Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Would Your Children "Rate" You?

I remember it was about a year ago, at the end of another long, draining day as a mom. The bedtime battle was about to begin. Interesting how much energy children have at bedtime, and how much energy I have to muster to make it happen. Because stress accumulates, much like a teapot kettle about to whistle, I typically blow off steam at my children during bedtime. I'm tired, and they're not, and I just want time to myself to let my brain recharge for the next day.

On this particular day, though, I must have let off so much steam that I felt bad, guilty. I felt like I was harming my children through my anger and stress, and they didn't deserve it. I could do better, I thought. I NEED to do better. Don't moms always think this about themselves? Guilt is such an easy emotion to grasp, at any given moment.

Once I finally got them settled down, I suddenly had the thought: Being a mom is like my "job" right now. It's my position I have to fill, every single day, and it's a big one. But it's not like a typical job one might have outside the home, where you have a boss watching your performance and giving you regular critique. If my kids were to "critique" me, or rate me, what would they say? I wondered. They are watching me, like a boss might, right?

Given that this day was already a flop, in my opinion, I was scared to ask them. So I decided to ask them individually. I went to my middle child, and asked, "Do you know what it means to rate a person, like on a scale from 1-10?"

"Yes, I know what that means," he replied.

"Okay, so if you were to rate me as a MOM, on a scale of 1-10, what would you give me?"

Before I could even cringe or back away, this is what he said: "10!!! Mommy, you are a 10!!!" He held up both of his hands to show his 10 fingers for even more emphasis.

My eyes welled up with tears. What did I do to deserve this? I wondered. Doesn't he remember how mean I just was to him? All the yelling and demanding that he get in bed so I could get a moment to myself?

I wiped the tears from my eyes and asked, "R-rr-really? You think I'm a ten?"

He smiled again and flashed those fingers, dancing them around as I exited his bedroom.

Stunned, I walked to my daughter in the next room. I wanted to make sure she understood what a rating scale meant first (being on the autism spectrum makes this a little more challenging). "Do you know what it means to rate something from a scale of 1-10? So, if I asked you how much you liked, say, ice cream, a 10 would be you like it a lot, a 1 would be not at all, a 5 would be you like it okay. Does that make sense? So, how much do you like ice cream?"

"Umm....a 10," she replied.

"Good. Okay, so if you were to say how good of a mom I was, on a scale from 1-10, what would you say?" I braced myself for brutal honesty.

"Umm...a 10, I think," she said.

"Wow, really? Thank you, sweetie!" I squeezed her shoulder, and peeked into my son's room. He put up those ten fingers with a million-dollar grin. Before I went downstairs, I just had to ask him, "Why did you give me a 10? Even when I'm mean to you sometimes?"

"Because you do things for me, and you take care of me," was his simple response.

I walked downstairs in a haze, feeling on top of the world. My little "bosses" just gave me a perfect rating. Maybe I wasn't messing up so badly after all.

What I realized from this experience is that love matters more than anything else. Moms will make mistakes all the time, but it doesn't mean we don't love our children any less. Our children can feel this love, regardless of the many mistakes we make. They forgive us because they love us. I guess moms need to learn to forgive themselves, and see themselves the way their children do, as "perfect 10's," because we are, in their eyes. Don't be your own worst critic—you are doing a great job. Just ask your children.


  1. Awww I love this. Sometimes kids simplify things so much.

  2. Thank you for reading, Jennifer. :)