"what does it mean to you to be a good mother?"
The answer usually involves tears and the basic list. Keeping the children alive, keeping them fed, keeping them somewhat clean, following general standards of not disrupting everyone around them (which is a whole other issue) - and keeping them happy. This one always throws me - how can you, as a mother, expect to be in control of the happiness of your child?
Can someone make you happy? Not can somewhat make you laugh or can someone brighten your day by making a good meal or buying you flowers - but really - can someone be solely responsible for your happiness?? My guess is you would answer no. You are in charge of your own happiness. You are in charge of waking up in the morning and rolling out of bed and choosing to do something that day that will brighten your own day. You are in charge of getting the help you need if you suffer with depression or anxiety. You are in charge of taking your medication on a daily basis. You are in charge of getting out the door for the run or making time for yourself to sit on the couch and distress after a long day. You are in charge of setting certain chores aside and making time for yourself. You are in charge of figuring out what YOU need to be happy.
"what does it mean to be a good mother?"
We rationally know that another person cannot make us happy - so what can we do to HELP (keyword) our children learn how to make themselves happy?
We can teach them how to fall asleep on their own. We can teach them how to feed themselves. We can teach them that it is OK - and normal - to make mistakes. We can teach them what it means to feel safe and where they are safe. We can teach them to honor themselves. We can teach them not to fall into stereotypes and that is perfectly OK to cry. We can teach them how to express their feelings and emotions. We can teach them how to ask for help. We can teach them how to be an individual. We NEED to teach them how to accept themselves - FLAWS and ALL.
So, what does it mean to me to be a good mother? It means I will provide my child with the daily necessities. It means I will love her - even when she wants to wear the pink princess dress and mom really wants her to rock the batman costume. It means I will show her safety and help her to feel safe in new situations. It means I will show her how to express her own emotions and communicate. It means I will show her my flaws – I will get angry and frustrated and cry and ALWAYS say I am sorry. I will try harder to model good behavior. It means I will accept myself, flaws and all. And I will hope that she will accept and love herself, flaws and all. It means I will teach her how to make herself happy – or even better, content. And if she struggles with this, it means that I will continue to be there for her and love her – flaws and all.
Let's lower our unrealistic expectations mommas. Let's enjoy our kids. Let's love them. (And then let's ask for help when we are frustrated with this whole motherhood thing)
Take care of yourself and each other.