When you’re a mom of teens, compliments from them to you do not come fast and furious. At least not in my household. My teens seem to be mainly concerned about themselves. I don’t say that to be insulting or critical; it’s just a fact of life in Teen World. But last week, I received a compliment from one of my boys and it’s one of those moments that will stay with me forever.
Before my son Hunter had his knee surgery in July, he went on a hike with some of his friends. He said they were complaining about their troubled relationships with their mothers. I think at one point they looked at him to add some validation to their diatribes and he said, “Honestly guys, I don’t have that type of relationship with my mom. She is actually a lot of fun and I like being around her.”
I asked him if he really said that or was he telling me he said that just to make me feel good. He assured me that he said that.
Wow. I know I felt my eyes well up with tears but I didn’t want him to see that because you, know, teens don’t want to be caught hanging with their crying mom. So I turned around quickly, grabbed that moment and locked it away till later.
And when it was later, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. Remember Sally Field at the Oscars (yes, I’m that old). You like me! You really like me! I was Sally Field in all her tearful glory. My son actually liked me and he wasn’t afraid to tell his friends. I’m welling up again.
Parent Performance Evaluations?
In a blended family of step-kids and step-parents, the blending takes time. Even when the blender is going really strong, things don’t always come out as smoothly as we’d like. But my husband and I try our hardest to ensure that each one of our kids knows that we love him no matter what.
Sometimes, it is hard to know how we’re doing. At work, most people are evaluated on their performance. I always knew I did well based on my boss’ feedback, the scores in my evaluation and subsequent raise. But parents don’t receive a performance evaluation (unless you base it on the number of rolled eyes, grunts and time spent in their bedrooms as feedback from teens), and we certainly don’t receive a raise from our kids. Sometimes it feels like we’re just grasping in the dark. But then you hear a compliment from your kid masked in a story about an afternoon out with friends, and all I can say is that I’ll take that over a raise any day.