Inside: Defining the qualities that make a good mother. This post first appeared on They Call Me Blessed.
This weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good mother. I spent some time looking through pictures of my grandmother, remembering sweet times and forgotten moments. This beautiful woman, who was the matriarch of our family, died just over a year ago. I want to remember every memory of her so I can share them with my children. But, it made me start to think “What defines a good mother?”
It is easy to point out a bad mother. You know, the ones who are yelling in the grocery store while kids run amok or the ones who let their children roam the streets without supervision. Or maybe it’s the mom who feeds her kid junk food or the one who lets her kids play video games for hours on end. Then maybe she’s the one who’s ignoring the sounds of destruction in the next room or the one who cursed the Lego for being on her barefoot path… again. And don’t even get me started on the ones who hide in the closet eating chocolate to avoid their little darlings.
In fact, I daresay I can point out bad mothers everywhere I look. You will notice them by their unbrushed hair, the dirt on their yoga pants about toddler high, and the expressions of extreme exhaustion. These are the moms who are at their wit’s end and are praying they can just get through the day without scarring their children for life.
It seems that there is always someone out there ready to point out everything we, as moms, do that are not our best moments. So, if it’s so easy to point out the bad mothers, what are the qualities of a good mother?
A Good Mother Encourages and Accepts Her Children As They Are
When I look back at the memories of my grandmother, I subconsciously sort them. I sift through all the moments that I remember and pull out the ones that most impacted my life. Sure, I recognize her faults. I know she didn’t always live up to being a perfect wife and mother. But, she didn’t need to be perfect to be a good mother.
I remember her showing me how to cook. How she would pick up the phone anytime I called and greet me with “Hello, Angel.” How she was so proud of all my accomplishments and would tell them to her friends. I remember her attempts to teach me to sew and my utter failure. I remember her holding my babies and telling me what a good mom I was.
Mostly I remember her encouragement, her love, and her acceptance of me in everything.
A Good Mother is A Good Daughter
I wouldn’t hesitate to say that my grandmother was a good mother. Her children and grandchildren loved her immensely and still do. My mother sat at her bedside daily in the nursing home and hospital in her last months. She would make sure she was comfortable and speak to the doctors and nurses constantly about her condition.
I watched my mother love her mother unconditionally and selflessly. It was in those moments that I discovered what it is to be a good mother and a good daughter.
My mother mirrored the way she had been loved.
A Good Mother Loves Deeper and Stronger
There are many times that I am not a perfect mother. I know that. I accept that I sometimes fail. Being a good mother isn’t being a perfect mother.
There were times that I didn’t like my mother and there are times that my kids don’t like me. Those moments do not define her or me as mothers. The moments that define my mother and grandmother are the moments when they loved deeper and stronger than they thought they had the strength for — when they sacrificed for their loved ones. And the moments when they stepped up to being there for others to lean on.
That’s the mom I want to be.
I want to be the mom who loves them through it all, accepts them, and is proud of them. I want to be the mom who loves unconditionally and selflessly. Through all the difficult moments and my bad mom days, I want my children to know that I loved them deeper and stronger than I thought was possible. I want to be the definition of a good mother — the definition set as an example by my family.