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By

Shelley Sunjka

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Jun 20, 2024

Jun 20, 2024

Jun 20, 2024

The Ultimate Guide on How To Be a Good Mother

The Ultimate Guide on How To Be a Good Mother

The Ultimate Guide on How To Be a Good Mother

Motherhood is a dynamic experience - it’s constantly evolving and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to being a good mom. 

So many factors influence your motherhood journey - your culture, your experience with your own mother, your children’s personality, how many other kids you have, your life circumstances,  and the list can go on forever.

The Modern Stress Factors That Are Changing The Way We Mom…

With the rise of social media, there is so much pressure on moms to do everything right. You’ve read those comment threads with keyboard ninja’s delighting in moms making mistakes. There are so many different ways to parent, and no matter what you do, someone will say you’re doing it wrong. This leads to huge social anxiety, and the expectation that you need to be “a perfect mother”.

It’s no wonder modern moms feel overwhelmed. 

The first step to having a fulfilling experience as a mother, is to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect mom and that good mothers come in a variety of forms. Each mother's journey is unique and shaped by her own strengths, challenges, and the individual needs of her children.

Why Is Being A Good Mother Important?

Your mother teaches you everything that you learn about the world in your formative years. You learn to trust, you learn about feelings, you learn your worth, self-esteem, and confidence. 

Raising a child is a huge responsibility and usually the most important family member in the child’s life is their mother. This is not meant to downplay the role of dads, but mothers grow a complete human inside them for 9 months - mom and baby are inextricably linked in a way that a dad never can be. 

In fact, according to Babycenter, babies don’t view themselves as separate from their primary caregiver (usually the mother) until around 6 months old. A very young baby sees their mom as an extension of themselves. 

The Long-Lasting Implications of a Difficult Mother Child Relationship…

We are only just now beginning to explore the effects of childhood trauma, how we carry these experiences into adulthood and how they shape us as people. 

Psychology Today talks of healing “The Mother Wound”, a type of childhood trauma that has a lasting impact on who you become. Not working to repair your wounds from a difficult relationship with your mom can lead to cycles of generational trauma where negative mother-child bonds perpetuate through your family.

The Self-Imposed Pressure…

For most moms, raising their kids is life’s greatest joy and naturally we want to parent to a high standard. Mom guilt and worry begin almost immediately after giving birth. We question every choice we make and self-flagellate when we make mistakes because we all want the best for our kids. 

However, the truth is, unless you are physically and emotionally abusive, every mother is already doing a fantastic job - after all, parenting is one giant experiment and getting it wrong is how we learn to do it right.

Guidelines On How To To Be A Good Mother

No mom wants the label “bad mother”. 

The good news is that it’s not that hard to be a good mother. All you really need to do is be mindful of how you treat your children.

While there is no blueprint on how to be a good mother, there are some best practices you can follow to ensure you are building a healthy relationship with your children. 

13 Top Tips to Build a Strong Bond With Your Children That Will Endure to Adulthood

  1. Make Self Care A Priority

Repeat after me: I cannot do all the things!

It’s such a mom thing to put yourself last on the list of priorities. There is always just so much to do to care for a family, but taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to be a great mom. 

You know the saying “You can't pour from an empty cup” - it’s true. If you don’t eat or sleep properly and are stressed out, anxious and run down, you will not be able to effectively care for your children. 

Self care does not have to be complicated or expensive - it can be as simple as making plans to meet friends for an hour, running yourself a luxurious bath, taking a moment to drink a hot cup of tea, or going out for a walk alone with your favorite podcast or book. 

The point is, it needs to be something that’s just for you, something that recharges your spirit, because parenting little humans is hard!

Self Care and Mental Health…

Part of your self care regime should be to take care of your mental health and not feel guilty about it. Not every mom has the same level of coping skills or supportive tribe to help out. We are all different and having the good sense to ask for help when you need it, is a sign of inner strength. It’s not a bad thing to ask a friend to come round to talk, to join a support group for moms, or to reach out to a mental health professional if you are really struggling. Motherhood is infinitely better when you have a great support system in your corner. 

The Liquid Gold Advice For a Happy Mother…

The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to not compare yourself to other mothers - that’s the quickest way to a vacay in “Depression City”. It’s not healthy for you and it’s not healthy for your kids.

Daily Affirmation for Mothers: “Comparison is the thief of joy. I will not compare myself to other moms. I am a good mother and I do my best every day”.

  1. A Mother’s Love Is Unconditional

Celebrate the kid you have - not the one you imagined you’d have.

