A few weeks ago I had my annual performance review at work. I wasn’t optimistic about this one. I’ve always had pretty great performance reviews. For pre-baby me, work was life. I was dedicated.
But this review covered a full year of me figuring out what it means to be a working mom. And since I still haven’t figured THAT out, and since most of my attempts at figuring it out are MESSY, I figured it was time for some pretty serious feedback.
And then I read this in my review:
“I would like to add this – As a working mother, Tricia is a model of excellence and a real inspiration to how to handle balancing life and family.”
Yeah, that’s right. I’m an inspiration. Be inspired.
My reaction to this came in three phases:
Phase 1: AWE
Really? Someone said that about me? That’s amazing! That might be the best piece of feedback I have every received.
Phase 2: DENIAL
Ok, so that’s nice, and all, but how does this person think they know? How do they know even the slightest little thing about how I’m balancing life and family? How do they know that I’m not typing away at emails when I get home from work and completely ignoring Baby? How do they know that I’m not just sitting at my desk, staring at baby photos, and reading mommy blogs all day and completely ignoring work? Have they not seen the crazed look in my eye EVERY OTHER DAY for the past year because I have been woefully out of balance?
Phase 3: ACCEPTANCE
Regardless of how much detail this reviewer has about my life, I don’t, in fact, work when I get home. I turn my phone off and I hang out with Baby. And I don’t, in fact, spend my office-time daydreaming about Baby. I get my work done. And regardless of what this person knows, I do work really hard to make this thing balance. I constantly prioritize and re-prioritize. I plan and re-plan. I evaluate almost every decision against a number of factors to determine when it is acceptable to do work instead of spending time with Baby and when it is acceptable to spend time with Baby instead of doing work. And it’s hard. Some days it makes me feel like I am CERTIFIABLY INSANE. But I do feel like I have gotten better at it in the past year. It has gotten a little bit EASIER (never easy). And that’s something.
So, thank you kind reviewer. I really do think that was the best piece of feedback that I have ever received.