I don’t claim to be an expert, but I feel I could write so many anecdotes about motherhood. Also, I should note that I refuse to let my few years of experience limit my personal experiences and thoughts in general.
I was always excited for the possibility of being a mom one day, but I didn’t at all expect the winding journey on my path to have children. Naivety, I suppose, is what I’d chalk it up to. I’ll share more about all of that later.
Anyway, I heard an audio file the other day though referring to the concept of being a “good mom.” It mentioned the worrying that moms can do, and I immediately perked up my ears because “worry” is my middle name. (I’m joking, but it really could be.)
All I do is worry about what my kids need, if I’m doing things “right,” and if I’m being a “good mom” to them.
It’s so easy to say and believe that you’re anything but a “good mom.” Think about all the pressure society puts on moms – heck, parents in general. Think about all the pressure we put on ourselves. It’s intense. And, I’m just as guilty.
At the end of the day though, I’m just doing my best. I can read all the parenting books on the shelf, and I can get insights from outside sources, but what I’m learning is that: I am their mother. I know my children the best. I am in control of their environment. I am the only one in control of my behavior and reactions. And most importantly, I love them so, so, so very much.
I think it’s okay to worry. I recognize that I’m not a perfect person, nor a perfect mother. I worry all the time about how I parent. I want my children to know that I am a person with feelings and that I’m trying my best, but that I recognize they, too, are a person with feelings, and they are also trying their best. I want my children to know that I respect them as a person. I want them to know that I love them, and that we are on this journey of parenting and childhood together.
I try very hard to instill that for both parent and child: When we make mistakes, and we will, we apologize. When we don’t understand something, we ask for clarity. When we feel frustrated, we acknowledge it, and take deep breaths before we begin to process it. When we are happy, we will laugh and enjoy each others’ company. When we feel sad, we will be there to dry our tears, and offer support. When we need to be heard, we will speak up and then listen intently in reciprocity. When we have big feelings, we will validate them and to talk them out. When we are disappointed about a decision, we are allowed to feel disappointed. When we feel unsure, we are allowed to worry.
Worrying about being a “good mom” is completely normal. At the end of the day, I’ve realized my worry is not about what people think of me as a mother, but it’s my worry of if I’m setting my children up for success in the future. For them to have basic needs. For them to feel healthy. For them to be able to react to a world of uncertainty, one that’s filled with unpredictability. For them to feel encouraged to chase their dreams. For them to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes. For them to navigate relationships with others. For them to be able to have the tools to cope with tough situations, and have the tenacity to push forward. For them to be kind human beings, who are accepting of the immense diversity of people and cultures. For them to feel whole and feel loved.
I will always worry. That remains unchanged, no matter the circumstances. And I choose to affirm: I am a good mom.