I have made it a goal of mine this past year to intentionally share my positive thoughts of others instead of keeping them captive. Like, if I see a woman at Target rocking some fierce red lips? I’ll probably go out of my way to tell her. Things I have long admired in those around me need to be spoken, because it’s necessary. It’s necessary for them to hear, and it’s necessary for my heart to communicate.
So, I’ll go ahead and say it. You are a good mom.
I feel as though I can say that with confidence because, get this: I don’t know any bad moms. I really don’t… and I know a lot of moms.
The sad thing is, most of the moms I know intimately, myself included, have confided that they wonder if they’re a good mom or not, or have called themselves a bad mom at one point or another.
Allow me to share this:
You’re reading this right now, aren’t you? That’s evidence of you caring.
The fact that we even ask ourselves the question of whether or not we’re a good mom is telling. It means we want to be the best for our families. That we desire to grow.
When the decisions we are daily forced to make nag at us from the back of our minds and keep us up at night, it demonstrates that we feel the weight of what we’re doing.
And that makes us good mothers.
I stand in admiration of the way that many of my friends manage life and parent their children. I know moms who have parented, alone a lot of the time, while their husbands work grueling hours, but still do it with purpose. I know moms who have lost children but still seek to be present for their living ones. I know moms who have had negligent mothers themselves, but vow to do better by their own little ones.
There comes a time when we all feel like we’re not doing enough, right? Like we’re failing. We see the laundry and dishes and inbox overflowing. We see all of the tears and upsets, the permission slips we forget to sign, the peas that are flung in defiance on the floor.
But it’s not these things that determine whether or not we’re good moms or not– it’s the fact that we’re DOING IT. We chose it, and we’re doing it, this motherhood thing, because of them.
Because, when we look at them, and our hearts brim with pride and love and thankfulness, it makes sense, and pushes us forward. Doubts and all.
Because they need us.
And when it comes down to it, once their basic needs of food and shelter are met, all they really need is us. Our presence, our encouragement, our active love.
When I reflect on my own childhood, I don’t remember the baby doll that, perhaps, my mom didn’t buy me at the toy store when I was six, or that I was eating regular old white bread instead of organic sprouted grain. I don’t remember her momentary frustration when I spilled my juice up at dinner, or smudges on windows. What I do remember is that my mom told me how beautiful my piano-playing was as I plunked away at the keys as an eight-year-old, and that she was somehow always in tune with how I was doing, for better or worse.
What I’m getting at is this: There is no guidebook on what it takes to be a good mother. We all have our failures and flaws along with our own unique ability to actively love our children. There are pressures from all sides to do x, y, and z in order to excel at mothering and raise perfect children… but it’s disingenuous to assume that it’s one-size-fits-all.
Chin up, Mama. You’re doing fine. And you’re a great mother.
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.