When I was doing my student teaching (eons ago…) my mentor started something for me. It was called a Praise Folder.
“Because, there are going to be days when you’re teaching that you’re going to need to look through this folder. Trust me.”
She decorated it. Put my name on it. Even laminated it for me.
Then she gave me a card. My first thing to put into my Praise Folder.
Because that’s what a Praise Folder is. It’s a place for you to put all those kind notes, cards, and pictures; things that remind you what a good job you’ve done. I still have my teaching Praise Folder filled with encouraging notes from my principals, fellow teachers, parents, and my favorite drawings from my students.
When I started writing, I started another Praise Folder. If someone sent me a kind email, it was printed off and placed into the folder. Anything special, anything that reminded me that I was doing a good job, even when I didn’t think I was, went into the folder.
Today I realized that I needed to start a new folder. A few notes and kind emails have come my way since starting my new job. So another Praise Folder it is. This one isn’t decorated all cute and doesn’t have my name written in rainbow colors, but it works just the same.
You know what I don’t have a Praise Folder for? For being a mother.
And why is that?
You know why? I’ll tell you. It’s because mother’s are rarely praised for everything they do every day of every week. Sure, you’ll get that occasional “you do a great job, babe” accompanied with a nice pat on the back from your husband, but rarely is it ever written sweetly with purpose in a card. And yes, my kids will draw cute pictures and give them to me. But usually those are renditions of certain scenes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and really don’t have anything to do with whether or not I’m doing a good job as a mother. If we mothers are lucky enough to receive praise, it’s rarely in a way that can be placed in a folder for safe keeping.
People, this needs to change. Mothers need praise more than anyone else on the planet. We don’t get paid for our job. There is no boss to tell us that we are doing a good job because we are the boss. So where then, is all of this praise supposed to come from? Oprah?
So today, let me be the first to tell you that I think that you are doing a great job! You are Mother Extraordinaire and you are raising lovely children! There is no one else like you! Make your own Praise Folder and start writing your own praise notes to yourself if you have to.
“You did a great job today not loosing your cool when the dog threw up blue crayon all over the carpet.”
“No body make Dino Nuggets the way you do! Their wives will have trouble living up to the high cooking standards that you’ve set!”
“Good for you for not yelling today! (side note: remember to have that bulging vein in your neck looked at the next time you go to have your spider veins injected.)
Yes, write down your own praises–the good things you did today and the bad things you managed to avoid–and put them in your Praise Folder.
You never know when you’re gonna need it.