What makes a good mom? Do we project our own definitions onto other mothers? Do we have standards so high we set ourselves up as failures? Isn’t it really true that we are all good Moms, barring situations of neglect and abuse.
You’re a good Mom. We all mother in our own unique way, and we’re all fallible. We are Moms who mess up at times, we raise our voices (okay, yell, scream and shout), forget to return the permission slip on time (if you haven’t yet, just wait), or worse, forget to put money under the tooth fairy pillow (that one required very creative story telling).
I think back on my happy childhood and don’t recall my Mom being ever-present at our schools, did she ever chaperone a field trip? I still felt completely cared for and content. One winter, my brother called as I watched my young children play in the snow on our deck, I muttered something about feeling bad for being inside and not out with them, my brother commented, “Leah, when did Mom ever come out to play in the snow with us?” He was right! I didn’t feel slighted one bit by that, plus she was waiting inside with hot chocolate, she showed us that she loved us in little and grand ways all the time without constantly guiding our activity or playing with us.
My Mom and I were recently talking about my grandmother and how by today’s standards of a good Mom being on every sideline, volunteering in every corner of the school, attending every in-school event, that her Mom wouldn’t have been considered a “good Mom.” Yet she was an incredible Mother and Grandmother and we always felt loved and cherished. She was full of wisdom and epitomized unconditional love, did it matter that she had no presence at her daughter’s school?
I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t get involved in our children’s schools and extracurricular activities, but I am a big believer in balance and in guilt-free parenting, so if you’re not mothering in that way, it’s okay and you’re a good Mom, too!
As a Mom (a good Mom) I am always working on finding that equilibrium between giving my kids independence and protection. I think about how I can let my kids do more autonomously. I encourage them to have the confidence to solve problems on their own, to ask for what they need of teachers, friends, in a store or other setting. Yet there are times I feel judged or I raise eyebrows because I’m not helping or doing for my child in a visible way, because I’m modeling a mothering behavior different from another.
So, what makes a good Mom? What’s your definition? Be kind to yourself in your assessment. Aim to see the good in other mothering styles. When you stray from your vision of a good Mom, forgive yourself, apologize if needed, and get up and move forward on your defined path of being a good Mom.