There is one major thing missing from my job: accolades. I'll admit, pretty much the only thing I miss about the work force is the, "Wow! You got that done already?" and the "This is exactly what I was looking for" and even the sincere "Thank you. You saved me."
My pods are pretty wonderful and I've trained them to say complimentary things to me (I LOVE what you've done in here, Mom, and etc.), but it's not the same.
It goes with the territory, I suppose. In a work setting, you take on a project then finish a project. When it is finished, there is usually immediate feedback. While that feedback is not always good, at least you know when you've screwed up. Here in the child rearing realm, you won't know for a while--like the years and years kind of a while--whether you were doing your duties correctly. You may not see (or notice) the repercussions of poor parenting for a long time. When you see the mistake you made, it is sometimes too late to change it.
Then, to make sure that I was completely under-appreciated, I didn't send my super genius children to school. Talk about dumb move for the elevation of my ego. I never get notes home that say, "Your child is the smartest child in the universe," or "You are doing a wonderful job at home because Pod A is polite and kind and compassionate. Thank you for giving the gift of his presence in my classroom this year," which is obviously what they would say, but I would even take a, "Hair brushed, shoes tied. Third day in a row. Kudos."
My rewards come, yeah, yeah. If it weren't for those little smiles or the reaching arms or the "I did it, Mom!" 's, I would have stopped reproducing a long time ago.
Yesterday, my dad was giving a speech. He teaches fifth grade in an Ain't Got Me No Money school. He knows what a difference home makes. He said, in part, "Mother's aren't always appreciated in our society, but I want you to know . . . some of us know what you are doing . . . and we appreciate you."
Mom told me today on the phone and tears sprang to my eyes. Thank you, Dad. I doubt you were referring to me, but I felt it. It was a like certificate for Job Well Doing. I've hung it up and will look at it often. It will sustain me after a day of thankless laundering, feeding, and geography lessons.