Monday, June 2, 2014

Compliments Mean More Than You Realize

My sweeties in 2008.
I just received the nicest compliment and I feel like I'm gliding through the afternoon. The compliment came from a mom I've never met who has two students at my son's middle school. She didn't compliment me on my hair, any perceived weight loss, or my beautiful Prius. She simply told me how kind and sweet my son is. As a parent, this is what I strive for: Happy children who are kind to others.

I rarely visit my son's middle school because I respect his wish to appear parent-less, and he's never in trouble, so we've not experienced the walk of shame to the vice principal's office. Today I went to school to give my son his lunch and his medicine (two antibiotics that are hopefully killing all the bacteria in his system including the ones that caused last weeks pneumonia). There were kids everywhere and I was trying to blend into the fence. A few yards away from us was a mom looking at her phone. Most of the other eighth graders were over six feet tall, broad-shouldered, and looked like college students. My son looked extremely short and thin, and I felt extremely short and old.  My son took his pills, a PB&J, and a banana from me, thanked me, and walked away. 

I start to leave when this mom says, "Is that your son?" 

"Yes..." I reply, a little worried about what's coming next. 

"Your son is so kind and sweet. I see him interacting with other students when I'm here, and he is always so nice to everyone."

I have no idea how long it took for me to close my mouth and thank this angel, but I did eventually squeak out a thank you. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then she drove off and I glided to my car.

Imagine that? A stranger took a pause in her busy day to tell me this. Wow. I don't think this happens very often in our go-go-go world; especially at the end of the school year. She could have walked by us and gone on her merry way, but she made a conscious effort to wait for me.

I know I have nice children, so why is this blog-worthy? 

I'm impressed with the goodness of people. We are soaked in negativity, so when the good shines through, it's worth noting. Right now my life resembles a wagon wheel and I'm in the center, not knowing which path to choose. I have many options and many responsibilities, but all seem equally important. Where do I focus now? My kids are older and more independent, so I don't need to be home all day monitoring naps, playtime, and the Goldfish:veggie ratio. I've been home with our kids for 14 years. Just writing that causes my eye to twitch. I didn't plan on being a stay-at-home mom for 14 years, but here I am and I feel a little lost.

Do I give a little less time to my stay-at-home mom duties so that I can concentrate more on my social marketing business? Do I pull back on my hours of working so that I can blog more? Or should I get back to giving most of my attention to my kids, the dog, and the clutter that surrounds me? 

The comment about my sweet son snapped me back to the center and affirmed that I am a good mom and that parenting has value for me and those I love. The last 14 years of the hard work, firm rules, tears, attention, and love are bearing fruit. My husband and I know that we have incredibly sweet, generous, fun children and now I know that other people see it too.

I know I'll continue to wobble and worry about my next path, but I will stop questioning my decision to stay home with my children. I'll stop berating myself for waiting so long to build a business; for letting my blogging wane; for devoting so much time to being the best mom I can be. I'll give myself a break when I make a mistake or need to ask for help. 

I'm sure she doesn't know how much her comment means to me. Or maybe she does and someone took the time to tell her that she was sweet children. I'll be sure to take a moment to compliment mothers, fathers, teachers and anyone who deserves it. You just never know what it'll mean.

(c) Copyright 2010-2016. Erika JN Fish. Car Mama. All Rights Reserved.

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