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A Mother's Pride and Joy
By Wendy Sears -- January 23, 2002
It happened when I least expected. I was invited out for a drink by a colleague who runs his own successful awards program. One thing led to another and before I knew it I had given birth to an awards program of my own. As is often the case, my colleague was nowhere around when I needed him and left me to raise an infant program by myself! Just typical! This humorous article is a salutary tale about the informative years of an awards program.

Wendy Sears

In the beginning…

So you create a program with great care and skill or in my case with a fair amount of fumbling in the dark. You thrust it into the world like a new born baby, waiting for the award community to slap it into life. You  begin to experience a sense of exhilaration as you watch your baby fed for the first time, on it's very own award application. Occasionally this baby will keep you up at night, give you headaches, demand that you feed it, and will even take up so much of your free time that you may begin to wish you had never had it. But then you will turn to it, look at the little pages as they reach up to you innocently and murmur 'ahhh..who's a little darling then..Yes you are..Yes you are!'

As with all mothers, it would be unrealistic to suggest that this baby is perfect. It can be extremely troublesome. On the basis that a trouble shared is a trouble halved, I will share some of my troubles with you.  (And you cynics that believe that a trouble shared is a trouble on two shoulders can switch off now!)

The worry period.

In the first few weeks of my program's life I took a long hard look at it and wondered what I have gotten myself into. It seemed so easy nine months before. I had looked at other proud parents with their award programs and they made it look so easy. And as the idea for my own program developed within me, I read all the books and articles I could find about award programs, soaking up all the advice like a brand new sponge. But suddenly I had my own program before me and began to wonder how I was going to manage the little monster. Despite all the information I had obtained I could not remember anyone telling me that this baby would need changing quite so often to keep it fresh. Very time consuming…Very worrying.

Now I can say with some confidence that the feelings I felt were perfectly natural. I had something new in my life, something that was quite demanding at times. One consoling fact was that I was not alone. Others had gone through the same birthing process and were willing to share experiences with me for as long as needed. I was mentored, tutored, consoled and cajoled and even had people willing to peek at my precious ( or should that be precioussssss ) to give insightful comments. I was able to select the best of those experiences and to apply them to the needs of my own program. I would say to all parents of programs, listen to the advice that people give. You do not have to take that advice but better to have a wealth of information than none.

Announcement of birth

I remember the pride I had in my infant program. I had so much pride in my achievement that I wanted to announce it to the world. So I contacted a number of award organisations, and shouted ‘hey look at this. Isn’t it beautiful! Tell the world.” I of course had hoped for the news of my infant to make the headlines. But in fact after the organisations had held my infant up by its legs, poked and prodded it, and held it to the light, the verdict was ‘nice but we’ll just put the announcement on one of the smaller pages for now until it gets a little older.” Of course it was disappointing that they did not share my enthusiasm but they were right.  Announcing the birth of my program was an important step, but I could not expect anything so new to make as big an impression on others as it did on me, or indeed to take centre position within the award organisation pages. The birth of a new award program is a big thing, but it is the future successes, or failures that determines its position within the pages of any award program. I resolved there and then that my infant program would make an impact on the award world and that subsequent announcements would reflect its success.

Baby's first feed.

The first time that my program received an application was a memorable experience. Baby’s first food! The appetising award application came in the form of an email addressed to the infant program..<how sweet…Baby’s first letter!> With it came detailed instructions. As a doting mother I read the instructions and fed it to the infant program. But you cannot always guarantee that the food will agree with baby and in this case the first award application proved a little unpalatable. My infant program spat it out. It was such a shame.  But I knew that to ensure the future health of my award program, it was important to ensure that only award applicants that met the criteria of the program were rewarded for satisfying my infant programs appetite. Compromise, even at this early age, could have resulted in a premature demise. It was not long before other applications came through of such quality that the infant program began to thrive and blossom.

Is my baby ugly?

Don’t get me wrong. My infant program was gorgeous to me. However occasionally…just occasionally mind you…I would catch myself peering at other mothers’ infant programs, or indeed their strutting adolescent programs. I would think to myself ‘is that program cuter than my own program?’ I understand now that such feelings are perfectly natural. Mothers will always compare their programs with others, noting the contrasting attributes. There is nothing wrong with this. But it should always be remembered that your program, like mine, is an individual. There will be similarities and it never does any harm to look at the best attributes of other programs and see how some of them can be used to enhance the main features of your own. But as I was all too clearly aware, it is never a good idea to try and force your program to be a carbon copy of another, no matter how much you admire the other. This is the surest way to ensure that your infant program loses its personality…and a lack of personality may be a wonderful attribute in certain professions - I will leave you to speculate which professions -  but it is certainly no way to ensure the health of an infant award program.

Baby competitions

What proud mother doesn’t want to show off her baby! I know I certainly wanted to! And so I submitted my program’s details to award sites for accolades and laudations. I suppose it was not just pride in my infant program that resulted in this course of action but some deep psychological need for validation of my role as a mother. I wanted people to look at me and say ‘ what a perfect mother and isn’t that infant program developing well…so healthy..you’d not believe it only a few months old!”  But sometimes we do the wrong things for the wrong reasons. I was seeking validation for myself, and not really thinking about this poor infant that was clearly unhappy at being thrust into the public arena with all the bigger programs, so soon in it’s young life. The result was rejection for the infant program and depression for the mother. It was a heavy lesson to learn but I learned it well. It is important to ensure that the program can at least toddle before it is sent out to play in the competition world. And seeking awards for the infant program should be a way to improve the program, not to bolster the ego of the parent. A lesson well learned.

Finding the time

All babies need tender loving care. Neglecting your infant program is the worst kind of abuse. But it is finding the time that is the crucial thing. As a working mother with a busy schedule, I was conscious of the fact that I was not always giving my infant program the quality time it deserved. However I found a number of solutions which together helped enormously. I let others share the load with me, and so my infant program has two qualified and enthusiastic nannies, both of whom share my values and ensure that the program develops well, receiving the love it deserves. Also I organise my own time better to ensure that my program sees me as often as possible.  Organisation of time and assistance have ensured that my program is developing to my satisfaction.

In conclusion

My infant program, is now a toddler and has fast become my obsession. I wake it in the morning to feed it. I check to see if it needs changing on an almost daily basis and instill in it my ethical values. I reserve the right to criticise it but defend it against the world. In short I am a doting mother and it is its mothers pride and joy!

Please note that the word "mother" can be interchanged with the word "father" throughout this article.  Remember . . . Fathers can be mothers too!

Copyright 2002
All Rights Reserved
Wendy Sears

About the Author
Wendy is a law graduate who is currently employed as a health and safety adviser for local government in England. She has been creating websites for over three years and was the awards manager for the retired Assess Risk Website Awards program. She is an advocate of computers for all, from 9 to 90, and believes we have only just begun to scratch the surface of this media's potential. She also believe that there is such a wealth of talent out there that remains untapped because of a misguided belief that the internet is the sole province of the pre-pubescent. It is a pleasure to correct this myth where-ever she hears it espoused.

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