Make no mistake about it, people, parenting is a job. It is a job without monetary benefits, without promotion, and without free perks. If you thought that your life's purpose was to have children, raise children and have those children appreciate the job you did, then you will end up a sad shell of a human being. Unsolicited praise from my kids is very rare and when it does happen, I feel all giddy like a kid on Christmas morning. If there is one thing I have learned as a parent, it is never to look to my kids for any kind of validation of my worth. Here's my most recent example.
I volunteered to bring in a Halloween snack for Shepard's kindergarten class. I decided to go all out--I made bloodshot monster eyeball cupcakes, square pretzels half dipped in chocolate and black and orange sprinkles, and string cheese cut into the shape of a creepy finger with a slice of grape for the fingernail. It took me most of the evening before and the morning of snack day to complete the food. On snack day, I personally delivered the snacks to his class and helped the teacher serve them on carefully chosen Halloween napkins.
That afternoon when Shepard arrived home I asked him, "Shepard, did you like the Halloween snacks I brought to your class?" He replied, "No, it was yucky. I didn't eat it." Shepard is an extremely picky eater and if things look the least bit different he refuses to try it. However, I had worked so hard and I felt really down about it. Alan had a talk with him that evening and told him, "Shepard, you really hurt Mommy's feelings. You should apologize to her."
So the next day, Shepard came up to me, took my hand as he looked me in the eyes, and said, "Mommy, I am sorry your snacks were yucky."