When I was a little girl, I used to dream of being a good mother one day. I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I just knew that when I became a mother, I wanted to be good.
And eight years ago, I was finally given my chance. I was finally given the opportunity to show myself and the world just how good of a mother I could be. And boy was I ready to kill it.
But much to my surprise, I quickly found that everything related to motherhood was much harder than I ever knew it could be. And sadly, the only thing that was truly being killed, was my dream of getting any semblance of quality sleep. ;)
And ironically as my son grew into a toddler and developed a strong sense of self, I noticed my sense of feeling like I knew what in the world I was doing shrunk.
And while I expected to feel more experienced as I went, I almost felt like my learning curve just continued to grow. Because once I got one thing figured out– like stopping him from unbuckling his car seat while I was driving– it seemed like the next challenge would present itself–like trying to convince him to wear anything but pajamas to preschool. Good times.
Now in retrospect, those instances make me smile, but I was not smiling back then when I had 10 minutes to get out the door and had to peel pajamas off a tantrumming toddler. I thought it was stressful. And not fun. But even more than that. I felt crappy.”Because good moms don’t have children that behave like this? Right?” I would ask myself.
And after moments of struggle like these, I would find myself desperately looking for that ever elusive manual of motherhood that we mothers all need from time to time. But strangely, no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find where it was. Why haven’t all the good mothers written down all their answers for making everything go smoothly all of the time? How will I ever be able to join their club without reading it?
Well fast forward eight years later and three more boys later, I have discovered why there is no manual. And that’s because good mothers don’t have perfect children. Good mothers don’t have all the answers. And good mothers don’t have it all figured out. That’s why they haven’t taken time to write it out for you or for me. Because once a good mother has one challenge figured out, she faces another. And she starts the process of figuring it out all over again.
A good mother does not become a good mother with no pain. No, a good mother finds her goodness through the moments when she is challenged by her child or the problems of her child and has to search deep within herself to find what it takes to move forward.
A good mother does not think parenting is easy. No. A good mother finds herself thinking parenting is hard. And that is because she cares enough to question her actions. And think through what the best course of action is for each scenario she encounters. Or to sometimes not care too much because some stuff is worth letting go.
I used to think good mothers knew they were good at what they do. But the more amazing mothers I meet, the more I realize that good mothers don’t know they’re good. And more often than not, a good mother will question how she was entrusted with humans to raise. Because she will go through moments of doubt where she feels unequipped. And weak.
Do you have a mother you admire? A mother that you hold up as the end all be all in all things pertaining to the picture of perfection in motherhood?
Well let me tell you this. I guarantee that mother that you view as perfect has felt like a failure more times than she can count. And the reason you admire her? Well it’s because she cares enough to learn and move forward. To not stop growing, but to keep striving to be her best during challenges.
It’s kind of funny, but I’m no longer impressed by moms who seem to have perfect kids. Because I realize there really are no perfect kids or moms as I once thought. No. Now I’m impressed when I see how mothers handle the challenges that are thrown their way. Those moms inspire me to be a good mother.
I’m impressed when I watch a friend who is deep within a stressful situation, put her mom jeans on (they’re back in style you know) and plow through. No matter how muddy and tired she gets. She just keeps loving her kids enough to move. And grow. Because that is what a good mom is.
So today, if your tires feel stuck, I’m writing to you to say: You’re a good mother.
A really, really good one.