How do I know if I am a good mom?

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As a mother, we always worry if we are doing enough for our kids. We have our doubts and we think that we may be failing in providing their emotional, physical and financial needs, etc. We all feel the pressure to try to be the perfect mother. We question ourselves, “Am I doing this right? Am I doing this wrong?”. If you wonder about all these things, and the fact that you are reading this article, is a sign that you are a ‘good mom’. Here are some indications that you are doing a great job as a mother:

You worry about being a ‘good mom’

Just for the fact that you are concerned how you are doing as a mother, is already a sign that you care. Motherhood is a very challenging job and it differs from one mom to another. Do not compare yourselves to other moms’ experience as it may frustrate you. Otherwise, know that you are doing your best and you are a good mom.

Here are some signs that you worry a lot:    

1.      You overthink if you are doing enough or if your kids love you.

2.      You are always exhausted thinking about what you could have done better.

3.      You try to do everything yourself.

Those times that you feel down, and having self-doubts, understand that you are not alone. It is okay to give them sweets after dinner, it is okay to let them be bored. It is okay to be mad at them. There are bad days that are inevitable. No matter what the situations may be, as long as your kids feel loved and cared for, then that is what’s important.

Your child expresses a wide range of emotions in front of you.

Dealing with the crying and the tantrums can be very stressful. We often wish that they won’t be grumpy or bad tempered especially when out in the public. But these emotions shows that our kids feel safe and that they are emotionally comfortable with you.

How to help your children to express their emotions:

1.      Identify their feelings.

Teach them the right vocabulary to express how they feel. (angry, sad, hurt, tired)

2.      Ask them how they are feeling.

This encourages them to open up and at the same time, they would know that you are sincerely concerned about what they are feeling.

3.      Have an open communication.

When they make mistakes, teach them how to deal with their emotions and how to better deal with it next time. Tell them that maybe their feelings are valid but there is a reason why it happened. Show them how they can cope with it to avoid aggressiveness. [1]

Do not disregard these behaviors. Instead, let them know that you acknowledge, understand and feel them. And explain to them why it has to be that way. Allow them to make mistakes and let them learn from it. Good parenting should be a deep, sincere and unconditional feeling towards your child. This does not stop when the children get anxious, nervous, intense or overly emotional. The heart of parenting is being able to be present when your child needs you.[2]

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You are determined to do your best.

Modern parents usually struggle juggling different things: from motherhood, work, family, relationships and a whole lot of other things. This can be so overwhelming. It can cause frustration and guilt. Good moms can’t seem to distinguish what her priorities are because it felt like everything is important. Know that moms have good days and bad days. We fail. As long as you know that you do your best and your children feel your love and care, then it is a validation that you are a good mom.

A good mom knows when to say ‘yes and how to say ‘No’.

All good mothers love her child. We want them to be happy. We want to see their smiling face and hear their giggles. We want to give them all. But there is a fine line between loving and spoiling. Do not be guilty of saying ‘no’ if you think that it is beyond the boundaries. Spoiled children won’t accept ‘no’ as an answer. They show a lack of consideration for others, have trouble delaying gratification, and temperamental. Their behavior is disturbing, uncooperative, and controlling. They are difficult to please and hard to satisfy. They are unpleasant to be around, even for those who love them.[3]

The reality is, we don’t always get what we want. Ironically, people who accept this reality seem to be the most satisfied. Kids needed to learn that sometimes, they will face a difficult problem or scenario that they may feel helpless or frustrated. Teach them that they cannot always get what they want. A lot of times, getting what they want is not really what they want. [4]

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You wanted to improve yourself as a mother.

A lot of moms are second-guessing if they are doing the things a good mom should do. We often compare ourselves to others secretly, especially with social media showing us the ‘perfect mother’ image. So, we find ways and make an effort to show our children that we care, like waking up earlier than usual to prepare them a healthy breakfast, even if we only got 4 hours of sleep. We worry that they might get bored so we try to set a plan every weekends. We rush to school to pick them up after work. We want to make sure we do our best.

Some ways to improve as a mom:

1.      Do not expect perfection.

2.      Set your phone aside.

3.      Make quality time for them.

4.      Give them positive feedback and celebrate achievements, big or small.

5.      Do not shower them with gifts to compensate for lack of presence.

A good mom has down moments but knows how to regain her sanity.

Motherhood is a crazy rollercoaster of emotions. It can be overwhelming a lot of times. We have a lot in our hands like work, cook, clean, running errands and dozens of other stuffs. Usually, these obligations can take a toll on us and we breakdown. And this is okay! It means that you are just human, you need a break and you need to recharge. Take care of yourself.

Some of the things you can do to recharge:

1.      Have a me-time. Go on a quiet coffee shop and read a good book.

2.      Pamper yourself and give yourself some TLCs. Maybe get a massage once a month.

3.      Go on a date with your partner. It is not selfish and it is okay.

4.      Go out with friends and have a spa day.

5.      Join a support group or volunteer. This will broaden your knowledge.

6.      Take a cooking class. (or any interest you may have.)

7.      Take a vacation.

All of us needs self-care – most importantly if you’re a mother with dependents counting on you. It is not selfish. You need to respect yourself and care for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state. This is a part of being responsible and effective parenting.[5]

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Self-Care for Moms
This book will show mothers the ways to re-charge, take a break, avoid breakouts and will tell you that is equally important to prioritize yourself while nurturing your children

Listen, acknowledge and don’t judge your children.

