The art of being a good mum: 17 traits that show you’re really good at parenting

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

As a mother myself, I want to preface this by saying there is no blueprint to being a good mum – or a parent, for that matter. 

Good parenting is relative. 

And as far as I’m concerned, as long as our kids are happy, thriving and healthy, we are doing great jobs as their mums.

Nonetheless, we can’t deny that there are certain characteristics common to “good” mothers/parents.

Excuse the quotation marks. Like I said, I don’t like putting parameters on parenting, nor do I like critiquing other mums.

But for the purposes of this list, let’s just agree for a moment that good means “trying our very best for our kids.”

Now that we’ve clarified all that, let’s dive into 17 traits that show you’re really good at parenting:

1) Patient

There’s no better way to practice the art of patience than being a mother. 

I dare you to prove me wrong.

It starts the moment they’re conceived – 9 whole months of waiting! If that’s not patience, then what is?

After their birth comes toddlerhood, a phase where your patience gets a stretching exercise. 

But if you think that’s the end of it, you’re in for a treat.  

Wait till you get to the teenage years. And I could almost hear my elderly father say, “Wait til they become full-grown adults”. 

My point is, it’s impossible to be a good mother without patience. 

In the world of parenting, patience is not a virtue – it’s a necessity. 

2) Affectionate

Research shows that kids who receive motherly affection tend to be better prepared to face life’s stressors as adults.

We all have different love languages, so whatever affection may look like for your family, as long as your kids know and feel that you love them, you’re doing a great job as their mum!

3) Adaptable

Our kids’ needs change constantly. There’s always something at home that needs fixing (not to mention cleaning). 

No two days are the same in the life of a mum.

And this is why being quick and ready to adapt is undoubtedly a characteristic of a good mother.

It’s how our kids learn how to gracefully roll with life’s punches.

4) Consistent

The reality of the adult world is that promises are meant to be broken and rules are sometimes bent.

But that’s not what we want to teach our kids. That’s something they learn themselves later in their adult life.

So don’t say no sweets after dinner, but then have chocolate with your late-night tea. If you must, at least wait until they’re all asleep. 

Seriously though, keeping our word and being consistent teaches our children discipline and stability. 

And more importantly, trust.

5) Reliable

If consistency is about being predictable with our actions, reliability is letting our kids know that their mums will be there for them whenever, wherever.

It’s about giving them the reassurance that no matter what it is, they can always rely on us to have their back. 

You know you’re winning as a mum when your kids run to you for comfort, guidance, and support.

6) Available

Sometimes, emotional support isn’t enough.

Physically being available matters to our children, too. 

And believe me when I say, a parent’s absence takes a toll on a child’s emotional health.

I know this for a fact, having grown up with a mum who was financially there, but was physically and emotionally absent. 

You don’t have to attend all PTA meetings, but make it a point to be present during their talent shows.

Walk them to school every once in a while. Have meaningful conversations at home with them.

Mind you, availability also takes on a whole new meaning in today’s digital era. 

To become really available in this modern world means to truly engage with your child – phone down, with your undivided attention directed to them.

Only when we’re truly available do our children feel that they are valued, heard, and most of all, loved.

7) Open

Part of being a good mother is being open to accepting that a lot has changed since our childhood days. 

This means we have to be open not only to new technology or fashion trends but also open-minded when it comes to ideas, cultures and lifestyle choices different from our own.

Openness teaches our kids the value of celebrating diversity without judgment.

8) Imperfect

We should also be open to our kids about our imperfections. 

It’s the best way for them to learn that no one is perfect. 

Plus, it helps them set more realistic goals for themselves.

There’s also great value in teaching them that it’s okay to make mistakes.

I remember a time I was so stressed from work that I unintentionally took this out on my 6-year-old. She asked a simple question, and I snapped back at her. The confusion and hurt on her precious face said it all.

I immediately apologized for my behavior and explained that it wasn’t her fault, and instead that “mama was very wrong for reacting that way”.

When we own up to our mistakes, we’re sending our kids the message that it’s okay to mess up and it’s even better to take accountability for it. 

9) Confident

We sure have flaws, but that shouldn’t stop us from being confident in our skin. 

And that’s something good mums teach their kids from the get go.

Confident kids are more likely to grow up unafraid to make new friends, try new activities, and explore the world around them.

But the best part is this:

They grow up believing in themselves.

10) Humility

Motherhood is a balancing act and that includes tipping the scale so that our kids’ confidence is complemented with a dose of humility.

A good indicator of your awesome parenting is when you raise kids who are confident enough to play to their strengths yet humble enough to know their limitations.

In short, the job is to have self-assured and grounded little humans.

11) Forgiving

A good mother will teach her children the importance of forgiving oneself and others

Forgiving is not easy. 

And if we’re being honest, it’s us adults who find it the most challenging.

But if you constantly display a forgiving attitude, you’re doing a good job at instilling this valuable trait into your young ones’ minds.

12) Optimistic

One of our superpowers as mothers is our ability to see the beauty in everything.

After all, we’re the ones who reframed stretch marks into “tiger stripes”. We managed to turn what was then seen as a flaw into a beautiful symbol of strength and resilience. 

When our kids learn to focus on the brighter side of things, they grow up to be hopeful individuals with positive coping mechanisms. 

13) Resilient

As much as we want them to maintain a positive outlook, we’re also realistic and want them to learn to bounce back from the inevitable failures in life. 

Mothers know better than anyone else that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. 

And that’s why we also know best how to turn the lemons life throws at us into the tastiest lemonades!

14) Problem solver

Part of bouncing back from life’s pitfalls is facing the problem. 

And that’s another thing us mums are experts at – problem solving.

You’re nailing motherhood when your kids know to focus on finding a solution, instead of fixating on the problem.

15) Disciplined

A good mum knows that discipline isn’t about instilling fear in her children.

It’s about teaching her kids the reasons behind rules and why there are consequences to their actions.

Kids know true discipline when they respect authority because of trust and understanding, and not out of blind obedience.

16) Empathy

One of our tasks as mothers is to teach our children to read – and that includes the skill of reading the room.

When we try to understand our kids’ feelings and perspectives by putting ourselves in their shoes, we are showing them what it looks like to understand and care for others.

17) Assertiveness 

If our empathy teaches our kids compassion, our assertiveness will teach them the value of self-control and self-respect. 

When we establish clear boundaries for our kids, we’re making sure they learn how to set their own boundaries, too. 

This helps them understand their limits and the limits of others. 

And once they do, they learn to appreciate the importance of personal space and the value of respect – for others and themselves. 

The perfect mother doesn’t exist

A perfect parent is a thing of fiction. 

None of us are and will ever be perfect mothers.

But I can confidently say that a lot of us are good mums. 

Being a good mother isn’t defined by how many dishes you can whip up for dinner, or how many digits you have in your savings account. 

It’s surely not defined by how dolled up or dishevelled we look during school drop off and pick ups. 

And by no means should anyone judge our motherhood by looking at what’s inside our kids’ lunchboxes.

There’s more to being a good mum that meets the eye.

It takes a whole lotta love, a dash of magic, and the right mix of innate and developed characteristics.

In the words of Jill Churchill, “There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.”

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

7 simple phrases that instantly make you sound assertive (but not bossy)

People who age gracefully usually display these 9 behaviors (without realizing it)