Naturally I want to be a good mom. I want to be fun and energetic, helping create memories we all enjoy. But throughout the day, I struggle with what a good mom means and wonder if I’m succeeding at all in my quest.
I often catch myself thinking a good mom means my kids don’t ever struggle, have a messy room, or fail at something. That I’m supposed to always be there to ensure their life is easy, people like them, their bed is made, their socks are folded and dinner is on the table.
I tend to think a good mom –
plays with her kids
doesn’t get angry
throws a beautiful birthday party
loves to read books out loud
wakes up before her children and has time to herself
gives all she has to her family and never needs times to herself
supplies her son with pants that actually reach his ankle
has children who easily agree on what restaurant to eat at
I realized that all these things are vague and I don’t do them every day. So if I define being a good mom by this list I’m setting myself up for the black cloud of failure when I lay my head down to sleep.
And I don’t want to do that.
So, to defeat this expectation monster that plagues my thoughts, I’ve found it helpful to define what a good mom is. Giving good a definition dispels the myth of that lingering fantasy mom and gives me something tangible to gauge my results from without feeling like a failure unnecessarily.
What does it mean to be a good mom?
I believe a good mom seeks to do what is best for her child above what is easiest or most popular. Our job as parents is short lived in proportion to our whole life. Instead of listing ways to be a good mom, I came up with long-term goals I believe are good for my child and then asked myself how I can encourage them in that direction.
Here’s what I came up with: I want to raise kids who one day leave my home, support themselves, love what they do and on a spiritual level, seek the Lord and know His voice.
When my kids leave the house, (unless something major happens) I don’t want to be checking up on them daily, doing their laundry, shopping for food, balancing their check book and making sure they get up on time. So then home becomes the training ground for learning how to handle responsibility, time, money and thinking for themselves.
A few ways I encourage this are:
Giving them age appropriate chores to do on a daily basis, and not doing it for them when they “forget”.
Exposing them to different fields of professions, cultures, skills and see what interests them. Then giving them the time and space and resources to grow in their new-found passion.
Letting them be bored at times without resorting to a screen.
Letting them struggle with decisions and figure out the options to fix it.
A freeing realization is: Being a good mom does not equal being a perfect mom. As my friend Katy says, outsource what you need to without feeling guilty. Being a good mom takes a lot of apologies and do-overs and tears and hugs and laughter and late night talks with friends!
And know, you are your kid’s hero. You. In all your quirky, crazy, organized or messy ways you inspire them.
Motherhood is hard. But you can do it! Slam the door on the expectation monster and define what a good mom means to you. Then do that. And enjoy being a mom again.