Parenthood is the hardest job on planet Earth.
And not everyone’s cut out for it. Some women don’t feel the desire to become mothers, and that is a completely valid and reasonable choice.
While highly fulfilling, motherhood is also difficult and taxing. Incredibly so. It makes sense that not all women want to take on that task.
If you’re trying to figure out what makes a good mother, though, you’ve come to the right place. Mind you, this isn’t a place of judgment. Motherhood is a very complex and nuanced topic.
What this article offers, however, is a set of personality traits that predispose someone to become a potentially good parent.
Here are the 7 signs a woman will be a good mother.
1) She’s highly empathetic
Children require a great deal of energy, from housing to food and affection. However, one thing that many parents don’t pay enough attention to is…
When a child is upset about something, the last thing they need is to be told, “Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
(Tried and tested. I hated hearing that phrase growing up.)
A cold, inconsistent, or distanced mother can raise kids that grow up to have many different issues permeating their daily lives, from insecure attachment styles to anxiety or abandonment fears.
And it takes an insane amount of work to overcome those issues, forgive one’s parents, and undo the damage.
Therefore, empathy is a vital skill when it comes to parenting.
An empathetic mother places herself in her child’s shoes, reads up on all the different developmental stages her child is going through in order to understand them better, and becomes a safe sanctuary her child can turn to when needed.
2) She keeps an open mind
Many parents have expectations of their children – often unreasonably high ones.
They imagine their children will become doctors, lawyers, or successful entrepreneurs who take over the family business. They have requirements upon requirements, and every time their child isn’t up to the task, disappointment washes over them in waves.
But while your children are yours to look after, they aren’t yours to shape to your own image.
Thus the great truth about parenthood: a child is a responsibility you choose to take on and eventually let go of, not a human through whom you can fulfill your own dreams and goals.
This is why a big sign that a woman will be a good mother is that she is generally a very live-and-let-live kind of person. She keeps an open mind, understands that life is always more complex than it seems, and accepts people for who they are.
Moreover, the one thing she wishes for her child is to be happy. Not to follow in her footsteps or to meet her expectations.
3) She enjoys looking after others
Of course, it goes without saying that a good mother enjoys taking care of other people.
However, it’s important to note that many women around the world still take on way too much emotional and physical labor in the household, which then robs them of enjoyment and turns motherhood into a 24/7 duty they can’t take a break from.
What follows is self-doubt, resentment, and guilt because, well, shouldn’t they enjoy it after all?
If this sounds like you or someone you know, remember that there is a difference between looking after others in a household where you share duties and the workload feels manageable and in a household where you very much carry the whole family on your shoulders.
If you enjoy the first, it’s a sign you actually really like motherhood, which probably makes you a good mother because your enjoyment skyrockets your investment and the energy you pour into your kids’ upbringing.
If you find yourself in the latter scenario, however, your lack of enjoyment has nothing to do with your mothering skills. It just means you’re overwhelmed, tired, and in need of a break.
As the psychologist Noam Shpancer PhD says, “Parental burnout occurs when parents face parenting stressors without the resources needed to handle them. Parental burnout is associated with exhaustion, emotional distancing, and loss of fulfillment in parenting.”
4) She knows how important it is to look after herself, too
And that brings us to the next point – self-care.
As a mother, it is very easy to get so tangled up in parenting duties that you completely forget (or feel unable) to take a break and focus on yourself for a little bit.
But here’s the thing. Children don’t primarily want mothers who can keep up with every single task – they want mothers who are happy and who can give their kids their joyful and invested selves.
Being present and loving is what matters most.
The psychotherapist Illene Strauss Cohen PhD agrees: “As a mother, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care. Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being enables you to be more present and engaged with your child. Recognize that self-care is not selfish—it’s essential to being a nurturing and healthy parent.”
She also recommends that mothers let go of perfectionism and comparison because everyone has their own strengths, weaknesses, and coping mechanisms.
Mothering is tough. The most important thing is that mothers can be there for their children on an emotional level, which is why self-care should be prioritized when possible.
5) She communicates effectively
One of a parent’s many roles is that of a teacher. You are the one teaching your kids what to think about the world around them, how to express their emotions, and how to communicate.
From conflict resolution to emotional self-regulation, you have the power to make your kid’s life much easier if you put in the effort.
And it all starts with you. Children follow their parents’ example, after all, which is why it’s incredibly important that we don’t preach water and drink wine.
A sign a woman will be a good mother who knows how to communicate with her kids and teach them this vital skill is that she is already very good at communication when it comes to her romantic relationships and friendships.
How does she express her feelings when she’s upset? How does she approach conflicts? Does she operate from a problem-solving mindset? Does she display understanding and empathy while trying to reach some sort of compromise?
These are some very important questions to ask because they will reflect the person’s parenting style.
“Healthy communication is a skill you can learn and that needs to be practiced. We can’t rescue our children from every possible danger at school nor solve all the problems they face when we are not with them. However, we can let them know we are here for them through genuine empathy and role-modeling collaborative engagement.”
6) She doesn’t take herself too seriously
According to psychologists, “Parent-child play nurtures a positive bond between parents and children.”
What’s more, playing with your kid also helps them hone some important social skills and promotes healthy learning and growth.
Of course, playing with kids comes with some pretty childlike behavior – you might end up puppeteering dolls, having a Barbie tea party, building miniature trains, or reading stories and making silly faces.
In a way, having a child helps us remember what it was like to be children ourselves, bringing that spark of playfulness back alive after it has laid dormant for years.
But in order to do that, you can’t take yourself too seriously. You’ve got to be willing to get a bit wild, let go of any judgment, and let your playful side emerge.
I still remember when my Mom used to run around the apartment with me and my sister, sing us songs, and organize arts and crafts afternoons.
We loved it. And those fond memories will stay with us forever.
7) She is very resilient
Again, take this one with a grain of salt – resilience looks different to everybody.
The fact that you’re having a meltdown because you don’t have any support network to rely on and juggle too many responsibilities doesn’t mean you’re not resilient.
When it comes to motherhood, resilience means one thing only: that at the end of the day, you don’t give up.
You take a break, find alternative solutions, or power through based on your situation, but whatever it is, you do what’s best for both you and your children.
And most of all, you remain self-compassionate. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: motherhood is incredibly hard. And every mother should be proud of herself for giving her children the best she can offer.
Therefore, the last sign a woman will be a good mother is that she can give herself a break.
She doesn’t scold herself for not being perfect; she doesn’t talk about herself negatively every day; she doesn’t have a self-hate party each time something doesn’t work out.
On the contrary – the same kind of understanding and empathy that she has for others is also what she offers to her own self.
And that makes a world of difference.