How do you know if you’re doing a good job?

“Im a mess”. That was one of the sentences spoken at the Mama Bear group I ran a couple of weeks ago. We have all said or felt some version of that in whatever phase of life we may be in. What is it that qualifies as “a mess”? For some it has to do with the state of their home, the appearance of their children, the amount of tasks that go uncompleted throughout a day or week, maybe hygiene practices or eating habits. However, for some being “a mess” has more to with a mental state; NOT feeling stable, calm, grounded or self- aware.

The conversation during the group evolved to discussing: how do you know if you’re doing a good job? This is a question that was highlighted for me by my mother a couple of weeks prior to the Mama Bear group where the discussion began. My mother had agreed to watch my son for me while I went to a doctors appointment. On my way to the appointment I received a text from her that read “you’re doing a great job”. That’s all and that’s all that was needed. It felt so good to have someone other than my husband recognize me, even in a text message.

One of my strengths as noted by my husband (he’s so good at praise) is my ability to self soothe, which I suppose could be attributed back to my mother as well. However, because I am able to do this I put out a persona that adoration, support, guidance and appreciation may not be pleasures that I hold high. This is not true, not at all. As a woman, and I know I am not speaking for all women I am generalizing, we desire human connection. Connection is often or easily found in recognition. Its another person saying, “I see you and I like what I see”. Sometimes that message is accomplished through our words and sometimes through our actions. The absence of this is also unfortunately all too often what we receive.

My mother’s text message fueled me for days, remained at the forefront of my mind for weeks and will be included in the messages I strive to provide to the woman (and men) who I counsel for years to come.

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