Wednesday, 4 July 2012

How do we motivate ourselves when we are not appreciated?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
There are plenty of management books, courses, tools and research into motivation.  What motivates a person to work well?  From Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (see left), to Frederick Herzberg's Motivational Theory,  we talk about rewards, monetary or otherwise, and their impact on motivation. 

It's well known that when an employee feels that they are not appreciated, their work quality suffers.

But as a parent, where's the reward?  It's not as tangible as a payslip, or bonus.  It doesn't take the form of monthly one-to-one sessions where you receive feedback on your performance; nor annual performance appraisals.  It doesn't come as a regular thank you.

In fact, taking you for granted is actually a key role for your children.  They need to feel that they can rely on you, always, without question. 

And, of course, you are not always their friend.  As their parent you are responsible for looking out for them, feeding them, clothing them, educating them.  You are also responsible for teaching them right from wrong, morals and ethics, how to be intrinsically good.  These lessons are not always welcomed.  They often take the form of stopping your child doing fun things, like eating mountains of sweets, or climbing up the dresser or staying up all night. 

Treat time
So; although you know, in your heart, that they love you.  They often don't treat you that well.

And so it came to pass, that after a day being dropped off at Grandma's before school, and being picked up from school by Grandma to play for a bit, my daughter did not react favourably to my arrival at 4.30pm to take her home.

I walked in the door.  She took one look at me.

Hurrumphed. (If that is indeed a word).

Stomped her foot and exclaimed "I don't want to go home".

And so here I am; immediately the 'bad cop'.  No welcome.  No hello from her. Certainly no kiss.

It got worse.

As we arrived home she said;

"I want Grandma to be my mummy.  You and Daddy can go and live at Grandma's house and she can live here".

A knife through my heart.

And I know what you'll say.  She was tired out.  Grandma let's her do things I don't.  Grandma can play without having to get the chores done, as she saves those until the girls come back home.  Grandma is able to be more fun.

And I know she loves me. But boy, oh boy, I considered, for just one second, handing in my notice at work just so she didn't have to go to Grandmas and maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't fee so guilty.  After all, I feel guilty enough most of the time; the press don't help with these kind of suggestions.

She gave me feedback; and thus my motivation is low.  No mothering bonus for me this year. 

What kind of feedback do your children give you?  Is it positive? Negative? A mixture? 

How do you get motivated?  

Click Comments below and let me know what you think.



  1. Oh, it's a hard one, that. Every day, when I pick my daughter up from school, I get no love, no hugs, just 'have you brought me anything to eat?' And quite often if my mum's been in charge both my kids will call me Granny for a few days...

    On an entirely different note (shuffles embarrasedly) I really like your blog and I was nominated as a Versatile Blogger and would like to pass a nomination on to you. I'm sure you will have had it before and probably think this is terribly uncool, but there we go. You're nominated. Be me friend!

    1. Definitely not uncool! That's really kind; thank you so much. It's lovely when positive feedback comes my way! Perfect timing.

      I very much appreciate it & now look slightly wierd smiling to myself in school yard with, you've guessed it, snack in my hand!


  2. Oh I've been there too - and wee girl can't even really talk yet - goodness knows how I'll feel when she can actually tell me she likes nursery better!

    1. Thanks Carie. It's good to know I'm not the only one! :-)

  3. I like to think that reactions like that show that we actually are excellent parents (yes!) because they are independant and confident enough in our love to act in ways that are not meant to please us. And frankly how dull would be a 'Stepford' child?! But it IS hard and frustrating. Talking and being completely ignored (speciality of #1 and 2), tidying their bedroom for the umpteenth time, only to see it being thrashed in 5 mn... Mind you getting an unprompted thank you or acknowledgement that ur work as a mum is a hard one is rather priceless...

    1. My children are brilliant at ignoring me. The Elder used to have an excuse though she didn't know it. She was suffering from Glue ear and had 20% hearing loss. The Princess Aurora hearing aid now means she no longer has 'that' excuse! But the Younger is also displaying symptoms.

      The unprompted thank you's and, even more priceless, "I love you's", are absolute gold. Thanks for reminding me!

  4. I have been told countless times my one of my children in particular, that she would rather live with Granny and at times I felt like packing her off!no have always been home for my kids but when she was little she even used to beg to go to a child-minder and yes, it did hurt me! Kids need to be aware that they hurt our feelings, I think but we must also remember that for them, 'grass is always greener'

    1. To be fair, I didn't fully appreciate my parents until I became a parent myself, so I suppose I've got another 20'odd years to wait until I get the appreciation!

      Thanks for commenting Suzanne. It's good to know I'm not alone in this!


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