When you’re a new parent, especially a mom, there’s a tendency to be tough on yourself. Moms often compare themselves to others and worry about how they’re doing. And it’s hard when you’re a new parent because you get no “feedback” or “job performance reviews” from the person who matters most to you - your baby! You’re expected to measure yourself against ill-defined abstract self-imposed targets.
But what if we could let the baby give you a “report card?” What would your baby say to “grade” his mom’s performance in questions like, “Am I making enough milk? Is my baby growing? Am I a good mom? What could I do better?”
For women who are familiar with employee performance reviews, this “scorecard” approach might be fun. Think of it as kind of a “check in” where a mom can make “course corrections” to do “better” in the next grading period. It’s all for fun!
We adapted a few categories from a typical “Parent Report Card” to show new parents a light-hearted and reassuring look at what their babies might really be thinking about their mom’s “job performance.”
Understands my Moods
This is a tough one, mom. I don’t even understand my moods myself, most of the time. Some days I just feel a bit overwhelmed and crazy - other days everything is calm. You do a pretty good job of trying to figure me out - but for some reason you seem to think that it is your fault if I am sad, crying or annoying. Trust me this is going to take 15 or 20 years to figure out – or longer! Ha ha! So try to relax, and don’t worry too much if I am irrational. I’m just a baby, after all! I’ll give you a “B+” on this one. I give myself a C- so no worries!
Quality of Hugs
This category needs another score higher than “A,” because on this performance you exceed all my expectations. Hugs are so incredibly useful and most moms have figured this one out almost by their nature. Seriously – with hugging, you have absolutely no need for improvement. The only slight thing I would say is that you really don’t have to hug me ALL the time, hug daddy and your friends too. And oh yes - hug yourself. Hormones help - but you get an A+ on hugs.
Tells Me She Loves Me
You definitely say all the love words every day and I think you really mean it. It has become a kind of constant refrain in my life though, so I really don’t know what “love” is yet. I think it will take me some time to figure out. Honestly I am more interested in “how” you love me - and you are doing great with that. You don’t have to buy me stuff to keep me happy - even though I will keep telling you (especially during the teenage years) that there is a relationship between love and stuff - there really isn’t. I give you a “B+” on love because I would love you to not worry so much and love yourself too.
Lets Me Act My Age
Well I have no idea what the proper behaviour is for a baby my age, but I would say to just choose your battles a bit more carefully. Don’t stress if I keep throwing things out of the crib - it’s only a toy. Don’t get upset if I do really stupid things or cry for absolutely no reason - I am just a baby. I’m still getting used to everything, and we’re both learning how to relate to each other and communicate and bond. Score on this one is “A-.”
Makes Good Food
OK Mom, this one is off the chart. I have no idea how you do it, but the breastmilk you make is INCREDIBLE. It’s warm, delicious, it’s good for me, it tastes like a wide variety of flavours and spices, and it’s always conveniently ready for me whenever I’m hungry, and I love that amazing pump that you use to make extra milk for the times when I’m extra hungry or daddy or grandma takes over. I think this is where you are doing absolutely amazing work - please don’t stop! They say it’s good to feed me this gourmet food until I am 2 years old, and I am totally good with that! A++ on this one.
Keeps the House Tidy
This one is absolutely not important to me. So I give you an “A,” but really, I don’t care. Don’t worry about the dishes, ironing, sweeping, dusting, whatever. It’s just not a priority. I’d rather just spend more time together than watch you cleaning the house.
Thinks About Me
In this category, I absolutely cannot think of anything you could do better. I know you think that you are being selfish when you want to sleep or go shopping by yourself or have a date night with dad, but don’t worry, everything is perfect! Your relationship with Dad is important too, and that is why thinking about me is only part of the story. Your grade here is “A-” because I want you to think more about yourself, too.
Makes me Laugh
Well since I honestly feel that you think it is your job to entertain me at all times, I give you an “A+” on this one. You are always making me smile and laugh – and despite all the challenges I give you – there is a lot of laughter in our house. It means a lot. I love the everyday fun, smiles, peek-a-boo games and special snuggles.
Helps Me Make My Room a Special Place
The work you did to create a sanctuary for me has been wonderful. I’m not sure how you knew that blue was going to be my favourite colour - you can already read my mind! Just the fact that you care, and pay attention to the things I love and do your best to make my life perfect is wonderful. You get an “A” on this one too!
Makes Me Feel Safe and Protected
Mom, this is the easiest one to answer. Your breastfeeding really helps with making me feel safe and protected, because breastmilk contains special ingredients that keeps me healthy and helps me grow strong! And even when we’re not breastfeeding, you always make me feel like in your arms I am safe and protected. Dad is a great help, too – we are learning a lot about each other because you let him help to look after me.
Keeping a baby safe and protected at all time must feel like the hardest part of your job, and I sometimes get the feeling that you are new to this too. So let’s help each other. Your grade is “A+++” on this one.
Overall Grade: A+
Great job, Mom! I know that every day you’re doing the best you can, and you’re making decisions based on love and hope for our future. I look forward to many more special days, hours and little moments together, for many years to come. So overall I give you an A+!
What are your thoughts on this? If your baby could “grade” your performance as a mother, what should she say? Leave a comment, or join the discussion on the Medela Facebook page.