Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm Overdue for my Performance Evaluation

While C and R were at their last morning of VBS, I had big plans to take Siley with me to The City. You know, the one with stores and other fancery. It seemed like a great idea, until we got drenched in a sneaky downpour. And then Silas threw a fit because I made him hold my hand as we crossed the parking lot into Lowe's. We did the whole drag-the-child-by-the-arm-while-he-hops-and-screeches. A dude with multiple piercings gave me an endeared smile and held the door for me and I've gotta be honest, it helped.

Until we were in the paint aisle and Silas commenced another fit over the paint chips. I get that they are oddly intriguing, but two "byues" (blues) were enough, in my humble opinion.

This child. He really is fitful.

And that's all I'll say about that.

Later, whilst weeding my green beans and surprise flower bed, it hit me: I'm not privy to constant feedback on how fantastic I am at my job. I don't get glowing performances evaluations. I am not publicly bragged about. My boss doesn't take me out for lunch on a random Tuesday.

I agree, it's odd that I had never fully realized this until today. There were puzzling meteorological conditions at the time of my epiphany which must have had something to do with it. Dirty nails and rumbling thunder and two kids armed with cans of Silly String are known to produce heightened levels of clarity. You should totally try it.

But anyway.

I was not really feeling sorry for myself. But I did decide that I had earned a fabulous day off. I would hire a sitter for the whole day (this is a recurring daydream of mine) and go somewhere. With cash in my pocket. I would buy two new books, maybe three. I'd wear a cute outfit and probably even earrings. I would eat whatever the heck I wanted to for lunch and take in a matinee. I would fix my hair. I would sing Missy Higgins songs with the windows down, dragging out every last Aussie drawl. "Groeyw towll shuyougah caiyne..."

The silly string ran out and the clouds loomed low, so with my hands covered in dirt, we all high-tailed it inside and I prepared my own Big Promotion dinner. Dinner prep was as chaotic as always, but I kept thinking to myself, "Make your own day."

It's what we Mamas do. It's what we have to do. We decide what it takes to nudge us through the soggy parts. Well, it just so happens that I need dinner on the porch involving both gorgonzola and feta.

I'd heard good things about this place.

We watched Edwin and Fredwin and Ralphie while we dined. We wiped our mouths on the old curtains. Silas chanted "Mo Bacon! Mo Bacon!"

The kids cleaned their plates, and I decided to call that an "Exceeds Expectations".

In lieu of a raise, I gave myself a slice of strawberry pie.

All things considered, it was a good day at the office.

And one last thing, from me to you: You are good at your job, Mama. Good, as in the world around you probably would implode just a little without you. You keep things clean and bodies fed. You get people where they need to go. You play games when you'd rather not. You create the world around your Littles every single day and make it look like magic. You have totally earned a day off. But until you actually get one, settling for pie isn't a half-bad idea. Trust me.


  1. You are so precious to me.

    I shall need a day off directly and I shall need to take you with me when I take it.


    P.S.- Siley, fitful?

    Surely not.

  2. Stawberry shortcake...heaven! Boys at their friends all day, peace and quiet to read and hang with Little Mama...good day at the office for me too. Hope you are well. -Jess

  3. Girl you just brought tears to my eyes. How infrequent it is for someone to say to Mama, great job, THANK YOU for all that you do, the big things like making birthdays special and the little things like magically returning a favorite pair of shorts to the drawer before school tomorrow morning. Shannan you always amaze me with how you find time and peace of mind to put your passionate love for those kiddos of yours into words, along with feed, clean, and care for them so well! You are a rockstar Mamasita!!!!!

  4. "I'd heard good things about the place" LOL!
    I'll never forget the time I needed shoes and had gotten $ for Mother's Day (of all things...)
    I took my two toddlers tightly strapped in the stroller into the mall. I tried my darnedest to get a pair of tennis shoes at Penney's while they unbuckled and crawled out/ran off. I went home crying w/o shoes ...but I did have my two toddlers, so ...I was happy. This is Ky. don't need shoes I've heard.

  5. Thanks for this post today. I really needed it. I had just gotten done blogging about my truly upsetting day when I popped over to read yours. If it helps YOU any, I want to be just like you when I grow up!


