I have been thinking a lot about what makes a person a good mother. As mother’s it seems that we are ALWAYS under some level of scrutiny. Whether we stay home or work in an office, create organic diets or let our kids eat sugar, breastfeed or bottle feed, there is continuously someone waiting to tell you how wrong you are. Before I even became a mom, I saw this mommy shaming culture and found it disgusting. It seems that while technology and social media have made our lives more convenient, they have also added a level of complexity to deal with that our parents never faced.
We read articles, see comments, and click through memes that cause us to question whether we are doing anything right. On top of that, people in our lives, both strangers and those we know, always seem to be offering an opinion on how we could be doing better. It seems that every time we think we have some facet of parenting figured out, someone comes along to pop that delusion. Often, we believe that if someone else is a good mother and we do things differently, then we must not be good moms.
I have, honestly, given this a lot of thought since becoming a mom. What does it mean to be a good mother? How can we be the best possible parents to our little ones? I think that I have finally figured out the secret of it all and I’d like to clear up here and now what it means to be a good mom.
Here are some key traits possessed by good moms.
The best moms breastfeed their newborns. Except some of those fantastic moms bottle feed.
Good moms limit TV and screen time. However, good moms also turn on the television or hand over the iPad in hopes of having a little bit of peace and quiet.
To be a great mom, you should feed your children an entirely organic, plant-based diet. Although, begging them to eat a vegetable and caving in by giving them pizza also makes you a good mom.
Whether you schedule and structure all your kids’ free time with extracurricular resume-boosting activities or when you allow them tons of unstructured time, you are a being a good mom.
Good moms are patient and gentle. They are also exasperated and yell more than they would like.
Being a good mom means your home is so spotless that guests would eat off the floors. It also means that your house is cluttered, untidy, and covered in toys.
Great moms stay home with their children, pursue careers outside the home, or beg for silence while trying to work from home.
All the best moms are married or single, gay or straight, or any variation of those available.
Good moms are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheist, or any other religion.
Amazing mothers gave birth naturally at home. They also gave birth with epidural assistance and even had cesarean deliveries.
Outstanding moms hover a bit and practice attachment parenting. The mommas who stay hands off and push independence, however, are just as exceptional.
So many excellent moms do yoga and hit the gym to unwind. Others open a bottle of wine and binge Netflix, but they are still top-notch.
Good moms volunteer for PTA, bake sales, fundraisers and the like. Good moms also don’t get overly involved in school activities.
Some moms make their child the center of their world and others value a little more “me time.” All of them are great mothers!
You see where I’m going with this, right?
We need to stop scrutinizing ourselves and stop letting other people’s judgment affect us.
Of all the jobs I have ever held in my life, mother is by far the hardest. It is challenging, stressful, exhausting, ever-changing, and, of course, incredibly rewarding. My daughter has never missed a single meal or snack in her life. She is always freshly diapered and clothed. Every one of her vaccines is up to date. She gets more love and cuddles than anyone I know. She has enough toys, books, stuffed animals to shame Toys R Us.
But, do you know what?
Sometimes her “meals” are chicken nuggets or frozen pizza because she is a toddler and will have no part of anything else. There are days where she watches far too much Paw Patrol because I just need enough silence to meet my deadlines. Some nights that we have to skip a bedtime story because I am running out of the house to volunteer. There are even mornings when breakfast consists of toaster waffles because mommy had too much wine with dinner and now has a headache.
Despite all of that, I am still a good mother. I am a good mother because not one person alive loves my baby girl as much as I do. I’m doing the best possible job that I can, just like so many women before and so many will after me. That is all we can do because the truth is there is no single thing that makes us good moms.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, being a mom is hard, goddamit!
It should be a little bit easier, though, knowing we are all in this together. Motherhood is the largest tribe on earth and if you have been honored with the title of momma, then know you share a bond with millions of women. While each of our struggles may be unique to us, we should always be there to lift up our sisters. Push aside all of your preconceptions and support each other to the fullest extent of your heart.
Put an end to mommy shaming, once and for all, and realize we are ALL great moms.
What ways have you experienced mommy shaming? Have you tried to combat mommy shaming at all? Drop me a line and tell me about it!