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Are You a Good Mom? Is Wondering if You Are, Enough? 3 Easy Ways to Know.

May 16, 2021

Some people say that if you're worried about whether you're a good mom, it's a sure sign that you already are one. However, I've always wondered about the accuracy of that statement.

Would someone who's a rotten person qualify as a good mom if the thought enters her head every once in awhile? What about the overzealous "tiger mom" who doesn't give her child enough space to explore independence and thrive? Does her wondering automatically make her a good mom? Personally, I don't think it's enough just to wonder.

Let's dig a little deeper into what it means to be a good mom -- and gauge where we might fall.

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It may not be helpful to wonder if we're a "good mom" -- here's why.

  1. There's no concrete way to measure it. Is it enough to wonder just once? What if we worry about it all day every day? Or fall somewhere in between? How much worrying is beneficial? (Hint: it rhymes with "zero.")
  2. It makes us judge ourselves -- but it isn't necessarily a call to action. If there's something moms need less of, it's judgment -- especially self-judgment. I don't know about you, but I second guess myself plenty as it is. I don't need to fall into the wonder- and worry-trap, too. That can't possibly contribute to my parenting in any beneficial way -- especially if I don't plan to act on it.
  3. It makes us judge others. If I'm apt to judge myself, am I not also more likely to judge others? See previous point. How is that beneficial? Unless I'm able and willing to positively offer advice (who wants it?), judging others without guiding them simply isn't kind.

If we wonder whether we're a good mom and a thought creeps in to suggest we're not, do we examine that thought? If we find it to be true, do we do something about it?

Let's revisit point #2 above. Judging ourselves for the sake of judging alone, is futile. However, if we use self-reflection as the impetus for growth, it's powerful. This is the crux.

It's also where the hardest work exists. Naturally, it's easy to want to "fix" others. We can simply point out their flaws and move on emotionally. (Note: I do not recommend this.)

Fixing our own hurts -- our own harmful patterns -- and changing the way we parent is NOT for the faint of heart. For many of us, it requires self-help books, training, and perhaps a whole lot of therapy. For the record, I DO recommend these things. They're a gift to ourselves and to our families.

How do we know if we've got the basics down, though, as we also consider the bigger work at hand?

3 ways to know whether you're a good mom -- or a "good enough mom" work in progress.

We should -- as you might've guessed -- spend a lot less time worrying about it. It isn't enough and it isn't productive. We can work on being "good enough" instead of the nebulous and overarching "good." How?

1. We can focus on being a "good enough" mom by freely acknowledging our faults and shortcomings.

If we examine it more deeply, we're likely to see what our parenting (like most things) is a gray area. We're human. Naturally, we'll be better at some parts of parenting than others. Am I a good mom when it comes to emotional stability and "being there" for my child? Yes, I'm a very good mom in those ways. Am I good at building forts and playing trains? No, I'm not. We can admit our strengths and weaknesses.

What do kids gain from this? They can learn that it's perfectly okay to be human. That's where self-love originates. They can internalize the message, "I'm full of imperfections, but I like myself anyway. I belong here. No one can tell me otherwise. I don't have to be perfect." What a gift that would be for their self-esteem.

2. We can be a good mom by doing our very best to be a good human.

This isn't just about how we're treating our kids. It's also about how our kids see us treating everyone -- them, the mail carrier, the server at the restaurant, the proverbial man on the street. It doesn't apply just to motherhood and how we're raising our children. How do our children observe us treating others?

If we're loving our neighbors (and heck, loving our enemies, too), we're modeling what it means to be a good citizen of the earth. Where we fall short, we can say to our kids, "Hey, I'm working on this part. Will you give me some grace while I learn?" That is very good motherhood.

3. We can be a good mom by growing our parenting practice and evolving from who we once were.

If we're emotionally exhausted, we can do something about it. If we weren't gentle parents before but want to be, we can learn. If we're too tied to our phones and losing connection with our kids, we can repair the relationship.

It all comes down to this. Worrying alone isn't enough. Wondering is simply a cognitive exercise. Doing something about it, though? That is powerful.

If you're a good enough mom, you're a perfectly good mom just as you are. Keep growing, learning, and putting one foot in front of the other. We're all on this path together.

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Sarah R. Moore is an internationally published writer and the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. You can follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family. Her glass is half full.

Disclaimer:  All advice and guidance offered on this site is not medical guidance and should not be interpreted as such, and the owner of this site is not responsible for individual outcomes.

I am not a physician, psychologist, or counselor, nor am I licensed to offer therapy or medical advice of any kind. I am a certified conscious parenting coach and my courses, blog posts, and all other guidance are based on my training and experience. If you are having an emergency or are in crisis please call 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Line (800-273-8255), or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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