If you recognize these 12 signs, you’re a better mother than you realize

Motherhood is the ultimate thrill ride, chock-full of hair-raising twists and heartwarming turns. It’s exhilarating and exciting even when you get puked on.

Along with the inherent chaos and confusion of parenting is the fact that we’re flying blind. We can never really know for sure what kind of job we’re doing. 

There’s no grading system, no awards ceremonies, not even a lousy instruction manual to let us know if we’re excelling as moms or have strayed off the path. 

Since all parent-children relationships are unique, all we can do is the best we can with what we have, and hope our efforts and good intentions reap the desired results.

Even still, how many times a day do you question whether you’re a “good enough” mom? Lots, right?

Insecurity just comes along with the territory. Here are a few other factors that denote the actions of a good mom.

1) You stew over whether you’re a good mom

Just the fact that youre even concerned about whether you’re a good mom or not immediately puts you into the category of ‘good mom’.

I know I spend far more time looking for the things I’m getting wrong than acknowledging the things I manage to get right. And I know I’m not alone. 

If you’re already wringing your hands over whether you’re a good mom or not, that’s your first clue that yes, you are. Worrying shows that you actually care, and you can bet that concern translates over to the kids, as well.

2) Setting boundaries, saying no

Establishing and constantly reaffirming clear boundaries is important, but we all know our kids will resist from time to time. 

This eventuality can create tension, then arguments, and finally defiance which may make you wonder if you’ve got this mom thing right. 

It probably feels like all you ever do is say no, to the point that you sound like a broken record. Maybe you’re too hard on them? Or not hard enough? 

Sometimes it’s really hard, especially when your kids are relentless and you’re annoyed.  But setting boundaries is a big part of being a good mom. Kids crave boundaries and respond well to them, even if they behave otherwise at times.

Saying no and setting limits are part and parcel of being an effective, loving parent. Knowing there will be consequences contributes to your child’s emotional health and behavioral growth.

Part of your job as a parent is raising your kids to be functioning members of society, and there are boundaries out there, too.

So by saying no, you’re preparing them for life’s sometimes unpleasant realities, including that bit about not always getting their own way.

3) You put your family first

Good moms have good priorities, and their children always come before anything else. For example, if your mother-in-law stops by to see your sleeping baby, you’ll tell her it’s not a good time.

She’ll tell you waking the baby up won’t hurt just this once.

You tell her very nicely that’s your call and suggest she gives you a ring before just popping by next time to avoid disappointment. 

We know it’s important to say no to our kids, and why, but it’s also important to say no to others as well. Saying no to other people usually means you’re saying yes to your family.

That some peak parenting right there. 

4) Mama self-care

If you’re going to take good care of your kiddos, start with yourself first. If you’re a malnourished, exhausted mess, how can you expect to excel at anything, including parenting? 

Getting enough rest is crucial for your own well-being which amplifies your ability to be a great parent. Research suggests that moms who prioritize rest have more energy and are better at emotional regulation, which can positively impact their parenting skills.

So take the nap, go for a walk, or catch a movie with a friend. You’ve earned it, and in the end, it benefits your littles (or no-so-littles) as well. 

5) You instill a sense of responsibility

Research shows that kids who are encouraged to take on responsibilities at a young age usually grow up having better organizational and time management skills than their peers.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, kids who are expected to do chores tend to deal with frustration better as well.   

And no, It’s not easy being the big meanie who doles the tasks out, but remember you’re being a good mom even when your kid is whining and rolling their eyes at you.

6) Mom makes mistakes, too

One of the best ways to establish trust with your kids is owning your mistakes and apologizing when warranted.

Creating an environment where your kids see firsthand that everyone makes mistakes and that perfectly fine is one of the greatest gifts a mom can bestow on her children.

7) Bless this mess

I had three kids in under four years, and when my mother would stop by she couldn’t resist asking if I ever planned on picking up and putting away their toys.

“Of course,” I told her. “As soon as they move out.”

Probably not what she wanted to hear, but at least it was honest. I simply didn’t see the point with two preschoolers and a toddler. 

Raising kids isn’t for the fussy and faint-of-heart— it’s messy, dirty, and sometimes downright gross. I used to remind myself this wasn’t forever and it would be over in the blink of an eye, and I was right.

And it’s actually better for your kids if you chill out and embrace the mess. Experts say that kids who are free to express their inner slob are more creative, and that’s never a bad thing. 

But I seriously have to wonder if there’s a correlation between stuffing wrappers in the couch cushions sparking creative genius

8) You’re a problem solver 

Mom’s have no set playbook to follow so being able to think on your toes becomes second nature after a while.  

The first time your sweet angel baby poops liquid up to their neck while you’re at the beach will be your baptism by fire. Well, it was mine anyway, and I came out of the experience as a different person.

I’m not sure if what I’m feeling right now is nostalgia or PTSD.  

9) The ‘Why?’ Whisperer

Answering your kid’s endless “why” questions with patience and care qualifies you for sainthood in my book, never mind the Mom Hall of Fame.  

Why? Because hearing “why?” on repeat all day can get annoying as all get-out, that’s why. But it helps to instill a thirst for knowledge and stimulates your kid’s imagination.

So keep that smile plastered on and keep enjoying your tenure as a walking, talking, encyclopedia. You’re doing great. 

And it goes by in a flash, trust me.

10) You encourage independence

One of the best gifts good moms give their kids is the chance to spread their wings. When you let your kid try new stuff and make mistakes, you are helping them grow self-confidence and improve their decision making skills.

It can be really hard to let our kids go out and explore the world when we know they’re going to face challenges along the way and we won’t be there to run interference.

This means you’re a good mom capable of looking at the big picture and what will eventually prove best for your child.

You’re doing a great job, even if you’re watching your kid from afar through your fingers.  

11) You practice active listening

Active listening involves using more than your ears. It means that while you’re listening to their words you’re watching your kid’s non-verbal cues to add another layer of understanding.

This is a strong sign that you’re a great mom. Active listening, no matter what the topic of conversation, strengthens the bond with your kids and builds connection and trust.

12) You create beautiful memories for your kids

Creating precious memories with my kids is still my favorite part of motherhood. And no, I’m not talking about trips to Disney World or other extravagant trips, either.

Because the best memories are born within the steady rhythm of our normal life.

I love Christmas. I’ve loved it since my own magical holidays as a kid. I was determined my children would grow up with those same kinds of warm and fuzzy holiday memories, and they did. 

To this day, it looks like an elf threw up in my house from mid-November until at least February. My kids are grown, but they still talk about making decorations and cookies and how beautiful the house looked to them as small children,

It’s one of my proudest mom moments. And it didn’t cost hardly anything, all we needed was some free time and each other. And no matter how busy I was, I found the time.

Activities like family walks, movie nights, and just hanging out and laughing are tomorrow’s fondest memories. 

Since you’re present, engaged, and consciously making memory fodder for your kids every chance you get, you know you’re killing it as a mom.   

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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