You’re here because you want to learn how to be a good mom, right? You’re actively seeking out how to grow as a parent. In my books, that makes you an amazing parent!
I heard something incredible this week. Somebody told a mom, ‘I know you’re a good mom.’ It sounds like a lovely statement on the surface… until you think more about it. Labeling a woman as a ‘good mom’ implies that there are others that aren’t- the ‘bad moms.’
This mom challenged the statement on the spot. She responded instantly, ‘there’s no such thing as a good mom or a bad mom. There are just moms who have good days and bad days.’
Wow! What a different way to frame our thoughts around parenting. There is so much room for forgiveness and grace in this statement. It’s a statement that shouts of opportunities to grow and learn and a motherhood ‘path’ rather than a dividing wall. This encouraged me so much.
I was feeling inspired and put together these 7 surefire tips that will show you how to be a good mom– they might not be what you expect!
7 TIPS ON HOW TO BE A GOOD MOMMY
1. REMEMBER THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT ‘PERFECT’
Knowing how to be a good mommy does not mean achieving perfection in every area. We can think it does. We can look around at other families and see how ‘together’ they seem- how that mom had everything under control.
But in what job or role would we normally expect someone to be perfect immediately?
None! And if they thought they were, that would signal an even bigger problem…
You are growing into your role of motherhood. It’s a trial and error process.
Imagine baking a cake for the very first time. First you go for it and do your best. You try to follow recipe books… but it’s your first time baking a cake! Mistakes are inevitable. Hopefully, though, you wouldn’t declare yourself a failure and give up. You would figure out where you went wrong, learn from it, adapt and try again.
The best moms are the ones who understand that they are not born as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ parent, but that parenting is something you can work at, develop skills in, and learn new ways of doing it. You are NOT a failure if you make a mistake. Instead, mistakes are great learning opportunities (yeah, I know it’s cheesy, but I think it’s important!) You are able to admit you’re not perfect (and can stop trying to keep up the image that you are), then you can become more open to growth.
Having a Growth Mindset in Parenting
There’s another name for this- a ‘growth mindset.’ It’s essential for every area of life! Weirdly, knowing that you’re not perfect, and having a growth mindset actually enables us to improve… and we’re normally happier for it!
I’ll hold my hands up and say that my natural tendency is towards a fixed mindset. I often feel like I’m being judged, and it makes me hyper sensitive to criticism. I’m happy to hear praise for how well I’m doing, but much less OK with ‘suggestions’- in my head it sounds like I’m being told I’m a failure. Learning about growth mindset changed my life, but it’s like using a new muscle- I need to actively use my growth mindset and, little by little, it will start to come naturally.
So how do you have a growth mindset in parenting?
- Understand that your parenting qualities and traits are things that can be developed.
- Value persistence above other things. When you persist and work hard to solve a problem you will see a change.
- Know that every situation can be improved. Add the word ‘yet‘ to your thoughts. For example, ‘my child isn’t behaving… yet.’ Or ‘they’re not eating solids… yet.’ Remember the power of persistence.
- Remember that setbacks are not a failure! They are part of the learning process. You can grow and learn from them
- Love the process of learning how to be a good mom. It’s a journey, not a fixed point.
2. COVER THE BASICS
I thought this point was worth covering early. Arguably the biggest, most important part of parenting is to cover the basics.
What are the basics?
Food. Shelter. Love.
They are all important. Every child deserves these three things.
If you are consistent in providing these things to your kids, you’re doing an amazing job!
The basics are not:
- You must have a child who never has a tantrum in public
- Your parenting journey should never make you cry
- If you have more than one child, they must never fight.
Food, shelter, love. If you are able to consistently provide these three things for your kids then pat yourself on the back. It isn’t easy to clothe, house, and love another human being. It actually takes a massive amount of effort, time, and expense. So don’t underestimate how much you are achieving if you are doing these three things.
If these things are a struggle for you to provide, it doesn’t mean you’re a ‘bad mom’. But remember what I said about growth mindset? Every situation can be improved. Having a growth mindset means taking steps to actively improve the situation (getting support, talking to someone) does not mean that you’re announcing yourself as a failure. It’s understanding that it’s a journey and there’s no such thing as perfect- that setbacks do not mean failure.
3. CARVE OUT YOUR OWN TIME
Making space for yourself as a mom is a point that can be surprisingly contentious. I actually found myself in a heated debate when I shared this point… after all, kids deserve your every waking moment, don’t they? Isn’t that what being a mom is all about? Pouring your all into your children?
