What Makes A Good Mom?

circle of hands, generations of hands, all ages of hands, hands in a circle, women's hands together, good mothers, how to be a good motherWhat 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).

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My Mom and me – Good Moms!

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?

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My Mom and her Mom

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.

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9 Responses to What Makes A Good Mom?

  1. Jill Lynch says:

    LOVE THIS!!!! This is exactly the conversation going on in my head the last few months. I’ve been moving from the guilt for not always being there to encouraging independence and autonomy. Perfect timing… So glad others have the same ideas!

    I’ve decided that my job is not to babysit and watch over and coddle, but to teach so that when they are ready to step out on their own (as early as that may be), they can do so with confidence and experience and know that they will be OK.

    With regard to the ‘societal pressures’ on parents to ‘do more’ in the classroom, I look back to my classroom dynamics and I don’t even remember ever having parent helpers in my classrooms. Just chaperones on field trips. So, what’s this about? Here’s my theory…

    Because parents have been increasingly doing more for their children, those children are less self-sufficient, and are needing (and expecting) that same level of ‘service’ and more guidance/interaction/support from all adults in their lives — including their teachers. This increasing neediness of the child, coupled with higher expectations placed on the teacher to now teach things kids should be learning at home, eg. being a ‘good citizen’, have overwhelmed teachers to the point that they NEED other adults in classrooms.

    Society in turn has watched as the ‘available parents’ have volunteered to fill that roll in schools, and rewarded those parents with the ‘Good Parent Awards’ instead of asking the question “what’s wrong with our classrooms that they can no longer function fully without additional adult help?”

    It’s not that parents are a nice to have in classrooms… in most cases, they are a NEED to have to fill the void that would never exist had kids been getting life lessons and independence at home. If all parents took a step back and instilled self-sufficiency in their kids, wouldn’t that free up our teachers to focus on what they need to do inside and outside the classroom without additional help? I think so.

    I love reading your blogs… keep them coming!

    • ldecesare says:

      I’m glad this helped reinforce your instincts as a Mom! I completely agree with you. Thanks for reading, I’m posting Mondays and Thursdays!

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