Children, and most adults too, do not understand their emotions. They can throw a rage or tantrums if they are sleepy or tired or hungry. It maybe because they are in pain or angry or sad. Do not disregard these emotions. They are still processing what is happening because they do not understand. A good mother allows their child to express their emotions and verbalize it. This will allow them to be more open and be more expressive of what they feel.

As a mother, you have to be there for them to comfort them, listen to what they have to say. Do not disregard or tell them “It is nothing” or “It is all in your head”. These types of approach will make them feel unimportant and taken for granted. Instead, acknowledge what they are saying and give advice if necessary. Sometimes, children just want a parent who will sincerely listen. Do not deny them of their feelings.

We want to establish the kind of respectful communication we want our children to adopt. We need to show them the importance of the tone of voice, the use of the proper terms and mutual respect which they can carry over to their teenage and adult lives.[6]

Some examples of positive phrases to use:

·         Great job!

·         I am very proud of you.

·         It is so nice of you to say that.

·         That is amazing!

·         You are so loved.

·         I knew you can do that!

You know how to accept help.

Mothers are considered superwomen. We can juggle multiple things at a time. But we are not perfect and we do not have superpowers. We get tired, make mistakes, we learn from it and continue to be the best mother we can be. Allowing yourself to accept help from family and friends will lift some of these stuffs off of your mind. Hence, we will have time to gain our strength to face another day.

In the book written by Hilary Clinton, she said, “It takes a village to raise a child”, we need the community to help us raise successful, wonderful children. Since we cannot watch them 24/7, we need trusted people around us to impart their knowledge and skill. We need teachers to help them with their education. We need friends to baby sit them if we need to run some errands. People around us can either be supportive or they can be a bad influence too. We want to have a community where they can mentor our children to have strong values and traits.[7]

For mothers, do not be afraid or embarrassed, feel free to ask for assistance or help or guidance. We might feel that the world is in our shoulders but once we get burned out, who would take care of our children?

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It Takes a Village
This book showcases the teamwork within the families and how the community will be a better place if adult and children work together. Kids will love the illustration of this book too.

Superwoman Syndrome is a thought where women are convinced that they can have it all, and do it all.  We are all special. God made us special by giving us superpowers of our own. We are pressured to take several roles, that leads us to be exhausted, stressed and burned out. Superwoman needs help. And again, it is OK.[8]

How do you know if you have the Superwoman Syndrome?

1.      You always want to do it yourself because it is easier.

2.      Other people just don’t do it right. Or at least not how we want it to be done.

3.      You are always rushing from one task to another.

4.      You barely have time to relax.

5.      You always have something on your plate.

6.      You want to excel in all those fields.

The Superwoman Syndrome
This book guides women to manage multiple tasks and roles as professionals, housewives, mother and anything in between to how to gain control and making sure to achieve the goals with satisfaction

Set individual dates with your children.

I agree that family time is very important. But each of your kids have their own needs. Each of them is going through a different phase. Make sure you allot a special time with each one of them, to get to know them and to make them feel special. You can have a lunch date, a playdate, eat ice cream together, or enroll in an art class. Go to the museum, or even bring them to a spa. The possibilities are endless. It is a form of bonding experience and you will be surprised in what you will learn about them and their personality.

Studies show that the time parent spend with their children is a critical factor in child’s development. For working moms, make time for your kids. The quality of time is substantial, the experience and adventures matter, to show the kids they are important and valued. [9]

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Learn from your own parenting mistakes and let your children learn from their own mistakes.

We want to be there for our children 100%, at all times. We want them to a have an easy, comfortable life. But life is not easy. It is not right to fix our children’s problems for them every time. We want them to be a capable, confident individual who can think and who can make their own decisions. We want them to be ready for the real world. Instead, make them realize what happened, tell them why it happened and make them realize the consequences of their actions. Ask them “What will you do about it?” or “How do you feel about it?”. In that way, they will be able to think and find a solution, then eventually learn from it. Same goes for mothers.

Most of us are busy multi-tasking. There are times that our children will tell us something, and we usually tell them to ‘not mind it’ or ‘it is all in your head’. This is a very wrong approach. Let them know that their feelings are valid, ask them why they feel a certain way. A good mom knows how to listen and converse.

Over protecting the kids can weaken a child development and causes them difficulty to cope with stressful situations. Kids need to experience disappointment and failure in order to mature in a healthy way. Parents who always make plans or decisions and solve their children’s problems will easily get beaten by challenges and obstacles in life. [10]

Do not be over controlling.

