It's not their job to see me - in my glory, in my sadness, in my excitement, my pain or anxiety. But, sometimes, even though I know it's not their job, I can't help but try to make them see me anyway.
At my soccer game: "Did you see me when I scored that goal?"
In their room, when they ask me to do something or get something when I'm putting sheets on the bed or picking something up: "Can you see that I'm cleaning up?"
At the dinner table when the Mr. and I dare to try to share more than one half of one thought with each other and they interrupt with something urgent, like needing a condiment, or falling off their chair and cutting their head open: "Do you see that daddy and I are talking?"
Many times, I think my tone is objective and of a "teacher" quality, and in my heart of hearts I think I'm actually making a long-term impact on their ability to notice other people outside of their completely-developmentally-appropriate-self-obsessed little souls.
But more often, I think I say it in the "mother" tone that grosses me out the minute it starts coming out of my mouth: "Can't you SEE how hard I'm working for you, for you, and for you? Don't you realize I never stop? Can't you give me a break for one second? Oh, and would it kill you to praise me a little bit too?" And then, I think to myself: "I mean seriously, Karen. Knock it off. It's NOT THEIR JOB TO SEE YOU."
There are also times, like this morning, when they DO see me - especially the older one - I think mostly because he's older so he's not only used to the drill, but he's actually supposed to start seeing other people a little bit more. And, when he saw me this morning, I didn't want him too. I was beyond tired, and acting a bit crabby, but more quiet, sad crabby than yelling, kuckoo crabby. He actually told the younger one to not ask me to help her with her gloves because I was so tired, to which my first reaction was to defend myself (oh, goodness). He then offered to help me with my work tonight...which made me sadder.
I'm not sure there's a moral to this story except to say that it's hard to know it's not their job to see me but to still wish they did sometimes - even just a little, but only when I want them to. I just don't want to put that on them and think I probably tend to do it more when it's been primarily the three of us for a few days or more - there's a bit of a void when the person who sees me most, my mister, is on the road.
While I would consider myself an intrinsincally motivated person and someone who just does things and acts in ways that I believe are the best things to do and right ways to act, I still LOVE to be noticed and listened to. Don't we all? I also really love to be praised.
Having a professional outlet, where I interact with adults and engage in work - where even the complicated projects have shorter term and clearer outcomes than parenting - allows me to be seen in meaningful ways. The hobbies I have like soccer - did I mention I scored in my last game? - definitely help me fulfill the "being seen" thing too.
I just always worry that my kids are [fill in the blank] painting these permanent pictures of what their childhood is and who their mother is/was and I wish I could know what they actually do see, and what is being imprinted for good.
Yeah, yeah, one day at a time, best I can, great job, yada, yada, yada.
I swear I'm not as needy as this sounds. Well, maybe I am, but Glennon says that's okay too.