Letting your child know that they are fully accepted, that you support them no matter what they do with their lives or who they become in the future is the greatest hallmark of a good mother. 

There is nothing that empowers a child more than knowing you’re always in their corner, no exceptions, no conditions - even when they've messed up.

Show affection, actively point out all the good in them and be your child's biggest cheerleader in everything they do and you'll always be the person they turn to when things get hard. 

  1. Gossip Often… About Your Kids

This is one of those “sneaky” good parent tips that are a little less mainstream, but extremely powerful if done right. Telling your child how amazing they are or pointing out a desirable behavior you’ve noticed is a wonderful way to build them up…

But, letting them overhear you singing their praises to someone else - that’s pure gold!

Let your child “catch” you bragging about them when you talk to friends, or when you’re on the phone with granny for example. Do this often and watch their confidence soar.

  1. Quality Trumps Quantity… Everytime!

Kids are not stupid - they know when you’re distracted and not giving them your full attention. Being a good mom does not mean entertaining your kids 24/7 to the exclusion of all else. What it means is that when you do spend time with them you are fully present. 

One of the best tips for a family with multiple children, is to make sure you have alone time with each child on a regular basis doing things that they love. Doing things as a family is important too, but since it’s likely that each of your kids is in a different developmental stage, tailoring some one-on-one quality time to reflect each child’s individuality is a great way to be a good mom.

Make The Right Kind of Memories…

When planning special time with your children, take care to make emotion-based memories based on true connection because these will stay with your child forever. Children won’t remember what you bought them or where you took them, but they will forever remember how you made them feel. 

According to René Hen, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Columbia University, “Memories linked with strong emotions often become seared in the brain”.

  1. The Power Of An Apology 

There is one universal truth that applies to everyone - not a single person on earth is perfect and we all make mistakes, even parents - especially parents!

We shout at our kids after a bad day at work, we slam doors and storm around, we over-react, unfairly punish and even say things we deeply regret. 

Hey, we’ve all been there, it happens. But, when the dust has settled and your frontal lobe is working again, pretending that it hasn’t happened is where the damage gets done. 

Saying Sorry is an Important Learning Opportunity…

Within every parental meltdown lies a great opportunity to teach your kids about life, and that starts with saying sorry. A heartfelt and honest apology when you’ve handled things badly is like a magical bandage to your relationship with your child. Humbling yourself to apologize to your child shows them that you respect their feelings and don’t want to cause them hurt. It helps them to understand that it’s OK to fail or mess up because nobody gets it right all the time.

  1. Positive Discipline and Setting Boundaries Are The Keys To Secure Well-Adjusted Kids

Being a good mother means recognizing that you are not your child’s friend. Your role is to raise well-adjusted humans who are prepared for what life is going to throw at them. Discipline and boundaries are essential for children to feel secure, to know what’s expected of them, and to learn that life is not about always getting your way.

That being said, boundaries and discipline should always be laid out firmly but lovingly. Threats, yelling or physical punishment should never be on the menu and a good mom will always explain the reason behind enforcing a particular restriction in age-appropriate language so your child understands.

Pro-Tip: You are allowed to hold boundaries and your child is allowed to be upset about them. The best way to be a good mother is to support your child through it, by “okaying” the feeling but not the behavior. In practice this sounds something like this “It’s OK to feel mad, it’s not OK to hit. I’m not going to let you hurt your brother”.

  1. Learn About Child Development 

Each child grows and develops differently and a big part of being a good mother is allowing your kids to master their developmental journey at their own pace and in their own time. 

Pressuring your child to do things just because they’re “supposed to” is going to lead to an anxiety ridden dynamic in the parent child relationship. Unless there are developmental delays or pathology, every child will walk, speak, read, ride a bike etc… Trust them to do it when they feel ready.

Take care to adjust your parenting style to suit the different stages of development, gradually building your child towards independence. Ignore friends who tell you your child “should be” walking, talking, or reading and parent your child at the place they are - childhood is not a competition.

  1. Open Communication 

Never lie to your kid - ever! This is the biggest mother mistake.

Of course you adjust information to the age of your child and whether they are ready to hear things, but always be as honest as you can.

Parenting is hard, but do you know what’s harder? Being a kid in the modern world. Be their constant support. Be a safe space for them to work through their big feelings free from any judgment. Let them know they can tell you anything and if they do, realize how hard it was for them and respond calmly so you gain their trust. 

Top Tip: A great way to communicate about hard things is through shared journaling. Heidi says that using the Waffle App has been a great way to openly discuss things that are important, but difficult with her teenage daughter.