We all have high hopes for our children. We want them to succeed, have high grades, have an excellent career and be successful. Mothers tend to have high expectations from their children. Personally, for me, make sure you set an achievable, reasonable standards. Do not be too hard on them. Kids make a lot of mess, they can be a picky eater, they can be grumpy and such. Some kids are not as extrovert as others. Some kids perform well in academics, some in extra-curricular activities. Accept them for who they are. Encourage them instead of pressuring them. Praise them in what they do well and boost their confidence if they feel defeated. Do not be very demanding and pushy for the reason that children are different in all aspects. Support them in who they are and not what you want them to be. Do not compare them with other children. It will be less stressful for you and for the children as well.

More specifically, controlling parents are giving the impression to their children that the world is dangerous. This prevents children to engage socially, and stops them from opportunities outside their comfort zone. This kind of parenting can cause paranoia and anxiety that can even lead to depression.[11]

Show a good example to your kids.

I keep on saying that nobody is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. But showing kindness and respect and manners can greatly influence what they can become. Practice what you preach. This will prevent your child to make unhealthy decisions and they will be able to adapt these behaviors growing up. Social media has a very huge influence especially for teenagers. Start them young by showing and teaching them what a good person is like. This will help them make good choices when faced with peer pressure.

Here are some simple ways you can do to set a good example:

1.      Show respect. Always say ‘Thank you” or ‘I am sorry” if the situation calls for it.

2.      Do not be rude. (ex: Do not interrupt if someone is talking.)

3.      Share what you can.

4.      Offer help to those in need.

5.      Donate.

6.      Avoid cursing.

Some of the ways a child can show that they love you.

Children have different ways of expressing love. It can be physical like cuddling or kissing. It can be material like giving gifts. It could be verbal like saying “I love you” or “I miss you”. It could be through actions like cooking their favorite food. Or it could be quality time and they just want for you to be around.

Signs they love you:

·         They can be clingy.

·         They will call out your name when they are happy or sad. (or hungry)

·         They will ask you a favor.

·         They will tell you ‘I love you’.

·         They are excited to see you after a long day of work.

·         They want to go with you everywhere.

·         They cry with you.

Know their love language.

We want our kids to know that we love them. But how can we properly show them the sincere love we have for them?

Dr. Chapman, who is a co-author of the book “The 5 Love Languages of Children” said “You have to know how to communicate love to a child so that he genuinely feels loved.

It takes time to discover your child’s love language, especially when your child is still young, they have different attitudes and behaviors. Their love language can change from preschool to teenage years. It is our job as a mother – or parent to know these languages and make sure our children feel our sincere love for them.  [12]

Here are the 5 Love Languages of Children:

·         Physical Touch

These children want to be hugged and cuddled. They want to literally feel you beside him.

·         Gifts

These children see gifts as a token of love. They feel valued if they receive a present. It shows them that the giver took time to think about giving them gifts. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple ice candy or toy will be appreciated.

·         Words of Affirmation

These kids wanted to hear the affirmation from their parents. They wanted to be recognized and be praised.

·         Acts of Service

These children wanted to feel your presence by actions. If you will help them with their homework, or with just about anything, they will feel loved.

  • Quality Time

Children who need quality time is looking for undivided attention. He wants you to focus on him. It doesn’t matter what activity, as long as you are doing it together, he will feel your love.

 

A good mom should be aware of their child’s love language. Spend quality time with them and observe how they want to be treated. See how they will respond with your gestures. This will help you understand how you can show your love to them which makes you a good mom.

Eisenberg, Nancy, Richard A. Fabes, and Bridget C. Murphy. “Parents’ reactions to children’s negative emotions: Relations to children’s social competence and comforting behavior.” Child development 67.5 (1996): 2227-2247.

[2] Gottman, John. Raising an emotionally intelligent child. Simon and Schuster, 2011.

[3] McIntosh, Bruce J. “Spoiled child syndrome.” Pediatrics 83.1 (1989): 108-115.

[4] Walsh, David. No: Why Kids–of All Ages–need to Hear it and Ways Parents Can Say it. Simon and Schuster, 2007.

[5] Schafer, Alyson. Breaking the good mom myth: every mom’s modern guide to getting past perfection, regaining sanity, and raising great kids. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

[6] Faber, Adele, and Elaine Mazlish. How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk. Simon and Schuster, 2012.

[7] Clinton, Hillary Rodham. It takes a village. Simon and Schuster, 2006.

[8] Nolen, Lesli. “The’Super’Syndrome.” Ranch and Rural Living 100.12 (2019): 40-41.

[9] Milkie, Melissa A., et al. “Time With Children, Children’s Well-Being, and Work-Family Balance Among Employed Parents.” Journal of Marriage and Family 72.5 (2010): 1329.

[10] Elmore, Tim. 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid: Leading Your Kids to Succeed in Life. Harvest House Publishers, 2014.

[11] Grolnick, Wendy S., and Nicholas H. Apostoleris. “What makes parents controlling.” Handbook of self-determination research 161 (2002).

[12] Chapman, Gary, and Ross Campbell. The 5 Love Languages/5 Love Languages for Men/5 Love Languages of Teenagers/5 Love Languages of Children. Moody Publishers, 2016.

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Author

Tiffany Biondi

Tiffany Biondi

Mother of 4 kids, Tiffany is a certified childcarer and during her free time, she write posts in thebabychoice to share her hands on experience and knowledge.
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