Monday, November 27, 2017

Am I A Good Mother? A Real Answer

In a way seldom understood by even ourselves, we question who we are as mothers and whether or not we measure up.

To what?

We ourselves are not always sure. Society's expectations? Our mothers'? Our mother-in-laws'? Our husbands'? Our own?

You may find yourself trying to tick items off a list, looking for some kind of proof that you do, indeed, measure up. 'Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I read with them? Do I shout? Do I shout too often? Do I not discipline enough? Do I discipline too harshly?' The lists go round and round, always seeming to be longer the next time we review them.

But they all boil down to this: Am I A Good Mother?

I propose a long-sought after answer to this simple, yet humbling question, by answering the following three questions.

Ask yourself:

(for children around 12 and under)

1- Are my children safe? Physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally, etc.?

2- Do my children know they are loved?

3- Am I working to improve myself in 1-2 areas?

If you can answer yes to these, I say that you are. You are a good mother. There are many different lifestyles. One may shun the television, another may revel in its warm light for hours. One may enjoy McDonald's once a year, the other, far more frequently. One may read to their child for an hour a day. Another may not make it around to it. Choosing a different lifestyle, so long as it does not compromise your children's safety (McDonald's every meal, every day, for example, would be detrimental to their physical health) is merely a detail in their life and yours, not the definition of being a good mother.

We cannot be perfect in this life. Alas and alack. Would be that I could do everything right as a mother. But I can't. Nor can you. But you CAN work to improve, wherever you need to, bit by bit. That is all you can do and all that can be reasonably expected of you.

Ask yourself:

(for children around 12 and over)

1- Have I done all I can reasonably do to keep my children safe AND teach them to be safe themselves?

2- Have I done all I reasonably can to show love to them?

3- Am I working to improve myself in 1-2 areas?

The questions change slightly as your child matures, simply because we learn that we cannot control as much as we might like to. Children from good homes with good, loving upbringings can still make bad choices, things that cause them to be unsafe or feel unloved. This is something easily understood on paper but difficult to make your heart believe when you experience it. A child who strays, a child who deliberately chooses to endanger themselves, doesn't make you, their mother, bad or unworthy. If you can still answer yes to those three questions above, you are a good mom.

You can hear it from multiple sources, but until you yourself can believe that you are good at what you do, you shortchange yourself and your children. Have confidence. Be perfectly imperfect and still be just what your children need you to be.

Heavy the head that wears the crown. As queen of your own kingdom of children, you bear many responsibilities and all too often, useless guilt. Let that go. Believe that you can be, will be, and are a good mother.