Mama’s Performance Review


So nobody handed me a guidebook in the delivery room and said, “Here you go dear. Here are your expectations for the year and if your baby is found completing milestones x, y and z you are on for a promotion next year.”

Nope, that didn’t happen. I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps it didn’t happen for you either. It wouldn’t be a bad idea come to think of it. Since motherhood is single handedly the hardest, most rewarding and yet, without a doubt the most daunting job on the planet. Uncertainty is something I struggle with almost daily. That fear of failure, especially failure in motherhood, looms slightly over the sunniest of days sometimes. It’s not that I’m not giving my best, it’s just that is my best good enough question that gets me.

In my previous life I was a nurse. I worked full-time in just about every department of a level one trauma center in the Miami Valley, otherwise known as Dayton, Ohio. Sure, when I started my job I was practically still wet behind the ears. Wide-eyed and eager to learn, I signed up for every externship and internship available from college until I resigned. Wounds were my sweet spot and I talked to and bandaged many a sweet soul back in those days. I guess that’s why still, to this day, I can get up in the middle of supper, change a dirty diaper and come back to finish dinner without giving it a second thought. Experience, ladies. It did me well. A poopy diaper has nothing on what I used to get my hands into.

Having always been a talker, one of my favorite things about being a nurse were the relationships I formed. I worked the night shift and there is hardly anyone you’ll ever find more eager to talk than one who suddenly finds themselves smack dab in the middle of a life threatening health crisis.

I talked with people, prayed with people, nursed wounds and gave meds and treatments. And along the way I must have done something right. Because every year on my performance review, there was hardly ever a thing that I needed to change. In fact, it always seemed that I was trying to wiggle my way out of being talked into management or going back to school. Just about the time anything like that would have happened, you guessed it. I found out I was pregnant!


And even though I had a passion for nursing and still do actually, my desires quickly changed from long shifts keeping said number of people alive…to nursing and loving on and giving life to that little person growing inside of me. There was never any question that I would be a stay at home mom. It was what I desired and because we didn’t have any close family members to help, the choice was simple. Sure, we could have hired a baby sitter (as we now often do) but for the bulk of newborn care, I wanted to be the one to do the job.

Just like any new mama, the first few months I was consumed. You know as well as I do there’s just nothing like the smell of a newborn! And the way that they move their little tiny fingers open and closed into a little fist, oh my goodness I could just sit and watch all day. For us there wasn’t much of a break in between children so I soon found myself busier than ever elbow deep in the care of my little people.

They were (and still are) my world. Our days were spent with me trying to find every fun activity around town to have them involved in, play dates with friends, lazy days at home, days exploring outside, days looking at books and playing games inside. You name it and we tried it. They were happy kids and I was/am just as happy to be reliving the joy of childhood right along side them.

Except for the days as they got older and one diaper turned into another and then potty training happened, the tantrums grew less frequent and it seemed like I blinked and somehow they both went to elementary school. Those are the days, actually these are the days, that I just look around at the infants who became children and sometimes I’m so overcome by the fact that in a large part, they already have set in their makeup who they are going to become. It’s an awesome responsibility that I don’t take lightly, and I’m sure you don’t either.

With my little one about to head to kindergarten in the fall I can’t help but think, “Oh God, I hope I did something right. I hope I did a LOT of things right.” I know I did a lot of things wrong. That much I can tell you for sure. And the thing is, there was no one along the way, no boss standing over me saying, “Good job, Angel. Nice work this year.” Or, “Good grief girl, you need to stop yelling so much.”

I never got an annual performance review or a promotion. Instead I got something far greater…and it’s taken me a while, but now I can see it. For someone who was used to measuring herself in quantitative sorts, it can take a bit of adjusting lenses to see the value in those days spent changing diaper after diaper and wiping little noses and calming tantrums that sometimes no one else even saw.

I got to witness the making of two of the most precious human beings alive, my children. Day in and day out, through the washing of soiled sheets days on end during potty training, to the cutting up of hundreds of tiny little chicken nuggets over the years, to the colossal amount of Spray ‘N Wash used on loads of tiny little pieces of laundry, to the defiant days of disciplining the obstinate three year old…it was all making something beautiful.

There will never be a more precious, yet under recognized/appreciated job. Motherhood: it’s not for the faint of heart. But it’s a job I’d sign up for again tomorrow. Even without the performance review.


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