What Makes a Good Mother?
May 06, 2019 11:25AM
By Lisa Payne
As Mother’s Day approaches, I tend to reflect on my worth as a mother. Have I done enough, seen enough, felt enough, shown enough, grown enough, cleaned enough, made enough healthy meals? Was I good role model this past year? How many regrets do I have and what could I have done better? Were all the other mothers in this world out performing me? And why should it even matter what other mothers are doing? In other words, I beat myself up and feel a lot of shame when I would rather be looking at all the positive things I have done. Why is it so hard to see all the good?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by motherhood. When I first had my children, I didn’t realize how at the same instant I could feel so much love for someone and feel so incredibly exhausted and irritated at the same time. It was always two extremes. There is complete joy in watching your baby squeal with delight one minute and instant defeat when they diarrhea up their back in their church clothes on the way out the door. There are all of the proud tears when they do well in school and seem really happy, and the next day the gut-wrenching tears when they share how mean friends can be and how lonely they feel. I was not prepared for any of this. It’s a constant guessing game and it’s easy to always wonder if we are being a good enough mother.
It took me a long time to realize that my worth as a mother doesn’t come from worrying enough or buying enough or wondering if I am keeping up with all the other moms. It doesn’t matter the clothes they wear or the presents they receive. At the end of the day of all of the doing and driving and laughing and crying, what makes me a good mother is my connection with my children. They don’t care how fancy the lunchbox food is, but they feel really loved by a note I stick in there. They don’t care if we buy them a trampoline to go play on, but they light up from within when I go jump on it with them. They know their dad and I love each other, but they gain security knowing we go on date night each week so that we can “keep the love alive” which enables us to be better parents to them. It’s being able to apologize to my kids when I’ve yelled too much. It’s playing the “try to kiss me” game they made up and that last cuddle at night. I’ve realized it’s all the small things I do for my children that matter the most.
Try asking your children tonight what makes you a good mom. You may be pleasantly surprised by their answer. Better yet keep a Mother’s Day journal and have them write their favorite thing about you in it each year. My husband started that for me years ago and it is my favorite thing to look back at each year. It reminds me that it is always my unconditional love and dedicated time with them that makes me a good mother. Both are free and both create that connection I crave.
Happy Mother’s Day! I wish you a day filled with enjoying the simple things.