I know every mother has asked herself this question at least once, “am I really a good mother?” Or maybe you’ve mulled over that question many, many times.
The thing is, it isn’t an easy one to answer. That’s because there isn’t a mold of a perfectly “good mom” for us all to fit into. We all make mistakes and fall into many of the pitfalls of motherhood only to find our way back again. Rinse and repeat.
But over the last decade and then some of raising my three children, I’ve grown tremendously and learned a lot. I’ve come to identify three things that if you live by, you can rest assured that you’re already an amazingly good mother!
Sure, you and I both have things we need to work on, stop doing, and get better at but this is a really good foundation to stand on.
And the good news is, this list isn’t focused on outward things like how early you put your kids to bed every night or how many vegetables you serve with dinner. Whew!
These are total heart issues and things you can pray about and work on a little bit each day.
1 –You are attuned with your child
What does it mean to be attuned with your child? Let me give you this quick illustration. Remember, when your now big kid was just a newborn and you would lay them peacefully across your lap and just stare into
You were in that moment connecting with your baby and very little could break you away from that moment. Feelings of sleep deprivation and the overwhelm of being a new mom didn’t keep you from soaking in every adorable drop of your newborn.
Somewhere along the way, though, our desire for connection becomes less urgent and we become more focused on “getting it all done” and keeping everyone alive. And that happy mom can sometimes fly right out the window.
Being attuned with your child will look a bit different for every mom and family, but here are some general examples:
- you show genuine interest in what your child loves… even if you don’t love it yourself.
- you frequently check in with how your child is doing as it relates to their world.
- you ask questions to hear their responses to constantly get to know your child.
- you prioritize regular one on one time with your kids individually very frequently.
- you focus and affirm the positive behaviors of your child more frequently
than the negative ones.
Even though you may struggle like I do, to get your kids out the door on time for school every morning, placing the highest priority on a heart connection with your child proves you’re a great mother.
That’s because you know deep inside that having a quality relationship with your kids is vitally important to their overall health and well-being. Children who have grown up feeling unloved by their mothers often report this as feeling “unknown” by their mothers.
Being attuned simply means paying attention to the changing needs of our children. And being willing to make those changes along the way. What our toddler needs from us now isn’t the same as what she’ll need as a growing teenager.
2 – You humbly set an example of being imperfectly perfect
Our kids do NOT need a perfect example of what it means to be human by never making mistakes. That’s because it doesn’t exist. And if we try, we simply come across as a hypocrite.
If you do your best but make a real mistake like forgetting your son’s preschool graduation and having to show up really late (I did that), or getting so mad that you accidentally break the glass top to your stove (I did that too) it’s most important to own up to your mistakes the right way.
If we never show our kids how to recover from our worst and even most embarrassing mistakes, how will they ever learn for themselves? If we don’t take ownership for our bad choices we teach our kids to blame others for their mistakes in life.
It may seem strange that making mistakes is a point of being a good mother. But I believe that it’s important that moms know how perfectly normal it is to make mistakes and have terrible days. It’s all about how we move forward from those bad moments that makes us good mothers.
It’s how our kids know it’s OK to make mistakes and that beating themselves up or blaming shifting are damaging ways to deal with our own poor choices.
In the end, you’re actually making your kids stronger and more emotionally intelligent by watching you walking through life imperfectly.
3 – You understand your true value as a mom
Motherhood is literally one of the most important journeys we’ll ever embark on in our lifetimes. However, raising children is often under valued by society and has been for hundreds of years.
Moms can feel like their careers and dreams make them more valued and important in the eyes of everyone around them. This is a sneaky trap and one that I personally fell into as a new mom. I struggled to see my significance and true value as a mom.
This led me down another path of a tired and burnt out mom who never fully understood the gift right in front of her. I felt pulled in opposing directions because I allowed my ambition to come before my kids.
It’s not that ambition and working a fulfilling career doesn’t mix with motherhood. Not at all! In fact, many amazing moms (including myself!) are also successful
But when you understand your true value as a mom, you’ll never feel pulled because your family always comes first. It’s never easy but in the end it’s always the right choice.
Being a mother is a gift and if you truly see that, you are already an amazing mom.
Being a good mother isn’t about whether you bake the best cookies with your kids or how many books they read over the summer, it’s always about the heart.
Our kids are looking to see if we really care about them, if they can trust us with their heart, and if we succeed at winning it we’ve won the prize of a lifetime!
When your kids are grown, they’ll likely not remember all the stuff they learned in math class but they will remember stuff like when that batch of cookies you both made failed miserably and you laughed and ate them anyway or when you went for that bike ride in the country and got lost but stopped to watch the sunset!
It’s the little things, sometimes the weird things, and mostly the heart things they’ll remember!