  1. Encourage Independence

Respect that your child is their own person who thinks differently to you. So many parents feel threatened by their child wanting to do life their own way. A good mother will listen to their child’s thoughts and guide them in the art of making good decisions.

Encourage independence early on by giving them a stake in their home. Age appropriate household chores are a great way for children to build independence and confidence. Always let your kids know their contribution to the house is important and necessary - this communicates that they are a valuable member of the family with something positive to add. 

Sharing chores doesn’t have to be a drag - if you lead the way, it can be a fun time full of laughs - and you’ll have a clean house at the end of it!

  1. Model Appropriate Reactions and Behaviors

Life isn’t easy - we all have struggles - showing kids how to handle negative emotions is one of the best gifts you can give them.

You might think as a mother your job is to protect your children from all the nastiness in the world for as long as possible, but the truth is, the best thing parents can do is to prepare children to handle themselves with dignity and integrity.

Don’t tell your child to never be angry - rather show them how to be angry. Show them the right way to disagree with someone, and how to repair when they’ve caused hurt. If you’ve lost your temper and behaved badly, call yourself out and chat to your children openly about how you should have handled the situation better. Cecilia uses a shared journal as an outlet for difficult emotions - talking openly in a safe, shared space about hard things is a great way to connect with older or adult children. 

Modeling empathic behavior, being kind, speaking respectfully to your child and others, being real, honest, and fallible is the way to get your kids to respond in kind.

Children learn by watching you, and they are more likely to do what they see than what they’re told, so making sure there is congruence between what you’re saying and doing is essential to being a great mom.

  1. Be Silly

Life is serious enough! Great mothers always make time for fun. Laughing is the best medicine and having a great sense of humor is the only way to survive the chaos of being a mom (let’s just be honest, most days are crazy!)

Have an impromptu dance party while making dinner, jump on the bed you just made, eat dinner in front of the telly, have a water fight in the garden and let the kids drench you, have dessert before dinner, have a camp out in the living room on a school night, and make blue spaghetti, because why not? - be the parent who does the unexpected just to hear their kids delighted giggles. 

Say yes, often, especially to the weird requests. The ensuing fun will be priceless!

  1. Learn About What Interests Them

If you’ve ever sat down with your child and started talking knowledgeably about creepers, withers, and the enderdragon and watched their face light up, you’ll know that this simple act holds infinite mom power. 

Your kids want to share their interests with you - just listen and be there for it. Ask questions that show you’re paying attention, and if your thumbs can operate one of those Playstation controllers, just dive in and play!

  1. Accept That you Won’t Enjoy It All

Motherhood is not always going to be a bed of roses (here’s looking at you, potty training!). But, not enjoying every part of “mom life” doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mother. 

Setting the expectation that you must love every aspect of being a parent is going to lead to a lot of anxiety and maybe even depression when those nagging feelings break through after a long day of being on the teenage hormone roller coaster. 

Last Thoughts

You are your child’s childhood - let that really sink in. 

Children don’t need fancy stuff, expensive experiences, and complicated activities and routines - they need you. They need you whole and happy and engaged. That’s it - that’s the magical formula to being a good mother. 

Now go hug your babies - you got this, mama!

Motherhood is a dynamic experience - it’s constantly evolving and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to being a good mom. 

So many factors influence your motherhood journey - your culture, your experience with your own mother, your children’s personality, how many other kids you have, your life circumstances,  and the list can go on forever.

The Modern Stress Factors That Are Changing The Way We Mom…

With the rise of social media, there is so much pressure on moms to do everything right. You’ve read those comment threads with keyboard ninja’s delighting in moms making mistakes. There are so many different ways to parent, and no matter what you do, someone will say you’re doing it wrong. This leads to huge social anxiety, and the expectation that you need to be “a perfect mother”.

It’s no wonder modern moms feel overwhelmed. 

The first step to having a fulfilling experience as a mother, is to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect mom and that good mothers come in a variety of forms. Each mother's journey is unique and shaped by her own strengths, challenges, and the individual needs of her children.

Why Is Being A Good Mother Important?

Your mother teaches you everything that you learn about the world in your formative years. You learn to trust, you learn about feelings, you learn your worth, self-esteem, and confidence. 

Raising a child is a huge responsibility and usually the most important family member in the child’s life is their mother. This is not meant to downplay the role of dads, but mothers grow a complete human inside them for 9 months - mom and baby are inextricably linked in a way that a dad never can be. 

In fact, according to Babycenter, babies don’t view themselves as separate from their primary caregiver (usually the mother) until around 6 months old. A very young baby sees their mom as an extension of themselves. 

