Mums – let’s celebrate what we do well!

So often I feel as though I’m failing as a mother. I find myself obsessing over a long list of indictments, like I don’t spend enough time with my children. They never have matching socks. I didn’t breastfeed long enough. I went back to full-time work too soon. They have too many breakfast dinners.

And at the heart of it, what I’m really worried about is this often all-consuming question:

Am I a good mother?

I know a lot of you mothers out there can relate – we seem to pour over the smallest and most insignificant things, recriminating ourselves for the most minor infractions – and the bigger ones we just never let go of.

Well. I am just totally over mother-guilt. I have decided that when I ask myself that question when things have gone wrong, I am going to answer it with: YES. I am a good mother. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Yet I am a good mother.

So in that spirit  I thought I’d share a list of things I am proud of doing, that I think make me a good Mum. Hopefully there are lots more things than what I’ve listed, but these are the things I am particularly proud of. I hope it encourages all of you out there with kids to do just the same.

I know my children

This is easier with some than with others. I like to joke that Bookworm is indeed the proverbial open book while Picasso is a coded message and Little Miss is an overhead projector. There’s usually no problem knowing exactly how Bookworm and Little Miss think and feel – in fact it’s impossible not to know – but it is harder with Picasso. I need to – and do – try very hard to know what’s going on with him. And I think I do. I know what they like and don’t like, what makes them scared and happy, their hopes and fears, what makes them laugh and what makes them sad. I know their little hearts, how they think, their strengths and their weaknesses.

I make space for creativity

I can’t count the amount of times I let them take out the pots and pans and play music shops even though it did my head in. Or use the garlic press for playdoh and then had to buy another one. Or let them empty all the cupboards so they could climb inside and play cubby house. I have cupboards full of craft and paints and bits of cut-up paper and even though it makes a huge mess I always try and say yes when they ask to drag it all out. The downside of this is that my house is pretty messy, and I try not to care.

I try to parent thoughtfully

Now I’ve said “try”, because of course I don’t do this all the time.  But generally if things aren’t working, or there’s a pattern of behaviour I don’t like, or I’m yelling too much, I try to think about what’s not working, and then try something else. When making  decisions – like when or how we’re going to school, where we’re going on holidays or how we’re going to make a pocket money system, I do try and think about what larger goal we’re trying to achieve. That we’re bringing up little people who will one day be big people – and I want those people to be compassionate, thoughtful and living lives of integrity and fulfillment.

I actively foster a sense of “belonging”

We belong. It’s as simple as that. A couple of weeks ago Bookworm came home pretty upset because he’d had a fight with some friends that hadn’t ended well. We talked it through and hugged and prayed and then we all had a fun night together, which I think gave him the strength to face the next day (and sort it all out, which, luckily, usually happens).  I always want home to be a secure place, a safe and welcoming haven where it doesn’t matter what’s happened to you in the big, bad world, you can come home to people who love you unconditionally.

We are explicit about our values

We have family values we try and live by, and I like this about us. They are all about loving and respecting each other, trying our best, valuing our faith and living a purposeful life.

I would love to hear what you are proud of as Mums – I know all of your lists will be different, and that’s just the way it should be. Let’s celebrate us!

6 thoughts on “Mums – let’s celebrate what we do well!

  1. Asta

    Hmmm what am I proud of – I absolutely love my family unconditionally, I have no expectations other than that my family live passionately – doing what they are wired to do and that they are kind and respectful, I celebrate what makes each kid unique and parent accordingly, I am available, I encourage space and stillness, we don’t keep up with the Jones and we don’t want to, we are open minded, we wear ‘vintage’ clothing, we had no present Christmas, we care about the other – people, animals, the environment etc, we have messy bedrooms and that is okay! We eat together every night around our 50s kitchen table with our dog begging for scraps, we laugh about farts, and dribbling when we brush our teeth… I’m proud WE are what makes our house a home!!!
    It’s interesting that I started with ‘I’ half way through it became we. Love my family. Asta x

  2. Bloss

    Great post Em! People can be so keen to compare parenting just to tear others down that it’s nice to celebrate our strengths!

    So what do I do well? A few things I think!

    I try to listen well. With the amount of talking around here that is sometimes tricky. But I do make every effort to listen well.

    I am good at validating feelings. Even when the conversation ends with something like “I do understand that you are cranky at me and that you think I am unfair, but you are not allowed to speak like that and the consequence of your choice is….”, I choose to attempt to acknowledge and label feelings as I think it teaches lots of things and can take the heat out of a situation.

    Jon and I am GREAT (if I do say so myself) at creating fun family memories and traditions. We are creating a family brand “Team Wright”. We love it.

    We are good at encouraging the values we seek to instill in our kids…kindness, respect, loving and serving others as God has loved us.

    We are also great at rumbling.

    There are also plenty of things we are working hard to improve on and things we are really not great at. But that’s a whole other post!

    1. souljourneygirl

      I can personally attest to how great you are at the family tradition thing, you have many itmes inspired me with your deciation to create great memories. And yes there are always things we could work on but they are NOT for dwelling on! Not today anyway. You are a great Mum!

  3. Peta

    Wow… Love it Em. Some things I could end with a big HOORAH, others things I was really challenged by. In the spirit of things though lets see; I am a good Mum and here’s some reasons why

    In our home we work hard to laugh not only at things or at each other but also at ourselves. In our house no-one drives off without getting the ‘crazy dance’ (us jumping around like a bunch of crazy folk on the front lawn). We do physical displays of love well, sometimes maybe to well (it’s okay to bite your baby on the bum right?!). I have embraced, via my 3 year old first born, pink/dresses/ribbons/frills in a way that I never thought that I would. I have also recently discovered that I really am okay with the kids wearing self styled outfits. We value spending time lying on the lawn in the sun and when one of the girls hurts themselves they truly believe that Mum and Dad can make it better.

    So I guess that’s a few things that I am proud of. Thanks so much for generating these thoughts through your blog Em. Great stuff!

    1. souljourneygirl

      Peta – I love it! You are indeed a great Mum! And I just love how we are all proud of different things, it’s what makes our families unique and just wonderful. And you will have to show me this crazy dance you speak of 🙂

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