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What Makes a Good Mother?

Me and My Munchkin: What Makes a Good Mother?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

What Makes a Good Mother?

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What makes a woman a good mother? Is it the mother that stays at home with her children, or goes back to work to earn money to pay for the best schooling? The mother that spends her days playing with her children, or cooking and cleaning so that they have healthy things to eat and a clean house to play in? What about the mother that practices "helicopter parenting" or the mother that stands back and lets children find out what happens by themselves?

There are so many different ways to parent. Every person is different. I've talked before about women who appear to have motherhood simply come natural to them. Is that what makes a good mother? Is it the love in your child's eyes when they look at you? Or is it simply having the best cakes at the kindergarten open day?

The truth is there really is no way to define what makes a good mother. We all just do the best we can with what we have. I love my child, feed him, put him in warm clothes, play with him, cuddle him, provide him with toys and take him out to experience the world (or the community anyway!)

On the other hand I tell my child off, lose my temper with him, sleep trained him, put him in daycare 1 day per week when I don't actually work. I tell him to "just wait a minute, Mummy's a bit busy right now", I stay at home rather than taking him out to enjoy the sunshine when I'm having a bad day. I put him in front of the TV when I need a bit of peace or quiet, or when I simply can't take any more.

Do any of these things make me a bad mother, or just a normal mother? Do the bad things cancel out the good, and just make me a "mother"?

Does the fact that I want to go back to work, so that I can financially afford to move Master A and myself out of my parents house and set ourselves up on our own, rather than stay at home with him make me a bad mother? What about being a single mother, does that make me any less of a good mother?

The truth is I will never really know whether these things make me a good or bad mother. Some things are good-mother-like things to do, such as playing, cuddling and telling your child you love them (I do all three), and some are not-so-good-mother-like things to do, such as losing your temper, putting Facebook before your child's wish for bubbles or turning on Elmo to get 5 minutes to yourself. I have also done all of these things. Hell, I'm only human and there is only so many tantrums and tears and dirty nappies one person can take before they lose it (especially at that time of the month!)

I am not one of those mothers where it comes natural to me. The sleep deprivation surprised me and hit me hard. The loss of my identity and time to myself has been a huge struggle. I'm torn between wanting to give up everything for my child, and wanting to find myself again, doing what makes me happy, and having a social life outside of my child. Sometimes I feel like this makes me a bad mother, though I know that really, this isn't the case.

So really, being a good mother is defined by you. What makes you a good mother to children? What do you do for your children that makes you the best mother for them? Forget about all the not-so-good, though totally human things you do, and think about the things that make you a great mum.

What do you define as a "good mother"?
What have you done lately that makes you feel like a good mum?

Linking up with With Some Grace for Flash Blog Friday!

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At 26 July 2012 at 08:33 , Blogger Tubbah @ Organising: My Crazy Life said...

"I love my child, feed him, put him in warm clothes, play with him, cuddle him, provide him with toys and take him out to experience the world (or the community anyway!)"

That's what makes you a good mum :)

Wanting to go back to work to provide for him does not make you a bad mum.

I think as long as mums don't abuse their child in any manner (and I'm not talking about a smack here and there) and provide them with love and basic needs as you've stated above, then she's a good mum :)

At 26 July 2012 at 09:20 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

This can be such a gray area. We seemed to be damned if we do, and damned if we don't in so many aspects of parenting. Everyone has their opinions so it's hard to know what makes you a "good" mother.
Chrissie xx

At 26 July 2012 at 11:30 , Blogger Neenish Arts said...

Being a good mum to me is by being myself and role modelling love, compassion. Showing my child different emotions including frustration and anger is ok if not too often and abusive. Role modelling coping strategies is being a good mum. "mummy is feeling upset now, lets put on some music it helps me feel better" or "mummy needs time out, can you watch a dvd for a little while?"
Making opportunities for physical activity and creativity, even if your 'not good at it'.
Waiting a short period of time for mummy to finish what she is doing encourages patience and independence (if not an urgent and if its not neglect!). Even when you feel like you are being a not so good mummy, what are the positives you can use in these situations?

I loved your post - the hesitant housewife shared it :)

At 26 July 2012 at 11:51 , Blogger Pink Ronnie said...

