Do you need a medal? I often do.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wondered if the mom I just met (in front of a large bush our daughters were both hiding in), thought I was pathetic.

“I picked up three kids at three different camps today and got them all to gymnastics on time. I need a medal!” I said.

She nodded and laughed. Maybe she has four kids and my wrangling of three wasn’t that impressive to her, but I think the sentiment was understood, and I was relieved. There’s not a whole lot of acknowledgement for doing the daily work of raising children, and even if your partner thanks you for doing the schlepping, sheet changing, and shit-cleaning, there still aren’t that many arenas in which it’s appropriate to brag about accomplishing some pretty unremarkable tasks.

In fact, it’s a little confusing. Is taking two kids to the pool a privilege or worthy of an award?

Nursed a baby all night and then spent the day teaching number bonds to first graders? I think that merits a medal.

Took a two-year old to the park, fed him lunch, and got him down for a nap, all by yourself? Gold star for you.

Sure, you’re the parent. Of course there’s no other choice. But still, don’t we all want a little recognition? Isn’t that what those thumbs ups are for on Facebook? The hearts on Instagram? Those are little virtual medals.

Heather and I want to give you a rookie mom medal. Below you’ll find a few. Here are some ways to use it:

  1. Print it, cut it out and hide it in a pocket of your purse to look at when you need it.
  2. Click on the image from your mobile phone and save it in your camera roll. Text it to a friend when she needs it.
  3. Put it up on Instagram when you want to brag about your bravery in motherhood.
  4. Grab the thumbnail version and respond to Facebook comments with it. (I just learned you can do that. Click on the camera icon next to the comments to display a photo as part of your comment.)

Rookie Mom Merit BadgeRookie Mom Merit Badge

Rookie Mom Merit Badge

Finally, if you print one, we’d love to see it in your photos. Hold it up in your selfie to show us that you’re nursing with a sling; taking your baby to a movie; building a kick-ass fort for your preschooler; or flying cross-country solo with a child. Tag your photos #rookiemom so that we can give you some love in the form of thumbs ups and hearts. Or post them on our Facebook wall.

Now, I’m going to pack our swim bag.  Wish me luck.

Rookie Mom Merit Badge