I believe that you will be a much better mom if you continue to invest in yourself. You are a person- you have mental, emotional and physical needs. Neglecting these can turn into a lose-lose situation, both for yourself and your kids.
Parenting is quite possibly the most stressful thing you will ever do. It’s draining in every way- physically, emotionally AND mentally.
You might have heard the bucket analogy- when your own bucket is full, you are able to pour into others’ buckets. When you can become stressed and drained, you can reach a point of burn-out of (emotional, mental or physical) exhaustion where you have nothing left to give.
You should never feel guilty about finding time for yourself as a mom! In fact, it’s counter-productive not to! You need to be well in all three areas. You need time to exercise, and to look after yourself mentally and emotionally. This will help you to be the very best mom you can be for your kids.
But it’s challenging to have this time to yourself, right?
What might time to yourself involve?
- Go for a swim, walk or run/ play a sport. Your physical health is important, don’t neglect it!
- Have time to read and learn
- Make time to relax and de-stress
- Carve out time to think and problem-solve- time away from your kids might be when you figure out important parenting stuff.
- Make time for your relationship- you can still have a love life!
- Have a friend!
All of these things are important and will help you be balanced, less stressed, more productive and energetic, and ultimately, a better mom!
Here are some creative ways to find the time alone that you need:
- Have great routines. Routines are fantastic for children, and having a strong morning and bedtime routine can help you to identify little spaces that you might have time alone. Whether it’s over your morning coffee, during nap time, or reading a book when the kids are in bed, being consistent with your kid’s routines will help you to consistently get a window of time for yourself, too.
Check out: How to Establish a Bedtime Routine for Toddlers and Get ‘YOU’ Time!
- Teach independence to your kids. Independence is actually crucial for kids’ development. It helps them to build creativity, imagination and problem-solving skills. Of course, it’s taught little by little. At the beginning, you might need to actively teach your kids how to play independently. Check out this great article on independent play in toddlers. This has far more benefits to allowing extra screen time.
- Get your kids involved in chores. After meal times or at the end of the day, have a ‘tidy up time‘ where they can pick up things and put toys away. Join in with them- this can be a fun family time and also a time where you can actively build a positive relationship with your kids- give positive praise and teach them important life skills. This also means that you’re not left running around picking up after your kids every night when they’re in bed= extra time for you to unwind.
Why not also:
- Look for time saving parenting hacks. I love Good Housekeeping’s article on time-saving mom hacks. Some of these ideas are so simple but can save a lot of time and effort, and just make your parenting that little bit easier. There are tips to help you with meal time, to nail the school run, and even to avoid kitchen floor nightmares.
- Ask someone else to help. If you have a husband or partner then work as a team so you both have some time to yourselves. Could you each have one evening where you can do a new hobby while the other minds the kids? If possible, do your new hobby with a friend, or be intentional about making new friendships there. If you don’t have this, do you have family you can turn to for support? Or do you know another mom that you could make a babysitting trade off with? Try to think creatively to carve out this time.
- See if work can be flexible. If you have a job, it’s worth chatting to your boss about ways they can be flexibly to fit in with your life. The world is moving away from rigid working hours and moving to ‘flexible working’, even more since COVID-19. If you can think of ways that work could be flexible, it’s worth having a conversation.
Also check out: 22 Fully Feasible Work From Home Jobs for Moms
4. HOW TO BE A GOOD MOM WITH A TEAM AROUND
A support network is absolutely essential for anyone trying to figure out how to be a good mommy.
This could be:
- Your husband/ partner
- Family (consider extended family)
- Any kind of community (e.g. church, mosque, a club).
- Other moms
There are endless options as to how this could look in real life. It just needs to work for you!
Why not draw yourself an ‘eco-map’ to check out the supports in your life:
- Put yourself in a circle in the middle of a page.
- At the top, list all family connections that play a role in your life.
- To the left of the page, put the names of friends.
- At the right of the page, list people from other groups such as a church or club you might be in.
- To the bottom, list professionals who might be involved with (e.g. a Health Worker, a Pre-school teacher or your GP).
- Draw a line to each person on your page. A dotted line can signify a source of stress. For others, let the thickness of the line show the level of connection and support you feel with this person.
Take a step back and look at your eco-map. What does this show you? How does it make you feel? Is there anything you want to do as a result of this activity?
This is a reflective activity- there are no right or wrong answers and it can be completely private to you.