  6. xxxxxxx

    love: The kids cleaned their plates, and I decided to call that an "Exceeds Expectations".


  7. You're so fun. I that they're asleep? Time for some sparkling grape juice. And Freedy.

  8. this is such a serious subject for me, I am turning bitter. ugh I know, get rid of that right now! there is not one thank you, no nod of appreciation, no "great job honey"....I think I'm in a mid life crisis, maybe cuz I've been raising children since I was 18. there is no day off, your right. No... honey, you look like you've had a rough one, go get a decaf and browse the book store for a couple hours....So I wear my martyrdom on my face, oh I'm so bad I know I am!! I have much to be grateful for, but a day off once in a while would be nice.. I think us mothers are saints.
    please share your strawberry pie recipe, it's my favorite thing in the whole world!

  9. love this post :)
    I adore my kids but to often daydream about my day "off"...:) & occasionally I feel guilty for doing that because according to my friends w/ teenagers I really am in the easiest stage of child rearing...{I guarantee their teenagers dont throw tantrums on the floor :) & surely the wipe themselves ;)}! ahhh...these are the days!

  10. Shannan, you are utterly the best! Thanks for this post, lovely girl.

  11. Strawberry pie would be a raise around this place! I settle for only having to sweep once, and my husband's clothes he works out in the fields with to end up in the mudroom or hamper....a girl can dream.

  12. Oh, Shannon! I can totally relate to this today. I have a three year old who has been known to throw fits with the best of them. This afternoon ended in the garden as usual with mud pies and more water than is good for the plants but is very good for an energetic little boy. Of course, he didn't want to come in for his bath and then he didn't want to get out once he got in. But...when he lays his head on my shoulder and says he's happy and he love's me...Whoaaa, definitely worth a raise and a bonus! YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB MOMMA, never doubt it for a minute.

  13. Oh yeah, mine is a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and I'm enjoying every bite!

  14. Oh, Shan, as funny as this was (and I did laugh out loud) I think I needed this today. I'm just so dang stressed out. Thanks to you. I think you get a gold star AND a butterfinger bar. A true mommy's A++!

  15. You're my favorite... and your words bring additional joy to my already joyous life!


  16. Gorgonzola? Strawberry Pie? I need to find work at your place of employment. When this mom needs a break she turns to hot dogs and Delissio. Life gets less crazy I promise. The tantrums do stop. They won't graduate and still have fits, at least not across the parking lot kind anyway. I remember those days, oh yes I do. You forget the tantrums I promise, and you only remember the sloppy kisses.

  17. I think tonight's read was a divine appointment - can a blog post BE a divine appointment? Well it was - because from the hours of about 8:15 PM till 10ish I was sitting feeling a bit down in the dumps wondering why I feel like I can't ever complete a task like I could in the "good old days when I was a teacher and not a mommy" (but desperately wanted to be a mommy and not a teacher) - thank you, girl, for your encouragement. You are fabulous!

  18. This cracked me up. Firstly because I strongly DISLIKE playing games, and in fact my newly 4yo yesterday had to correct my bad attitude part way through a game of Curious George with a "be nice Mum", and secondly because I couldn't decipher the Missy Higgins lyrics, and I'm Australian!

  19. Gosh I love it when you post. MAKES ME SO HAPPY. I gobbled up every black-and-white word of this entry, which is a lot to say for a blog. Thank you for this inspiring little piece. I might need to reference it when I write a little diddy about my own Friday.

  20. Shannan I have always wondered about the Littles names. Did you pick these, are they old family names or were they from their birth mothers.They are all so very old fashioned (don't get me wrong I do love old fashion) but have always been curious about these 3 names. Thank heavens there isn't a Tiffany, Tyler or Beau between them!!! These children melt my heart each and every time I read about them. Nancy Settel

  21. Thank you, your words are special. I shared this post with a lot of my mama friends. That pie is spectacular too!! mmm x

  22. Maybe the guy with multiple piercings was an angel in disguise? Gorgonzola AND feta--you are one wild woman!

  23. You had me at "fancery." And thank you...your encouraging Mama words are particularly helpful at this dreadful/delightful stage I am at called teenagers. Lawdy, I need all the props a Mom can get.

