"I had my first review today," my recent college grad says casually as he starts walking back downstairs to his room.
My heart skips a quick beat.
All the thoughts careen through my head.
(Is he doing well?)
(Do they like him?)
(Why do I care? He's an adult now.)
(Is he going to lose his job?)
(Does he have a good work ethic?)
Those weird feelings over preschool parent teacher conferences and elementary report cards and missing assignments in high school and college GPAs rush to the surface.
The constant evaluation of my kids.
And really when it comes down to it, the constant evaluation of me.
(AM I A GOOD MOM? AM I DOING A GOOD JOB?)
I have to take a few before I can hear what he has to say.
"Can you tell us about it at dinner?" I ask.
The afternoon rolls on and bits of anxiety float around right under the surface.
(I just hope he's gotten an "A" at work.)
I stop myself right there in my head game tracks.
(What the heck is going on here?)
(Why am I still in this place?)
(Why do I think somehow (STILL) that his worth is based on his performance?)
But even more strangely, (why do I think somehow (STILL) that MY worth is based on his performance?)
It's not the evaluation in and of itself.
It's the judgment.
The constant, never-ending, mean, horrible, life-sucking judgment.
From social media.
From my friends.
From yada yada yada.
The constant, never-ending, mean, horrible, life-sucking judgment I heap on myself.
As a human.
As a mom.
Before we sit down to dinner, I take a couple of minutes just to get my head, but more importantly, my heart, in a better place.
I repeat the mantra that I've HAD to say to myself for all of my life and all of my mom life.
Over and over and over again.
(Your worth is not based on your performance.)
(Your MOM worth is not based on any of your kid's performance either.)
Bits of freedom settle over me as I sit down to eat the chicken on my plate.
Bits of life-long, hard-fought freedom.
I'm more ready to hear it whatever IT is.
"So here's what my boss had to say....