By Mary Ann Blair of Miracles in the Mess
When I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, I knew there were some things I would miss about being part of the traditional workforce. I would miss the daily interactions with my co-workers, the feeling of being a part of a mission that was greater than myself, and the pride I felt in contributing to our family financially. (And also maybe the donuts in the staff lounge on Fridays).
But there was one thing I desperately miss that wasn’t even on the radar — my annual performance evaluation. While I considered myself a good employee and never was hit with a negative performance review, it wasn’t something I ever really looked forward to. Especially when it meant I had to evaluate my own skill-set. That messed with my head.
If I give myself high marks, will my boss think I’m bragging? If I give myself lower marks, will she think I’m a slacker? Yeah . . . so NOT my favorite thing. Given all that, it might seem strange that I really miss those pages of boxes ranking my work performance.
But here’s the thing. As a SAHM, I have no way to really know how I’m doing at my new 9 to 5 — or more realistically, how I’m doing from the crack of dawn until my darlings are asleep at night. I am in a constant state of evaluation (Should I have let him have that third granola bar? Do I let them fight it out until the death or intervene? Why is it so dang hard to shower around here?), but I have no authority figure watching my performance and giving me feedback or praise. Truth be told, there are some days that I long for both.
I was used to having work goals that were measurable and a working environment that was pretty consistent from day to day. I also didn’t have co-workers throwing spaghetti at me in the lunchroom. And now? I certainly don’t feel like I am “exceeding” in any areas of motherhood, but am I doing enough to at least “meet expectations”? I have no freaking clue!
I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed in my current role as a stay-at-home mom, but what does success even look like?
Maybe it means we survived another day without anyone getting stitches.
Maybe it means I only let my kids have one hour of screen time. (Who am I kidding, that never happens.)
Maybe it means we only had one potty accident instead of four.
Maybe it means we made it out of Target without having to apply for a second mortgage. (Gosh, I love that store.)
Maybe it means my kids will eventually move out of my basement.
Maybe it means they will never appear on an episode of COPS.
I guess I don’t know how to design a proper motherhood rubric of success. I really miss those pages with the neat and tidy little columns. I miss knowing that if I did X, then Y would happen. I miss knowing that if I had an issue, I could just submit a ticket to the help desk. And if I’m being totally honest, I miss having my boss or co-workers tell me I’m doing a good job. Because my kids don’t seem to want to throw Mommy a bone.
I guess when all is said and done, I wouldn’t trade this gig. I may never have a firm grasp on how I’m actually doing, and the salary sucks. But the benefits are pretty stellar.
About the Author
Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, and Red Tricycle. She can be found at miraclesinthemess.com or on Facebook.
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