Parenting, Unpublished

Words of Affirmation

Something that I’ve always known is that I show my love in acts of service but I need to feel love in words of affirmation. The second I learned about the 5 love languages I evaluated myself and this was the easy-peasy conclusion.

Lately I’ve been wondering if this relates to my need for words of affirmation in other areas of my life. For example, I am very deliberate about my parenting and I really do feel like I’m a good Mom…especially during these trying times. But, Donnie is a very different kind of parent and thinks a lot of what I do as a Mom right now is either 1) Unnecessary or 2) Causing dependency and so I find myself often in this weird emotional place where I am just desperate for affirmation regarding my parenting.

I’ve been trying to connect these two ideas, that my love language is words of affirmation and that I’m currently feeling devoid of it in regards to my parenting. Are those two things even related? Like…is my need for affirmation regarding my parenting part of my need for affirmation regarding my love language? Or are they separate but maybe both rooted in issues around my personal insecurities?

I like to use the metaphor about working in a traditional job. Like…even if your boss sucks, and even if you hate your job, you get a paycheck every month. You get annual reviews. You get evaluations. There are usually built-in ways to reassure you you’re doing a good job. My number one job right now is parenting and I don’t get paid and the only person who could evaluate me has a completely different outlook on the job and therefore would change every way I do the job if he could.

My kids struggle in different ways and I spend a lot of emotional energy and time to help them and at the end of the day I truly think I’m doing a good job, but that is evidently not enough for my mental health. I still need affirmation and when I think of it like a job where I don’t have someone paying me every way, it makes sense. How else do I get affirmation that my energy and time is well-spent?

I don’t know if it really matters if the two are connected or not. I just constantly find myself wishing that those moments of clarity I have when I look at how I parent the kids and say, “Damn, I am so good at this. These kids are in such good hands and I’m really taking such good care of them and their needs right now,” that those moments would be enough.

I don’t know. I was up late with one of the kids last night. I’m tired and I’m really wanting someone to say, “You sacrifice a lot of your sleep and your time to make sure your kids feel safe and loved and cared for and that makes you an excellent Mom.” I just want to be able to fill that need myself and I think I’m just too tired. I have nothing left even for myself. Maybe I’m just coming to you guys for affirmation? Anyone want to field some long text messages where I tell you all of the details of what parenting in my world looks like right now so you can give me affirmation? No? Okay then.

(I’m kidding, by the way. No need to offer up phone numbers for text messages.)

Here’s a picture of me at my fourth Kelsey Montague mural. She painted her first one in Alabama last week and it’s like a 40 minute drive from my house so I could not get there fast enough.

And in case you wanted to see my full collection…here they are. I included a full shot of the mural from the High Line because the one with me in it makes the painting itself blurry. The High Line is a hard place to take pictures because it’s full of people constantly and so we did the best we could. The other wings are from Nashville and the Peacock is from the LES in NYC.

3 thoughts on “Words of Affirmation”

  1. You are an awesome parent! Your parenting stories have really helped me parent my own kids.

  2. I love the photos! I can relate to being up really late with one of mine recently and my husband wondering if that was the right thing to do. If you are like me, you probably have a pretty good idea of what makes a “bad” parent and so if you are not doing those things, you can rest assured that you are being a good one.

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