Nearly every media outlet gives out a “Mom of the Year” award. Jennifer Garner was named celebrity mom of the year by Parenting Magazine. We regular working moms are honored by parenting magazines as well. Me? I have never won this award. Am I worthy of winning this award? Yes. Do I need to win this award to prove something to everyone? No.
The only people I need to please are the two little people who live in my house. And maybe my husband. If he thinks I am doing a good job as a mom, I am having a good day.
I never really think about what other people outside of my own family think about my parenting skills. I am however, very aware of how I parent my kids in public. I try not to scream at them in Target, I make sure to take them to the library and read to them (not just let them pick out books and make them read to themselves while we are there.)
Someone at work once read this column and went out of their way to say that I was a good mom. It was a nice comment, but since he’s never actually seen me parent, I took it with a grain of salt.
Those who have seen me parent are the leaders at my oldest daughter’s after-school program. She’s been there for three years and we know these people well. They know my daughter’s personality and they are familiar with our family dynamic.
The program is run through the city and the leaders are always telling the parents and the kids about various other programs that the city is offering throughout the year. For instance, during school breaks, they have weeklong camps for kids whose parents work. The leaders approached me this year because for $7 I could have a Santa letter written to my kids.
I thought this was a great idea. What a neat way to generate a little more revenue for the city programs during the holidays. This wasn’t even what blew me away. It was what the leaders said, which made me think I am a great nominee for Mother of the Year.
“We knew you would want to do this for your kids,” they said. “We didn’t even tell anyone else.”
No one? I was the only one? You guys think I am so awesome that I would spend $14 to have a Santa letter sent to my kids? Of course I would, because I should be Mother of the Year – a candidate, at least.
I was done after that. It doesn’t take much to set off my Mommy pride-o-meter. When a couple of 20-somethings, who are for the most part strangers, recognize that I consistently go above and beyond for my kids and do the little things that I know they will enjoy, I am flattered. I had to come through after that. A couple of days later, I filled out the forms for the Santa letter, dropped them off at the community center and a couple of weeks later, two letters from Santa arrived at our home in shiny red envelopes.
My kids were ecstatic and confused at the same time.
I’ve set the bar so high now though that I have to keep doing this stuff. Since my kids don’t know that the letter sort of came from me, I have to keep making everyone else believe that I consistently do the little things to put a smile on my kids’ faces.
Maybe next year I will win that Mother of the Year award.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.