  24. Gosh, this is just what I needed as a newly full- time SAHM (I got a promotion of sorts) and if I thought my almost 3 year old was challenging after a full day at work, I think he may be even more challenging 24/7. I too have the kind of boy that does the dragging through the parking lot. But then he does something charming/sweet/hilarious to redeem himself (as if he had too... the eyes are enough.) So thanks for this post, dear!

  25. You have this way of saying things that stay with me and rattle around in my head for awhile. . .like all week! I have been rereading your words from your last post how God shook (that doesn't look like it is spelled right:)) you up and your hearts ended up in your head. . .or something to that effect!

    Thanks for your honesty! and that pie looks delicious. . .I might need to make some this weekend!

  26. What can I possibly say that has not already been said? Momma your 'Tops' with a capital T.

    Maybe one of these days we'll graduate from PB&J on the porch steps to your fancy 5 star country cafe.
    In the mean time I'll be 'making my own day.'

    Thank YOU!

  27. If you ever need extra encouragement go back to those comments on the post about H. If you can touch the hearts of friends in the virtual world the way you do, I imagine what you do for those you love best is incredible! You are a wonderful Mama and those 4 kiddos under your roof are blessed beyond measure to have been entrusted to you!
    And, just because it's the thought that counts, I'd totally trade Mom's Day Off babysitting duties if we were in the same state! :) You deserve a day just for you!

  28. i've always said i'm a better mom when i'm in the pool with my kids. i'll have to try silly string for rainy days - i think i have some in my stash! i think we'll have strawberry shortcake as a bonus on Sunday! you go girl...and keep going! thank you, thank you for this post!

  29. So true, so true. Your post makes me really look forward to a recently planned 'ladies day' which I will spend at a friend's salt water pool in her gorgeous backyard, surrounding by only women, no kids, where we'll eat, drink and be merry.....if only for six hours:)

  30. Good job, Mama!

    I think I need to tell you more what an awesome mom I think you are! It's so obvious how much you love your chitlins.

    As my best friend told me this last year (she has 3 kids under age 4 and one is a very cranky 10 month old that rarely sleeps!)"Some days just honestly SUCK. But even on those days, when they go to bed I say to them 'Today was a GREAT day, wasn't it?' and they say (surprised) 'It was? It was a GREAT day!' and then we talk about how tomorrow is going to be even better." I think she was the first mom who was honest about it and I felt good hearing someone be honest about it.

    And you're right: It's not like your kids regularly evaluate your performance and let you know "Overall..I'd give you a real fair 9 out of ten DAILY!"

    You made me laugh again.

    Mo bacon!

    Blue paintchips.

    Child having meltdown on way into Lowe's. (Had a similar experience with my then 3 year old nephew outside of a Home Depot- not fun!).

    I love Missy Higgins too..and my favorite:

    "I'd heard good things about this place." Too funny.

    Have a wonderful Saturday!

  31. Beautiful post as always. I'm dying for that pie!

    p.s. You can never have too many paint chips.

  32. did ya make that pie? cause i'm slighly drooling right now! oh my goodness.

  33. Here cometh your job evaluation:

    1. Creativity - A
    2. organisational skillzzzz - A
    3. taming unruly Siley skillzzz - A+
    4. amazing Wonderwoman talents - A
    5. Patience - A+

    You totally deserve a dinner out and two or three books! Hugs,Lola

  34. You nailed it as always. There are days that I feel so full and content and blessed, and there are those days where I turn my back to hide the mommy tears. Being a mommy without a mom always adds another dimension--not being able to share the parenting joys or tears with her, not having her encouragement and support. Uhg, it's so hard! But I am determined to do her proud. Besides, we'll have all of eternity to catch up! :)

  35. Loved this!
    Being a young single mom I tend to put on autopilot and push through the day.
    After reading this I think I will strive to have atleast make one moment of my day MY MOMENT.

    Love !

  36. Thanks! SO needed this week. I literally pried small hands off of an ice cream cup and carried a child kicking and screaming (while he clawed at my face and hair drawing blood), through a parking garage where I swear some people were thinking about calling the police. Thanks for the inspiration and support...we need it from each other.

