Since Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, I have been thinking about what it means to be a “good mom” and my definition has definitely changed over the years.
As the parent of a baby, my definition of a “good mom” was entirely wrapped up in safety.
Was he swaddled correctly?
Was the bath water cool enough?
Did I have the right monitor that allowed me to stare at him and watch him breathe?
As my son transformed from baby to toddler, my focus shifted. Of course safety continued to be important, but exposure to experiences became a priority. We read lots of books, went to children’s museums, listened to music, and watched educational videos. At this point, I knew that I was a good mom.
During the preschool years, we did art exploration, swimming, piano lessons, and gymnastics. We would explore our neighborhood looking for interesting insects and beautiful nature. I felt that I was providing my son with the rich experiences that would prepare him for school. This was what it looked like to be a “good mom.”
Then Kindergarten came and all of my confidence slipped away. New challenges popped up and nothing seemed to work. What had I done wrong? I THOUGHT that I was a “good mom.” How could this happen?
If you have read other posts, you know that we went on quite a journey. Specialists, parenting groups, school staff meetings, and endless research took place for more than a year. We were in crisis mode and tried anything. Looking back, I should have understood that I WAS what my son needed.
The definition of being a “good mom” means something different to everyone. The helicopter parent, Tiger Mom, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants laid back mom, all believe that they are doing what is best for their child. The stay at home parent is convinced that she is right and the working parent makes her case for being a “good mom.”
In order for my son to feel secure, I must be calm and patient even when I am stressed out. I have to be consistent, even when I am tired and tempted to let things slide. I have to be loving and approachable, when my mind is cluttered with school and “to do” lists. I have to be a role model and demonstrate how to work through challenging homework even when I would like to sit mindlessly in front of the tv. I have to push him to have playdates when I would be happy as a clam to hibernate all weekend long! I have to be flexible enough to know that we might walk into a restaurant and then walk right back out because of the smells or the crowds or the music. I know how to do this…but would the Tiger Mom?
Let us celebrate being the best that we know how to be and let’s try to give ourselves a bit of a break. After all, we want our children to learn how to be secure and proud of themselves and they are watching us!
Happy Mother’s Day!