Inside: What is a mom supposed to do when she feels like she is falling short?
Scrolling my Facebook feed yesterday, I read a post in a local Mom group. A mom of two kiddos introduced herself and her family.
She described them as your typical awesome gang: adventure-seeking, fun-loving, bike-riding, crafting, camping, volunteering, ball-playing, geo-caching, cool people.
She sounded like a really good mom.
I reread her post twice more. I felt a stinging annoyance and anxiety bubbling up.
Because I am not a mother that does all of these things with my daughter. In fact, I don’t do half the crap I see other “good moms” doing with their kids.
I started to question everything about my parenting style. What is a mother supposed to be doing? Am I even doing this right?
Why don’t I do more things with my daughter? Create more? Schedule more? Go more?
What is a mom supposed to do? What is a good mom? And when it gets down to it, am I really a good mom?
The Mom Comparison Trap
I fell for it. Again. The mom comparison trap.
Am I the only person that can see another mom’s social media post and begin to wonder if my child will grow up to feel slighted, or like she had a “less than” childhood as her friends did, because I didn’t do “enough” things?
Am I taking her to enough venues? Do I expose her to enough experiences? Is she getting enough culture? Does she have enough to do?
Are we in enough activities and programs?
Is any of it enough?
Just how much and exactly what is a mom supposed to do when it comes to doing all of the things?
Every time I check out Pinterest, I see 101 amazing things that good moms are doing with their children, and there are usually about 97 things that I am not doing.
I’m not creating robots out of juice boxes, making elaborate scrapbooks, or building back-yard obstacle courses.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, my low effort in the “organized activity category” is A-Okay with me.
But then there is that one percent of time that I find myself asking:
Am I still a good mom if I don’t do all of that?
What Is a Mom?
Before I began to grasp my own truths about motherhood, I had grandiose ideas of what it meant to be a good mom, to be the perfect mom that did “all the things.”
I’ll be honest. In the beginning, I wanted the Pinterest Perfect Parenting Life. The perfect parties. All the sports and activities. Dress my child in adorable clothes. Have the perfect family photo shoots.
But that’s not how motherhood worked out for me. I guess you could say it’s just not my mom style.
Because I am more of the type that, more often than not, just lives in the moment.
My daughter is the same way.
We are not jam-packed activity people. We are occasional activity people.
Could we benefit from getting out and about more? Yes.
Am I going to work on that? Yes.
A few years back, I declared 2017 to be “The Year of Doing Stuff.” I might declare it for 2020, too. Because I do think there is value in getting out of our bubble a bit more.
But I don’t think the only way to be a good mom is about checking a thousand boxes and creating a perfectly curated Instagram feed.
Real life is not what you see on someone’s Pinterest board.
What I have come to understand and accept is that there are all kinds of parenting styles, all of which include ways to be a good mom.
Do You Fret About Being Good Enough, Too?
If you are a mother who falls into the comparison trap, here is what I want you to know.
Being a good mom isn’t about how much you do or don’t do. Being a good mom is about your love, intention, and presence.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Pinterest Mom, a Helicopter Mom, or a Hot Mess Mom. You just need to know that you ARE a good mom!
For funsies, I took a few “What Kind of Mom Are You?” quizzes. One pegged me as a Free Spirit Mom. Another called me a Hot Mess Mom.
To be honest, I’m probably a combination of all kinds on any given day. Sometimes I’m a “Let’s Go Do Stuff Mom.”
Other times I’m an “Entertain Yourself Because I Have Things to Do Mom.”
We might speak different love languages to our children. We might have different ways that we engage and interact with our kids.
And that’s okay.
What makes a good mom is being there. That means Loving. Caring. Teaching. Showing up.
What is a Mom? And What Is Her Job?
This is what I think:
- Making sure my daughter knows she is loved.
- Raising her to feel confident, know who she truly is, and feel good about herself.
- Teaching her kindness, humility, and respect.
- Showing her how to live with integrity, purpose, and character.
- Meeting her needs.
- Showing her how to live a full life.
- Being there when she needs me.
- Giving affection.
- Allowing her space to make mistakes and learn from them.
And just for added measure, I asked my daughter to describe what makes a good mom. Here is what she had to say.
A Good Mom Does These Things:
- Cares for you
- Doesn’t yell at you a lot
- Doesn’t overreact
- Takes you places like out for lunch, for walks, and to the mall
- Is kind
- Is happy
- Lets you do stuff that you enjoy doing
- Hangs out with you
- Talks with you
- Is loving
- Teaches you right from wrong
- Teaches you to love others
- Stands up for you
“Basically what you do, Mom.”
So that’s it. Those are the boxes I wan to check.
I’m not a perfect mom. And I know being a perfect mom isn’t really possible.
But a good mom? I am that.
If you find yourself scrolling and getting a little weird about whether or not you’re a good mom. Stop.
Embrace your ways. Your style. Your methods. Trust yourself to know what works for you and your children.
You ARE a good mom.
Just for Fun
Want to try a quiz to see what your Mom Type is? Check these out:
What Type of Mom Are You? by Brainfall
What Type of Mom Are You? by BuzzFeed
What’s Your Mom Personality? by Mom 365