Summer has an uncanny way of making you face yourself. Whether it’s the heat, the late nights, or because time seems to stretch on and on, summer can be a time of reflection. Maybe you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror barely hugging your child because you’re emotionally elsewhere. Or maybe you hear yourself yelling at your child to pick up the toys. Or maybe you stop and listen to your child cry after putting her in timeout. It’s during these moments that you quietly, privately ask yourself, “Am I a good mother?”
"Am I a Bad Mom?"
For Circle of Moms member Laura Z., any number of things have her worried she's "a bad mom." But when she describes them, they're hardly rare: "I don't keep the house as clean as it should be, or my kids spend too much time playing alone or watching TV, or I don't do enough crafts or activities, or they're not spending enough time with friends or outside — or whatever!”
I think that what she really want to know is not whether she's a bad mother, but whether she's a good mother. And she's not the only one. In my work as a parenting coach, I find that most moms long to feel like good mothers.
But none of us want to look to the platitudes of others to answer that need. So how to find out?
The question is, who is the judge of whether or not you’re a good mother?
And the answer: You are!
But to get your answer, you have to go back in time. By this I mean that you have to have what can only be described as a time travel experience; a moment when, as if by magic, a series of memories floods into your awareness.
Tapping Your Memories
Allow yourself to feel like you’ve been transported back in time. All of a sudden you can remember the smells and sensations you felt back when your child was a baby. Begin by remembering every detail of feeding your baby in the middle of the night. You smell the milk on her lips as you embrace this quiet, warm bundle who has her finger wrapped around yours. You feel blessed, fulfilled and whole.
You recall wondering, Will I be a good mother?
Let your memory shift forward. Remember that your heart skipped a beat when your daughter stood up and took her first step. She waddled forward, stopped, and looked up, searching for your face. When she saw you she gave you a smile that melted your heart, and tears of joy rolled down your face.
You remember wondering, Will it always be this sweet? Will I have what it takes to get through it all?
The memory shifts again. You recall the first time you inhaled sharply and forgot to breathe. You stood frozen looking at your child on the ground after a bad fall. You remember the panic swirling around deep inside your belly. You remember wondering, Am I really equipped for this job? Then you remember how you shoved those feelings aside and went into action. You did what you had to, and triumphed.
Of course you’re a good mom! How do I know?
All moms unconsciously draw their parenting knowledge and strength from an instinctive place deep inside themselves. A place that holds all the answers you didn’t know you would need. That instinctive place holds all the knowledge about how to be a good mother. And that well of information never dries up. It’s yours to access whenever you need it. You just need to remember that it’s there.
Why We Question Ourselves as Mothers
Questioning whether or not you are a good mom is part of the job description. It’s what motivates us moms to do our best and to handle things even when we don’t think we can.
So when the “Am I good mom?” question haunts you, don’t let negative thoughts, fear, or self-doubt be the judge of your self worth as a mom. Let the memories of how you followed your instincts and how you’ve triumphed tell you: Yes, you are a good mother!
Sharon Silver is the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding and the Skills e-class. Visit proactiveparenting.net to download two free chapters from her book and learn about other Proactive Parenting programs. Find Sharon on Twitter and Facebook.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.