Shhhh….I have a secret to tell you.
There has never been, in the history of the world, a perfect mom.
And you, despite all your best efforts, are not going to be the world’s first.
You do have an extremely high chance of getting on the much-coveted Rockin’ Good Mom List of Awesomeness.
And the even BETTER news is that the people who decide that list are not your neighbors, the La Leche League, the anti-co-sleepers, or anyone else that just popped up in your brain just now.
It’s not even me.
The people who end up deciding whether you are, in fact, a “good mom” are your fans sitting around the dinner table.
The “Will I be a good mom?” panic is so prevalent, I thought I’d throw out a little emotional encouragement.
Here are 101 ways to answer that question with a resounding “YOU BET MY BABY’S CUTE TUSHIE I’M A ROCKIN’ GOOD MOM!”
Mothering is a tough job, friend. Use this list as armor to bolster your efforts and encourage your soul. After all, reading how to become a good mom is darn good evidence that you already are one.
- Give birth: with drugs or without, your baby honestly doesn’t care.
- Adopt a baby someone else gave birth to.
- Hug your baby every day with plenty of smiles and cootchy cootchy coos.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Formula feed your baby. (It’s the feeding that matters.)
- Share the love – encourage Daddy bonding time.
- Learn how to take stunning pictures with your phone camera.
- Don’t compare your baby to others…
- …but do know the baby milestones. Not only are they fun to watch happen, you’ll catch any early developmental warning signs to ask your doctor about.
- When you start to smell something funky in that diaper, check early: before it’s on the carpet, on the walls, in his hair, and (God forbid) outlining his mouth.
- Learn your baby’s cues: when she needs comfort, when she needs food, when she needs sleep, and when she’s just really REALLY pissed off.
- Give your baby what he needs.
- …but don’t always give your baby what he wants. (Just because kids want to eat candy all day, doesn’t mean they should. That’s why they have PARENTS.)
- Know when you need to give yourself a “Time Out”.
- A good mom praises the little accomplishments in big ways.
- Realize and own your mistakes to yourself, your kids, and to your husband. (Really, it’s so freeing to know everyone’s on the same page of imperfections…)
- Babyproof the house before he starts moving around to destroy it. (Hint: There’s a free babyproofing ebook for those who leave their first approved comment! *wink*)
- Learn how to keep a clean house. And by “clean” I mean no poop smeared on the floor. Bare. Minimum.
- Learn how to let your house be dirty. Balance friend! A layer of dust and a few dirty dishes aren’t are a small price to pay for a happy healthy baby.
- Give yourself something special at the end of the day as a “Woohoo! I made it!” bonus. (Mine is decaf and a book.)
- Don’t pull a Farrah Abraham. Please. Your baby does not exist for your own personal self glorification. A good mom isn’t self-obsessed.
- Respond to boo-boos with compassionate kisses.
- Respond to boo-boos with “Good fall!” *clapclap* “You’re okay!” (Toddlers copy your cues. If you expect them to cry, they won’t disappoint.)
- Listen and interact when your children talk to you. When your baby talks, talk back like you’re listening with “Really? Then what happened?” or “Tell me all about it!” You’ll be amazed at how she keeps up the conversation!
- Teach your baby your home’s “no touch” boundaries.
- Don’t feel guilty when you stop breastfeeding. Everyone stops eventually. EVERYONE.
- Ask questions when you don’t know something. (Like how to get green baby poo out of a white shirt, or the best way to get a My Little Pony out of a toilet pipe, etc.)
- Learn to laugh about the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Days.
- Be patient with bonding. It will come eventually. Even if you’re just “going through the motions” now.
- Graciously hear the opinions and suggestions of others, and then filter it through how your family functions, disregarding what doesn’t fit.
- Embrace your children’s struggles, coming alongside to encourage them to overcome.
- Practice patience, deep breathing, and screaming into a pillow.
- Learn different ways to manage your baby’s teething pain to help everyone sleep again.
- Create a safe “exploration cabinet” that will let him stay safely busy in the kitchen while you’re cooking.
- Remind your baby as he grows what a unique creation he is! How you think he is AMAZING (even more amazing than Spiderman!)
- Use “please” and “thank you” when you are talking to your kids. It shows respect for them, and they quickly learn to copy it when speaking to others (making YOU look like a parenting rockstar!).
- Find what you enjoy doing with your kids (crafts, drawing, walks, games, reading) and then do it. Then refuse to feel guilty about what other moms do with their kids.
- Make an effort to get together with a few girlfriends at least once a month to have dinner, enjoy a chick flick, or just have coffee. (Don’t know many other moms? Invite a few and start something!)
- Give yourself Confidence Credit – no one, NO ONE, knows this baby as well as you do!
- When you feel like you’re head is going to explode with all the whining, fussing, and crying…put in good corded ear plugs and fall back into calmness.
- You’re not in high school. Don’t dress like it.
- You’re not living in 1992. It’s time to ditch the mom jeans.
- A good mom gives herself a quiet afternoon break, even if the baby stops napping in the afternoon. *sob!* Teach him to have a quiet time reading boardbooks or playing with safe toys in his crib.
- Make (and keep) your well-baby doctor appointments.
- If your doctor is blowing you off, or making you feel like an idiot and annoyance, DITCH HIM. Find a pediatrician who will work with you in keeping your baby healthy.
