone ready, do everything at once, make sure everyone has what they need.”
Q: Which of my jobs do I do the best?
5 year old: “Folding laundry.”
7 year old: “Working so that you can get money!”
Q: How do I show you that I care about you?
5 year old: “By saying that you care about us, duh.”
7 year old: “By buying us stuff.”
Q: Are there times you feel that I don’t care about you?
5 year old: “Yeah, when I don’t get things that I want.”
7 year old: “When you get mad at us.”
Q: Do I remember things that are important to you?
5 year old: “Um, yeah.”
7 year old: “Yes!”
Q: Do you think that I’m doing my very best?
5 year old: “Yes!”
7 year old: “Yep.”
Q: What could I do better?
5 year old: “Let us have one piece of candy after dinner.”
7 year old: “I don’t know.”
Q: What do I do that bugs you?
5 year old: “You yelled at me loudly.”
7 year old: “When you say when I have to feed the cats and dog and I don’t get to watch TV.”
Q: If we had a whole day together just you and me, what would you want to do?
5 year old: “We could ride in a taxi together and go to the movies.”
7 year old: “I would want to go to Seattle together and also go to the movies.”
Q: Are there things that you worry about in our family?
5 year old: “Yes, that the pets will die and also that a witch will come.”
7 year old: “Yes that our cats will die and also that until the baby gets older we won’t be able to spend time with you.”
Q: What else would you like to say?
5 year old: “Nothing. Nope.”
7 year old: “Just that you’re the best Mom ever.”
Q: So overall, how am I doing as your mom?
5 year old: “Good. You are making us go to school and that’s good so we can learn Spanish.”
7 year old: “Amazing.”
Sure, after a bad day or a trip to a beach I’m sure I’d get different answers to these questions, but I’m thinking now that I want to revisit them in six months or so to gauge how things are going.
As moms, we constantly give our children feedback, but where’s the oversight on us? Do we need it? Do we want it?
Figuring that it depends on the individual, it’s always interesting to hear what our children have to say about us. Perhaps, as they get older and better articulate their thoughts, some real change can occur to make things easier on both sides. Until then, at least I can get some funny responses from my kids and honestly,
I feel much better now that I’m not really the “worst Mom ever.” Well, at least not today.
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