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As at-home mama’s, we no longer have the luxury of


receiving feedback from our employers. Are we doing a good job? Where can we

improve? Imagine, though, if our babies were to conduct an annual performance

review for us.

Hi, Mommy. Thanks so much for taking time to meet with me.

On the whole, you’ve been a vital member of the team and have really stepped

up. Let’s dive into specifics and see how you’ve done this year.

Knowledge/skills

I have to say, I had my doubts being your first child and

all, but you’ve been incredibly skillful in executing your job as mother. You

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clearly understand your responsibilities and have gone the extra step in

learning new on-the-job skills, as well as keeping up-to-date on developments

related to parenting and, more specifically, knowing exactly how I like to be

rocked to sleep.

Customer Focus

As your primary customer, I appreciate how you’ve gone the

extra mile to ensure my consistent satisfaction. You continue to seek out new ways

to improve service, most notably the time I kept leaking through my diaper at

nap time; you researched, crowd-sourced on Facebook, and purchased four

different options before finding the perfect one. Such dedication to my demands

makes me feel super special. Kudos, Mommy.

Teamwork

You work exceptionally well with your main coworker here at

home, but your teamwork and camaraderie with other mommies is to be lauded, as

well. You share knowledge and information freely in the dozens of Facebook

groups in which you are a member. The trust and respect you hold for your

teammates was incredibly evident the time you engaged in a lengthy respectful

political discussion with your fellow at-home mommies following the nursery

rhyme library program last week. You recognized their intelligence and life

experience, and even admitted to learning from them. Definitely text that one

mommy with the nice hair – she seemed cool and you can use a new friend.

Adaptability/flexibility

Your flexibility has been off the charts this year. You’ve

been able to shift focus and maintain composure under truly stressful and

challenging situations. The time we both had that stomach virus? You shone

brightly, even though, as I heard you recall later, it was the “longest and

worst night” of your life.

Professional standards

You clearly take great pride in your work and demonstrate

appropriate professional behavior (except when you make silly faces or tickle

my tummy, but I’ll let that slide). You’ve maintained exemplary attendance – in

fact, you’ve never missed a single day taking care of me – and that has

certainly not gone unnoticed. Punctuality has been an issue, but I’m aware I

make it very difficult for you to get anywhere on time. Management will work on

this, but expect this to get worse as we progress to toddlerhood.

Overall performance

Mommy, your performance has been truly exceptional this year. You’re

the only one who knows exactly how I like my food cut, precisely where my

tickle spots are, and the little parts of my personality that even I don’t yet

recognize. You know me better than anyone because you’re here for me. Always.

Even though I may not remember this first year when I get

older, there will be a part of my heart that will always know what you’ve done

for me, how you’ve changed your life to help me start mine. No one else can do

this job like you can and we’re so lucky to have you in the organization.

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Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Naya Rivera/Instagram

As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking. Late Wednesday night news broke that Rivera was missing and presumed drowned after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found floating alone on a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Buschow said the mother and her preschooler were swimming near the boat Wednesday afternoon. Josey got back into the rented boat after the swim but his mother did not. The preschooler was later found by other boaters, sleeping alone in the boat. Rescuers were able to figure out who he was because Rivera's wallet and identification were on the boat.

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Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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