My oldest monkey has a birthday coming up. It’s a big one, and it’s had me thinking for the better part of a week about whether or not I’m doing this parenting thing right.
Is there a right way, fellow mommy?
Every mom I know does things differently. I think my mom was a wonderful mother, but I’m not raising my littles exactly the same way she raised me.
All of this has me thinking about what makes a good mom. And I figure if I’m wondering, maybe you are, too. So let’s make a list.
Have you ever …
… bawled over a long-lost Mother’s Day card with tiny handprints on it because those hands are so much bigger now than they were then?
… lain awake at night, worrying or praying (or both) because the baby who always breakdances on your bladder at 2 a.m. is very, very still?
… held a frightened child as their vomit runs out of your hair and into your lap, not really caring about anything except helping your baby feel better?
… watched the same episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (or Thomas, or Barney) so many times you can recite the script word for word, because your toddler’s face lights up when their favorite character comes onto the TV?
… lain in a hospital bed in agony, but refused medication because you’re afraid painkillers might be bad for the baby no matter what the kindly nurse tells you?
… smiled through the taste of Neosporin on your lips because your little one insists that mommy kisses work better than medicine?
… bounced on a yoga ball for hours with a colicky infant because it’s the only thing that helps him feel better?
… played Weebles even though you were bored to tears, because it makes your child smile?
… eaten pizza and PB&J for dinner because you promised he could choose the menu?
… gone to Target in your pajamas to get Gatorade and crackers for a sick little one?
… felt your heart swell and your eyes tear when your baby gives up something they want in order to help someone in need, as you stand in awe of this little soul you helped bring into the world?
… abandoned a mountain of laundry to climb a tree even though you’re deathly afraid, because it made your child laugh?
… sat by a hospital bed and stared at your miracle, hooked up to tubes and wires and looking ever so small, and offered up anything and everything you’ve ever even thought about wanting if God will just make your baby well?
… fallen into bed on Christmas Eve more excited than when you were a kid yourself, because you can’t wait to see their faces in the morning?
… held yourself in place, heart in your throat, as your baby climbed the slide tower because you know how much she wants to do it herself?
… cheered a children’s ballgame or dive meet like the Olympic trials because your baby just nailed a play they’ve been working on for weeks?
… gone to help at a school party after being up all night feeding a newborn?
… felt your heart leap when you saw the second pink line on the pregnancy test?
… wrecked your house in the name of childhood magic on St. Patrick’s Day?
… stayed up until the wee hours sewing a costume?
… spent half a day baking and decorating the perfect birthday cake to see them smile for ten minutes before your masterpiece is hacked up and devoured?
… cried with them over a first broken heart?
… driven yourself batty reading pregnancy books only to have your significant other confiscate and dispose of them so you’ll stop freaking yourself out?
… wanted to smack another child for hurting your baby’s feelings?
… stared at the ceiling until after one, waiting to hear a key in lock so you know they’re home safely?
… cried your own tears of relief when you heard that first raspy newborn wail?
… smoothed her hair back while she slept, thanking God for making you a mommy and whispering that no matter how big she gets, she’ll always be your baby girl?
I bet you answered “Yes,” to a good many of those, didn’t you?
If that’s what you do on the front lines of parenthood, day in and day out, then you needn’t concern yourself with whether or not you’re a good mom. The answer is obvious.
Being a mom is hard work, whether you have one child or a dozen. At the end of the day, being a good mom is, a lot of the time, about putting another person’s happiness in front of your own. That’s not always fun, and sometimes you might even resent it, but here’s the most basic test: have you ever worried that you’re not a good enough mommy?
In my experience, people who really aren’t don’t bother themselves with such things.
As my daughter inches closer to double digits, here’s what I’ve decided: I worry too much (my hubby would laugh here and say “and the sky is blue.”).
Our babies know we’re good moms. And we should, too.
If you enjoyed this article, please click the "Like" button at the top of the page. I make no assumptions about having all the answers, but I do have smart friends and a love for sharing and hearing ideas on raising smart, happy kids. For information on my bestselling, Agatha-Award-nominated Headlines in High Heels mystery series, (Front Page Fatality and Buried Leads, Henery Press, 2013) visit me online at www.lyndeewalker.com.