5. BEHAVIOR ISN’T PERSONAL
One of the biggest barriers in learning how to be a good mommy is often behavior. It’s absolutely normal for kids to express themselves through challenging behaviors, especially before they have the emotional vocabulary they need for life. Until then, behavior is a communication.
Challenging behavior can also be a way of kids testing your limits. They are checking things out to see whether you follow through on things you say; testing your limits. Sometimes it can be a way to get attention. After all, even negative attention is still attention.
It’s so important to remember that teaching positive behavior is a process. You are not a bad parent if your kids flare up and act out! Learning how to manage and deal with behavior is a whole new skill for you. Luckily, there is lots you can learn about and put into action to help your kids in this area.
The goal as a parent is to teach your child the positive alternative. But remember that teaching any new skill takes time, repetition and patience. Try to be as consistent as you can and you will see the payoff!
When you realize that behavior is not a personal attack on you, you can try to stay calm and implement your behavior plan. It’s hard not to get emotional, but removing that kind level of heightened attention will help hugely to diffuse the situation, and means your child doesn’t get the reaction that they wanted.
- 9 Smart Strategies for Dealing With Tantrums in Toddlers
- 3 Key Strategies for Dealing with Tantrums in School Aged Kids
- 11 Incredible Children’s Books That Teach Positive Behavior
- Powerful Kids’ Books for Teaching a Growth Mindset
- 11 Awesome Books To Make Teaching Kids About Emotions a Breeze
6. BE ‘BORINGLY CONSISTENT’
How to be a good mommy can also boil down to this: learning how to be consistent. Of course, you’ll never be perfect, but keep consistency in mind as something to shoot for. It will help family life to run much more smoothly, your child will have a greater amount of respect for your role as a parent, and you’re likely to see a big improvement in behavior.
Again, this is not a cut and dry thing that you’re born with. It’s something you can cultivate in your parenting toolkit.
This quote from ‘Empowering Parents‘ explains it well.
If your response often varies, your child will keep pulling the lever, hoping for a favorable outcome. This is an example of what is called a “variable interval reinforcement schedule”— the most powerful type of reward system in behavioral psychology. Just like it works with gamblers, because the frequency and size of the reward varies, it works with your child. And it becomes very difficult for your child to stop playing the slot machine—which is you, the parent!
How to be a consistent parent:
- Have a plan– and write it down. It’s a good idea to just start with one thing at a time. Pick one behavior and plan how you could teach a positive alternative, as well as a natural consequence for your child that you will be able to follow through on. For example, if your child won’t eat then they feel hungry until the next mealtime. Or, if kids fight over a toy it gets put away for 10 minutes.
- If your child is old enough, share the plan with them. Use ‘when…then’ as a strategy. ‘When your room is tidy, then you can go out to play.’ Get their buy-in and let them know what the consequence will be (no play if the room is not tidy).
- Stick to what you agreed in a matter of fact way. Don’t engage in a debate or emotional conversation. Be fair but consistent. You’re doing them a huge favor by not giving in.
- Stay calm– your child needs to know what you still love them, but that behaviors have consequences.
- Reassure them that they will have another chance to try again.
- If they are constantly failing, consider whether you need to make the goal more achievable. You want them to succeed, after all! Try setting a smaller, more achievable goal so they experience success. Praise them for their behavior. Build up your expectations slowly.
7. HOW TO BE A GOOD MOM AND ENJOY IT!
Don’t stress too much over how to be a good mommy, but remember that parenthood is a journey that will fly by. Enjoy it!
Don’t fall into the trap of ‘waiting it out’- waiting for your kids to be a little older so the tantrums stop, waiting for them to be able to tidy independently, waiting for them to go to school, or even to move out. Take action, do your best, and forgive yourself easily. Nobody is perfect.
Fall in love with the growth mindset and know that you can grow and improve at anything- being a mom is no different!
Remember that setbacks are not failures. Celebrate your small successes when they come!
Above all, live in the moment and enjoy the massive gift that being a mom is.
You got this!!!
AND THAT’S IT!
If you enjoyed my tips on how to be a good mommy, please share- every share is much appreciated! I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
You might also enjoy:
- 10 Essential Questions on Parenting Answered By a Therapist
- How to Praise Your Child So They Succeed in Life
- 15 Best Blogs for Moms for the Ultimate Parenting Toolkit
- 12 Funny Quotes About Parenting For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed [printable designs]
Thanks for reading!
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