I loved this post. Honestly, I do all those things that you mentioned and sometimes I feel guilty about it but other times, I recognise that it's just my way of coping.
I have so much admiration and respect for you for being single mum. I really do.
Ronnie xo

At 26 July 2012 at 19:00 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Thanks for your comment what a great way of looking at it! I believe there is always room for improvement with parenting, and have set myself parenting goals. That said, As long as we are providing love and support to our child, we are doing something right!
And thanks for letting me know the hesitant housewife shared this, I have headed over to thank her!
Chrissie xx

At 26 July 2012 at 19:01 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Thankyou what a lovely comment! We are all human. Some cope better than others, and we all have different ways of coping, there is also so many things to factor in, not just our children. There's work, partners, family, friends, everything can take it's toll, and we just have to cope, and as long as our children are safe and loved, that's the main thing :)
Chrissie xx

At 26 July 2012 at 19:38 , Anonymous Kaylene said...

Being a mum is sooo hard. There are so many people saying what's right what's wrong. Being a good mum is doing the best we can do and loving our children more than anything. I lose my temper but that does not make me a good mum. I love my time out but that does not make me a bad mum. I work 4 days a week and my son is in daycare but that's life and does not make me a bad mum. You are not a bad mum at all! Mums deserve a life too and if we are happy then so are our children

At 27 July 2012 at 06:47 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Great answer Kaylene! Being a mum really is hard, but sounds like you have knowing your a great mum sorted!
Chrissie xx

At 27 July 2012 at 11:11 , Anonymous Lifeasmummymax said...

I don't think doing Any of those things makes you a bad mum. I'm sitting here reading blogs when I should be cleaning or playing with the kids but I think we all need a time out sometimes. My kids are happy,healthy and very loved children. Id like to think I'm a good mum but even good mums have bad days. X

At 27 July 2012 at 15:24 , Blogger Grace said...

I used to have all these ideals of what it would take for me to be a good mum...that was of course, before I had children.
Now, I'm a lot more realistic. (I just had the worse afternoon with the twinlets. Ever...)
This motherhood gig is really, really hard. It's so easy to be hard on yourself too but we just need to remember that we're doing the best that we can.

At 27 July 2012 at 15:42 , Blogger Bachelor Mum said...

Being a great mum ultimately comes down to you feeling good about the decisions you make as a mum. There is no right and wrong between fairly broad boundaries. Being happy within yourself and being kind to yourself gives you the strength to grin and bare the hard times and feel dizzily happy when the good times are with you, everything I between is just life x

At 27 July 2012 at 16:58 , Blogger Kylez...aka...MrsP said...

I think you're right in that it's hard to define what a 'good' mother actually is. I have no idea if I'm a good mother, and 8 months in I'm still being surprised by how much there is to learn and do just to simply be a mother! I think all we can do is our very best and try to be happy with that (doesn't get rid of the mother-guilt though)

Found your blog through FYBF and looking forward to reading more.

At 27 July 2012 at 18:37 , Blogger javajane2011 said...

I know where you are coming from.. so many standards and rules to what makes you a good mother.. I just hey throw them out the window.. we are only human and we are not perfect! We can only do the best we can do.. some days are a breeze and other days hard as hell, no matter what situation you are in!
So glad to have found your blog!! x

At 27 July 2012 at 23:37 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect sentiments completely! TB

At 28 July 2012 at 08:53 , Anonymous Shelley @ bluebirdsandseashells said...

I think the most important thing is love. I know it probably sounds too simplistic, but to me, that's when I feel that I am the best mother that I can be, when I know that I'm mothering from the heart. x

At 29 July 2012 at 09:12 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

We mothers are just hard-wired to experience mother guilt I think. You are right though. There is always a new experience, a new age to learn, a new child going through individual experiences. You never stop learning.
Chrissie xx

At 29 July 2012 at 09:14 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

There really are. What doesn't help is reading about people in the spotlight making mothers feel bad for doing one thing or another. It's like no matter what we do we can't do the right thing. I experience that with my son's dad. No matter what, I am being selfish and not thinking of my son. It's all about learning to block it all out and listen to your own heart only.
Chrissie xx

At 29 July 2012 at 09:15 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I agree. Love is so important. I tell my son I love him all the time. Although he is too young to really understand, he loves the cuddles and kisses that come with it.
Chrissie xx

At 29 July 2012 at 10:57 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Definitely! We need our time out too. And there are mums out there that will make us feel bad for that (I have come across some, sadly) but we just need to block that out and do what's best for us and our family.
Chrissie xx

At 29 July 2012 at 10:59 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

It is so easy to be hard on yourself. We are our own worst critics. But if we just turn off that negative voice and remember all of the great things we do for our children, that is what they are likely to remember over the time we lost our temper at them. I am in awe of you and how you manage 2 of them at once! I struggle at times just with my one!
Chrissie xx

At 29 July 2012 at 11:00 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Oh I do love this response. It really is all within ourselves and silencing that inner critic that tells us we are doing it all wrong.
Chrissie xx


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