Nothing motivates like being told you are doing a good job. In school, you get good grades, advancing every year to the next level. In the workplace, you get a good title, promotions, and acknowledgement from your co-workers. But what about when you are a parent? No one is there patting you on the back every step of the way. Your kids certainly don't thank you for being the best mom you can be. No one is there to promote you from Mommy to, say, Senior VP of all the Mommies. So most of us get the positive feedback we need by watching our kids grow and thrive, blowing past milestones and turning into the adorable, smart, perfect children we imagined they would be.
As a former project manager, the term "milestone" is one I'm quite familiar with. We used milestones to track success on a project, knowing how on- or off-course we were to getting our product done on time. So for me, when Moe isn't meeting milestones on time, I feel a sense of both panic and stress. I must get this project back on track! If I don't, haven't I failed at my job?
Of course, my son isn't a "project." He is a child, one who is growing and developing at his own pace. There is no real deadline here, just as long as we keep moving forward. But just as Moe's mind works in its own way, my mind isn't good at taking things one step at a time. I need to see the path charted out in front of me, linking one step to the next until we reach our end goal.
So what is that end goal? Our IFSP has very specific goals for the next 6 months, skills that we want Moe to acquire such as taking off his own shoes, drinking out of a cup, or identifying certain objects 4 out of 5 times. Reaching these goals will be true accomplishments for Moe. But there is one goal that I am hoping for. It is not on any form or list of developmental milestones. It will not help him succeed in school. This goal is for me. When I pick Moe up from school, I want him to acknowledge that I am there, running up to me and shouting "Mommy!" like the other kids do. That is the pat on the back I need, promoting me to top dog, CEO Mommy.