I didn’t believe I was that great of a mom until last week. Being a “good mom” has always been a struggle for me becasue I didn’t really know how to qualify it. Am I a good mom if I teach my kids something new everyday? Because I don’t. Am I a good mom if I make sure my kids get reading time in everyday? Because that never happens. Am I good mom if my kids eat fruits and vegetables everday? Because I’m lucky if I can get my daughter to eat one serving of fruits or vegetables each day.
When I think of a “good mom,” it’s someone who is willing to drop everything to play with her kids. A good mom takes her kids out on special outings and to special mommy & me meals and activities. If I was a good mom, I would spend as much time playing with my kids as possible.
Unfortunately, I don’t. I make breakfast almost every single morning for the kids – I can’t stand cold cereal for breakfast so I have to make something. I get them ready for the day. Sometimes I take some extra time to get myself prepared to walk out the door. Then we’ve got errands to run or story time to go to. Whatever the case, we’re gone somewhere … not necessarily spending quality time together playing and laughing … we’re just … together. Right after that, it’s lunch time, then quiet time or nap time or preschool. Following that, I’ve got to make dinner, we eat dinner, and then if there’s time, we’ll go out and do something together as a family. But I never get long periods of time where I can sit down with the kids, have an hour-long tea party, sing songs for a half hour, or just play and be silly because I always need to be doing something for someone it seems.
And so I honestly believed I was a bad mom until just recently.
I mentioned to my sister-in-law that ADHD Gift has changed my relationship with my husband for the better and she mentioned that the Five Languages of Love has changed hers because she and her husband understand each other just like I understand my husband better. She talked about how she shows love by doing things for others – she’s a service-oriented person. Her husband needs quality time which happens to be just like me! And as I thought through this new concept I had just been exposed to, I felt a huge sense of relief! I am a good mom – I just had to change my thinking!
After talking to my husband about it, he confirmed what I was thinking. I am a good mom because I make sure that the children get meals everyday. They have clean clothes … or at some point recently were clean. They have been taken to various places to increase their social and listening skills. They get their naps and quiet time everyday. Even though I thought I could only be a good mom by spending quality time with them, many moms believe that they are good moms if they help and serve their family and that’s exactly what I do every single day!
The past week, I have been retraining my thought process. At the end of the day, instead of remembering how much I did not get done, how many times my children cried, or how awful the house looked at the end of the day, I am instead crossing off things on a checklist in my head:
- Are the kids still alive and healthy because I gave them food, water, and exercise?
- Did the children smile at least once today?
- Did I give the children time to learn and explore, even if I was busy in the kitchen?
- Do my kids love me?
These are simple questions but I have been able to say yes to them every single night, verifying to myself that I am a good mom. I have taken care of my children and they are healthy and happy, partly because of me.
So I challenge all of you great moms out there to find your strengths. What are you good at doing as a mom? Are you really good at playing with your children? Are you really good at making sure your children eat everyday? What makes you an excellent mom? And then focus on that. Remember that not everday is going to go as planned and it probably won’t be anywhere near perfect. But as long as you are trying your best, that’s all that really matters.