I need to speak to my HR rep…

3 Aug

What do you see when you hear the word mom or mother?  I see a tidy, pretty lady with a warm smile – not too toothy – with a natural glow and only enough makeup on to indicate a concern for personal appearance.  My mom image tends to have a petite figure, although she occassionally shows evidence of sampling all the cookies and treats she has made for her family.  She is confident, but not cocky.  She often wears white and she accomplishes each task deftly.  She is adored by her children and admired by society.

I think this has to be at least part of the reason that I wake up in fits of anxiety and discouragement.  There are so many days I feel like the anti-mom.  As mornings begin by stepping over stacks of books, ignoring bathrooms that at times could make a gas station feel proud and sporting a glow that is comprised of some unidentified sticky residue on my face from the night before that was overlooked.  I have to admit my smiles on occassion are sarcastic and the lilting voice I should have is replaced by dispondence.  I tend to favor the body style of the cookie mom, but sadly not with the credit of having baked the calories I consumed.  My frazzled appearance, trembling hands paired and faded rose appearance that only hints at former beauty underscore my uncertainty and lack of confidence.  While blessed to be adored by my children, I am cursed by the unworthy feeling I have each time I see love in their faces.  Each day is a frantic effort to out run my apathy in hopes of accomplishing just one task of value.  Each moment is a challenge to ensure that society does not find me out and vocalize outloud what I know inside, that I have failed at the moming job and generally do not add value to the advancement of the human race.

Are you still reading?  Congratulations on your ability to survive such a measure of self-loathing.  Hopefully you are reading as an interested tourist stunned and amazed by a reality you are completely unfamiliar with.  We ask that you refrain from flash photography as it can upset the moms and lead to irrational and potentially dangerous behavior. 

Some selfish part of me hopes that you read on because you can relate to some of these word.  That maybe I am not the only one in my self-pitied filled world.  Even better, I am hopeful that you perservered because you can relate to this state of mind from previous experience and have a success story to share that will somehow clarify things for me and allow me to either succeed on my terms or redefine the terms.

I envy people with “real” jobs.  Jobs with a specific location, a job description, a boss, annual reviews and regular paychecks acknowledging your efforts.  How great would it be to wake up with a specific list of tasks that were expected of you, and to ensure your ability to succeed at your workstation you would find a stack of the tools and resources you would need to accomplish each item.  How exceptional would it be to have a “boss” who identified your priorities for you and whom, in fact, would create your “to-do” list for you.  A boss who is ultimately accountable for the decision to lay one thing aside in order to accomplish a higher prioirty.  Best yet, annual reviews and paychecks.  Each week, month or year receiving either validation or specific crticism on the areas you were responsible for.  How amazing would it be to have a piece of paper that said “I did good” instead of depending on some internal source of confidence that just isn’t there.

I think even better would be if moms were sent out of town for training.  Can you imagine be sent, all expenses paid, to a three day conference in Las Vegas, OK tone it down a bit – Atlanta, to receive manuals and workbooks on how to mom properly.  How revolutionary would it be if there was a right way and a wrong way of moming and your own efforts could be effectively and objectively measured.  “Well Sue, last week your numbers were dipping pretty badly, but I am glad to say after your effort to implement the Strongheiser technique, you have shown a 65% increase in production.”

I want to live in this world.  I want to know what process to use.  I want to know that if I follow the steps and work hard that I can buy Donna Reed clothes.  I want to have my employer provide me with the resources and training to ensure that I can, with enough effort and some late nights at the office, be promoted to June Cleaver.  I want bonus checks for exceeding expectations and I think I could really enjoy an employee cafeteria with a coffee bar.

I think that the worst part of this job is that despite all of the ambiguity in expectations and processes; despite the lack of tangible and objective affirmation; despite the constant feelings of failure and inadequacy, I don’t want to quit.  Maybe that is the worst thing of all, that even though you feel confident that you are far from qualified for the job, you will fight vigourously to ensure that no one steals your position.

Don’t be discourged by my rantings.  If you are among the Mrs. Bradys of the world, don’t allow your lipstick to smudge or your smile to dampen by my shaken spirit.  If you are, like me, restless and afraid – know that the vision in your head is only your reality.  Odds are that the other moms you see each day, you know the ones who have it all together and carry wipies to boot, struggle to understand how you manage to float through each day so easily while they struggle to pack a diaper bag.


One Response to “I need to speak to my HR rep…”

  1. Trish August 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    I felt all that but my kids somehow survived my inadequate attempts. I think they’re pretty terrific adults.
    The problem is that being a parent isn’t a job. It’s a state of being. All other events occur within the parent state which can lead to distortion.
    Much as there is no perfect vacuum, there is no perfect parent. We just all slog along hoping we don’t dobtoo much harm. Based on my observations, most of us do okay.

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