Someone once told me, or maybe I read it somewhere, that you should take compliments the same way you take criticism. To internalize a term of endearment, equally, as you would a ridiculing remark. To remain even keel and unwavering in confidence and ability, no matter what the wind may bring.
I get this, but come on. We all want a trophy. We all want to be rewarded for the long hours of behind the scenes martyrdom we perceive ourselves engaging in everyday. Wouldn’t it be nice if a man dressed in a suit showed up at your doorstep with balloons, like a Publishers Clearing House commercial, and announced that you have WON!?? You, our damsel in domestic distress, have won the award… the trophy… the title… for the best unloader of dishes while roasting beets, wiping noses and refilling sippy cups simultaneously!!! He and his big smiling teeth team are here to say THANK YOU, to you, our unloading, nose wiping, cup filling and roasting over achiever!
DING-DING-DING-DING-DING!!!!!! Show her what she’s won, Bob!!!!
Well, if you are waiting for that man, you may wait awhile.
When I was in the throes of ATTEMPTING to breast-feed three newborns (it’s kind of like how Jesus fed 5000 men with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread – only he is JESUS and I’m not), my sister-in-law sent me a text message saying, “Keep up the great work, Mama, breast-feeding is a THANKLESS job.” I loved that text message, and clearly still do.
THANKLESS job. Meaning no trophy. No balloons. And probably no men in suits to say thank you.
How true it is. Not just breast-feeding…but all of it. The other feeding, the when they won’t eat feeding, the throwing cups at you feedings, the no napping, the worrying, the exhaustion, the laundry, the wanting to have patience and you don’t, the dressing, the diapering, the bathing, the…you get it.
So why do we do it? Because we know deep down it’s right. It’s our calling. And one little giggle, wet smooch or first word can pay it all back in a nano-second…(and often only lasts a nano-second, but hey.)
I feel the same with my other “baby” – my hobby turned weird, real life thing I can’t define: writing.
This writing gig, unpaid and unrecognized, is real for me. It’s not a hobby standing alone, but a leisure-pursuit that is paired with a heart-song, a career path and a deliverance from evil. I show up to my store-front everyday ready to make the doughnuts, totally in the dark of whether or not anyone is in line, or ever will be in line, to in fact desire/buy a doughnut. And I try hard to revisit the advice, “take criticism (radio silence on your blog), the same way you would a compliment (40 comments or new ‘likes’).” Grrr. Hard.
I sit in coffee shops or in our home office in the early light writing/pouring my heart out. Kind of like opening the clear plastic valve on a child’s floaty device and then sitting on it until all the air comes out. It’s deeply distracting from reality and profoundly emotional when I let these crazy rambling thoughts filter through my mind to fingers to page. Sometimes I will be sitting here at my office (my favorite local cafe – Hearthstone) in my own trance, writing about anything and nothing, and then I’ll get up to go to the restroom and hear a CCR song…”I wanna know…have you ever seen rain… ” and I will cry… not because I haven’t seen the rain, but because my heart is so porous from being open to what is bigger than me, that just about anything will make that heart bleed, in a good way. Similar to when you see your kids do something innocent and pure and real, something that you didn’t teach them, like come and kiss you for no particular reason or smile without being prompted. And you have tears because you just got a glimpse of why we are here…why we participate in monotonous rounds of groundhog days…adding up to this thing called life. Knowing without a doubt, and without a thank you, you are doing all that you were intended to do. You have a purpose and all these little things are really the big things.
So, I sit here this morning, crying at everything and nothing. I have tears, not because I am sad, or because that man in the suit didn’t show up this morning. Or because I didn’t get a trophy. And not even because I am happy I “won” a spot in the contest I was in this last month. I am crying because last night I decided to bypass the advice to take a compliment with an even keel approach. Every “vote” I received in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Moms of Multiples Blog contest felt like a vote of confidence, a push of “YES!” and a pat on the back. I am full of joy and gratitude for the support and love offered to me and my endeavors…this blog, these words, these connections. You guys, whoever you are, when you read these words and when you feel emotion or gain a small sense of assembly, I feel like my work has already been done. Signed, sealed, delivered. Yes, we have been named a Circle of Moms Top 25 blog, but bigger than that, we are connecting.
And I thank you for that. Thank you for your vote in more ways than one.
Thank you for being my man in the suit. With balloons. With a trophy. You make me feel full. You make me feel trophy-fied.
And would you believe that as I wrap up this blog post, with tired teary eyes, CCR is in the background, asking me if I’ve even seen rain. True Story – I wouldn’t make that up. Love when hearts are open and coincidences don’t exist. Enter more tears.
Today I vote for you. Whatever you need voted for. I think you deserve a trophy. What would your vote be for? What is your hobby turned “could be more?” Tell us…if you aren’t sure…think about, and then tell us. It will feel good to tell someone, promise.