- Make up games (I Spy, Thinking of an Animal…) or bring distractions (a half-filled water bottle works great) to keep your baby occupied while waiting in public.
- Stay at home with your baby full time.
- Work outside the home and help support your family.
- Don’t beat yourself up if your kids watch TV once in a while. You can reign it back in if it rolls out of control.
- Care more about the opinions of your husband and children than those of Bossypants Moms who only really care about making you feel inferior and making themselves look like The Original Good Mom. (Besides, those are usually the types of moms whose kids end up lounging on the therapist’s couch, working through “mommy issues”.)
- Create a nursery nest for you to escape and cuddle, rock, sing and bond with your baby. (Even if it’s just a quiet chair in a corner somewhere.)
- Feed your baby organic foods that you’ve lovingly prepared at home.
- Feed your baby jarred foods that you successfully remembered to purchase.
- Don’t have a violent temper. It’s infectious.
- Set healthy boundaries with difficult grandparents.
- Don’t take advantage of happily serving grandparents. A good mom stays the parent and doesn’t pass it on to others.
- If your baby has a medical condition that is not improving, seek a second opinion. The more consensus you get, the more confident you can be in the treatment options.
- Don’t be so overprotective others can’t hold/touch/smile/enjoy/look at your infant without invoking your snarl.
- Lay any “party animal” days behind you. It’s time to move into a newer, more responsible, season of life.
- Be consistent. If you’re teaching something, follow through with your lessons over and over and over again.
- Don’t overspend to impress someone else. Your value as a mother doesn’t rest in how expensive your stroller was.
- Create gentle tickling games.
- Know thyself: Need your personal space? You can hold your baby sporadically throughout the day. Don’t feel pushed to WEAR your baby all day. (Unless, of course, your baby needs you to sling her all day.)
- If you have to offer verbal correction to a fussing toddler, do it in a soft whisper, at eye level. It’s scarier.
- Pray for your child. (And yourself…)
- Find little moments every day to cherish.
- Nurture that little heart with songs, even if you’re humming tone deaf.
- Learn the signs of a post partum mental illness, and then unabashedly seek help for it. (PPD can show up at any time, even past the first birthday!)
- Surprise your kids with things that will delight and astonish them – like flowers or big trucks.
- Don’t be overly materialistic. None of this stuff lasts anyway.
- Sleep as much as you can, in the cracks of life. It will rejuvenate you and give you patience and endurance. (My husband has converted me to the wonders of the 10-minute Power Nap…)
- Learn the difference between self-renewal and self-indulgence. The first empowers you to push through for your kids, the second empowers you to forget them.
- Encourage your baby to master a task, like rolling over or reaching a toy, without doing it for him.
- Read books to your baby.
- Regardless of whether you’re working outside the home, learn to manage the home. The more peaceful the home, the more peaceful the family.
- Laugh a lot. It’s infectious.
- Give yourself grace. In everything.
- Give others grace. In everything.
- Diaper your baby. Cloth or disposable…choose what fits your family’s needs best.
- Spend and save your money wisely. Make the tough budget choices now to live more comfortably later.
- Don’t judge your current baby on the milestones of older children. Every child is unique. Every. Child.
- Know thyself: Deep sleeper? Don’t co-sleep, or use a special bed to co-sleep safely.
- Tell your baby “I love you so much!” every single day.
- Keep your baby clean. For newborns, that may mean bathing every-other day (depending on spitting and pooping habits). For older babies who are active explorers, it may be daily.
- Date your husband every month. A strong marriage builds a strong family.
- Allow yourself to be an occasional hermit, focusing on the needs of your newborn and family rather than the requests of your social circle.
- If hospitality is your thing, throw a doozy of a First Birthday Party. If not, a little family celebration and an early nap works just as well. Don’t let Pinterest dictate your family traditions.
- Stay informed about recent baby product recalls.
- Find how to balance your baby’s needs with the needs of the rest of the family: your other children’s needs, your husband’s needs, YOUR needs.
- Let your kids make a mess as they explore (rip up old magazines, etc.) Just teach them to clean them up when finished.
- Don’t do illegal drugs.
- Be willing to make funny faces, let soft blocks hit your head, and repeatedly do other stupid stunts just to earn a giggle.
- Protect your kids in public, Mama Bear!
- Remember that babyhood is a season of life. It’s intense, yes. But it’s just a season. It will pass sooner than you think possible.
- Respect your baby as a person. She will have preferences. Some you can cater to, some she will need to learn to submit. But she has the right to have opinions.
- Do not use Lucille Bluthe as a good mom role model.
- Keep a journal and write down little memories as they happen. (A lot easier than feeling guilty about an empty baby scrapbook…)
- Accept that in some ways you will become your mother. A good mom picks out out the good parts and actively fight against the bad. (Have grace for your mom. Remember, mothering perfection is impossible.)
- Keep a sharp eye on your little crawler. Expect to fish out all kinds of dirt, sand, bugs, dog food, etc. from between his slobbering lips.
- Be kind to others. It’s infectious.
- Kiss those chubby little cheeks. Like, as in now…right now…go slobber some good mom love on that cute face…
Of course, there’s one final test to determine whether you really are, in fact, a good mom.
Do you own…
What do you think makes a good mother?