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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Your purchases help us support important charities.
Sarah R. Moore is an internationally published writer and the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family. Her glass is half full.