  37. A good day at the office, indeed. You rock, Mama!

    My SiGuy and I always chat before bedtime about the "high and low" of his day. His low is normally something about getting an owie or being sad about when daddy left for work. But the high usually involves me and something fun or simple we did together that day. As long as he's thinking back on his day with a grin and happy thoughts of his mama, I say I get an A....even if there were disappointments or tears or messes all over.

    And thankfully HIS mercies are new every morning.

    Gorgonzola and feta sharing a plate? Yes, please!

  38. Ok! I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I've never commented! So, I am now.....I totally love it! I'm addicted! :)

  39. Thank you. I needed that. thank you. thank you. I wish I could have read this last night when someone peed in my strawberry shortcake. Pray for me, girl.

  40. I love this post, love love love it.

  41. It's what we Mamas do. It's what we have to do. We decide what it takes to nudge us through the soggy parts.

    you are so beautiful.

  42. Hey pie, cakes, cookies, bars they all work for me!

    I loved this, you are too cute and so are those kiddos!


  43. Our jobs as mums are the hardest in the world..Lowest paid in the land, BUT we wouldn't have it any other way (or would we?)..Bravo,looks like you're doing a fab job to me..xx

  44. Fitful? I have one of those.

    I love how you gave yourself permission to do this. Now, I'm off to think about what I'll do on my day off...

  45. If it's any consulation, there will come a time when your kids will reflect on their childhoods and the light will go on and they'll GET how difficult and thankless motherhood is. Just last night I pulled my moma keepsake box off the top shelf in my closet and read through some of the Mother's Day cards by now grown children have given me over the decades. In more recent years they've begun to add notes expressing true appreciation for my efforts and endurance as their mom. So, if you can just hang in there, the performance reviews WILL come, maybe just a couple of decades late.

    As always, loved and was blessed by your post. I'd give you an "exceeds expectations" in every facet of mothering and humanity.

  46. thank you, shannan. and girl you're so good, you make it look easy, which it certainly is not.


  47. yes. a total rockstar.
    good job, mama.
    and? thanks for this. i needed this today(everyday). YOU help me through the soggy parts.


  48. I remember having the same exact feelings. There's a lovely Inn here that has a beautiful patio in the summer. I would think to myself ONE day I'm going to have lunch on that beautiful patio. And you know what? I do!!!! My children are grown and I miss them all the time but I am doing the things now that had to go on the back burner for years. I think it makes you enjoy each stage of your life. If we have it all what's there to dream about? Raising a family is wonderful and the hardest thing to do at the same time.


  49. My youngest gave me difficulty shopping on the exact same day in that exact same city. He was mad that I didn't buy him the $35 titanium performance necklace (also known as magnets-on-a-string) at Dick's Sporting Goods, so whilst I was in Old Navy paying for our $1 flipflops & $6 jean shorts, he ditched us. It took Child #3 & me 30 minutes to find him. Turns out, he went out to the parking lot & sat down by the van, pouting as he waited for us. I was so happy he was safe, yet so mad he pulled that stunt.

    Why am I telling you all this? I guess not to encourage you that Silas will grow out of it, since my baby is going to be 9 years old this year. My purpose is to encourage you that it happens to all of us mommies.

  50. Thank you for this. I just had a spat with my 5 year old and was desparing that it was only 9 in the ayem. You saved my morning.

  51. Shannan - I must know - whatever is on that sandwich?? It looks like the most amazing sandwich in the world and I can't hardly figure it out. Tomato, is that avacado? the sauce? and are there more hidden goodies that i simply don't see?!? please do share! because i must make me one of those babies asap! I'm already craving it and not even sure whats on it:) Thanks for sharing!!! :-)

  52. oh man, I have had that feeling so many times...for some reason I felt selfish for wanting some recognition or a pat on the back for the job of parenting two boys that resembled rabid racoons most of the time! Now that they are older I wish that I could have enjoyed it more...but how is knocked out teeth and climbing on top of the fridge at 9 months old enjoyable?!! It's only funny when someone else's kid does it! I'm right there with you!

  53. Ooh, thanks for the encouragement!

  54. We sooo love bacon and pie' round these parts. I love the porch dining shot. Have a spectacular day! xxoo