This is a question I’ve thought about and pondered upon numerous times since I’ve become a mother. And this is what I believe makes a good mother.
Being a good mother isn’t about how much money you make, whether or not you’ve gone to college, whether you’ve graduated high school, whether or not you’ve got tattoos or piercings. It’s not about competition. It’s not about having the most followers on your Instagram or Facebook account, while waiting for those likes to come pouring in on the pictures of your kids. It’s not about your ethnic background, or what country you were born in. It’s not about being able to get your kids the coolest, newest gifts or toys. It’s not even about gaining the approval of your friends, and other family members.
Do you know what I think makes a great mom?
Loving your children unconditionally. This isn’t always easy, believe it or not. Those parents reading this who only have one child or have only experienced dealing with a newborn – or if your older child is perfectly angelic, then more power to you – but for the rest of us who have a child who defies every rule, breaks them as quick as we lay the rules down, and even for those of us who have a child(ren) with mental illness, it’s not always easy to express that love. But, at the end of the day, we all love our children with everything we have inside. Some days, they may make us want to rip the hair from our skulls, and that’s okay. They’re kids. It’s sort of in their code. But we will always love them – their annoyances, problems, imperfections, and bad choices aside.
Just being there. Sometimes, we get so caught up with appointments, meetings, work, and life in general that we overlook one of the most essential parts of being a parent: just being there. Being there to listen if they’ve had a stressful day. Being there to listen to them convey how much they hate their math teacher. Being there to wipe their tears away if someone in school is being mean to them. Being there to laugh with them and smile with them and talk about their day, and yours. Just be there.
Sacrifice. Mamas, I know you know this one all too well. But sacrifice is one of the most humble things we can do as mothers for our children. Missing nights of sleep to care for a newborn isn’t easy, but it’s a sacrifice we are willing to make. Getting up at 5 AM because your daughter wants you to do her hair for class pictures is a sacrifice. You could have really used that extra 3 hours of sleep. But, anything for her. Or giving your little guy your last $5 until payday because he wants to buy an ice cream for the little boy nobody ever talks to, and for himself, so they can become friends. Sacrifice. Sacrifice isn’t usually easy, but it’s something we are willing to do to show we care. It’s putting other’s needs before our own.
Home cooked meals. Now, this might sound silly, but research shows a family that sits and eats a home cooked meal together is actually a much closer family, and the children tend to grow up to be respectable people. I firmly believe in family dinners. Breakfast and lunch are usually pretty chaotic around our house, but dinner is a time for family. Moms, it’s really not hard to put together a quick home cooked meal each night of the week. Even if you work outside the home. I have been there and I’ve done it. It can be done. This again goes back to sacrifice. It’s not always easy to put dinner on the table when your feet are aching and all you want to do is sit and relax, but it’s possible. And it’s important.
Lots of affection. Show your kids you love them. Give them hugs and kisses. Tell them you love them each night before bed and each morning when you wake up. Let them know they’re important, they matter, and that they are very, very loved.
Build their self-esteem. The world will probably show it’s cold, ugly face to your child over the course of their childhood and teenage lives. Help encourage and build their self esteem by complimenting them often.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, and these are not all of the things you can do to be a great mom. These are just some of the most important things, in my opinion, when it comes to parenting. At least – they are to me.
What’s important to you as a mom? What do you believe makes a great mom? Sound off in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!