This is the question I have been asking myself a lot lately. Am I a good mom? Maybe it’s because my toddler has been particularly difficult as of late. Perhaps It could be that I have been trying to do 20 things at once, or possibly that it is uncharacteristically hot and humid here in San Diego and I feel like I’m melting. I can’t pinpoint it, but I feel guilt gnawing at me.
To answer this very personal question I must ask, “What is a good mom?” If I took an inventory of all the parenting magazines and baby center blogs; I would most likely conclude that a good mother has a set parenting philosophy and has read numerous books on it. She uses cloth diapers and all nature ingredients to make sure her baby is “green”, and is constantly introducing her child to age appropriate Pinterest worthy activities.
With a year and a half of parenting under my belt, I have learned I am not that woman. Sure I have a Pinterest board for my son and all the fun, educational things I want to do with him. Do I get around to them all? No. I’ve since learned that my expectations of what make a good mother are not always accurate.
According to Dr. Sarah Klangsburn, a psychiatrist who specializes in parenting issues, ” parenting rule #1 is to remember that all children express their thoughts, feelings and needs through their behavior. You can’t look at behavior in a vacuum; you’ve got to figure out what’s fueling it. Only then can you understand your child’s point of view and shape the behavior the way you want for the the future.”
Dr. Klangsburn’s observations make a lot of sense to me. I believe all our behaviors serve a function. Could it be that a good mom is one that is a detective of her child’s behavior? As a detective, she is continually learning who her child is throughout his or her life. Learning what makes them tic, their thought process and ultimately who they are. This is one of the best ways to show your child that you care for them, respect them and understand them.
Flashback to grad school, I remember hearing that what adolescents value most in their parents is to be understood. I think this nugget of info can expand to all life phases. My toddler throws tantrums left and right due to his lack of language and intense desire to be understood. As an adult, I feel the same way, I desire for others to know me and understand me and I feel icky if they don’t.
There are many qualities and characteristics that make up the fabric of a good mom and I want to explore more of them with you. So far, I have replaced some of my more superficial ideas with this general concept; that if I do my best to understand my child I just might be on track to being a “good mom”.
What do you think makes a good mom?