The Long-Lasting Implications of a Difficult Mother Child Relationship…

We are only just now beginning to explore the effects of childhood trauma, how we carry these experiences into adulthood and how they shape us as people. 

Psychology Today talks of healing “The Mother Wound”, a type of childhood trauma that has a lasting impact on who you become. Not working to repair your wounds from a difficult relationship with your mom can lead to cycles of generational trauma where negative mother-child bonds perpetuate through your family.

The Self-Imposed Pressure…

For most moms, raising their kids is life’s greatest joy and naturally we want to parent to a high standard. Mom guilt and worry begin almost immediately after giving birth. We question every choice we make and self-flagellate when we make mistakes because we all want the best for our kids. 

However, the truth is, unless you are physically and emotionally abusive, every mother is already doing a fantastic job - after all, parenting is one giant experiment and getting it wrong is how we learn to do it right.

Guidelines On How To To Be A Good Mother

No mom wants the label “bad mother”. 

The good news is that it’s not that hard to be a good mother. All you really need to do is be mindful of how you treat your children.

While there is no blueprint on how to be a good mother, there are some best practices you can follow to ensure you are building a healthy relationship with your children. 

13 Top Tips to Build a Strong Bond With Your Children That Will Endure to Adulthood

  1. Make Self Care A Priority

Repeat after me: I cannot do all the things!

It’s such a mom thing to put yourself last on the list of priorities. There is always just so much to do to care for a family, but taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to be a great mom. 

You know the saying “You can't pour from an empty cup” - it’s true. If you don’t eat or sleep properly and are stressed out, anxious and run down, you will not be able to effectively care for your children. 

Self care does not have to be complicated or expensive - it can be as simple as making plans to meet friends for an hour, running yourself a luxurious bath, taking a moment to drink a hot cup of tea, or going out for a walk alone with your favorite podcast or book. 

The point is, it needs to be something that’s just for you, something that recharges your spirit, because parenting little humans is hard!

Self Care and Mental Health…

Part of your self care regime should be to take care of your mental health and not feel guilty about it. Not every mom has the same level of coping skills or supportive tribe to help out. We are all different and having the good sense to ask for help when you need it, is a sign of inner strength. It’s not a bad thing to ask a friend to come round to talk, to join a support group for moms, or to reach out to a mental health professional if you are really struggling. Motherhood is infinitely better when you have a great support system in your corner. 

The Liquid Gold Advice For a Happy Mother…

The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to not compare yourself to other mothers - that’s the quickest way to a vacay in “Depression City”. It’s not healthy for you and it’s not healthy for your kids.

Daily Affirmation for Mothers: “Comparison is the thief of joy. I will not compare myself to other moms. I am a good mother and I do my best every day”.

  1. A Mother’s Love Is Unconditional

Celebrate the kid you have - not the one you imagined you’d have.

Letting your child know that they are fully accepted, that you support them no matter what they do with their lives or who they become in the future is the greatest hallmark of a good mother. 

There is nothing that empowers a child more than knowing you’re always in their corner, no exceptions, no conditions - even when they've messed up.

Show affection, actively point out all the good in them and be your child's biggest cheerleader in everything they do and you'll always be the person they turn to when things get hard. 

  1. Gossip Often… About Your Kids

This is one of those “sneaky” good parent tips that are a little less mainstream, but extremely powerful if done right. Telling your child how amazing they are or pointing out a desirable behavior you’ve noticed is a wonderful way to build them up…

But, letting them overhear you singing their praises to someone else - that’s pure gold!

Let your child “catch” you bragging about them when you talk to friends, or when you’re on the phone with granny for example. Do this often and watch their confidence soar.

  1. Quality Trumps Quantity… Everytime!

Kids are not stupid - they know when you’re distracted and not giving them your full attention. Being a good mom does not mean entertaining your kids 24/7 to the exclusion of all else. What it means is that when you do spend time with them you are fully present. 

One of the best tips for a family with multiple children, is to make sure you have alone time with each child on a regular basis doing things that they love. Doing things as a family is important too, but since it’s likely that each of your kids is in a different developmental stage, tailoring some one-on-one quality time to reflect each child’s individuality is a great way to be a good mom.

Make The Right Kind of Memories…

When planning special time with your children, take care to make emotion-based memories based on true connection because these will stay with your child forever. Children won’t remember what you bought them or where you took them, but they will forever remember how you made them feel. 

According to René Hen, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Columbia University, “Memories linked with strong emotions often become seared in the brain”.

  1. The Power Of An Apology 

There is one universal truth that applies to everyone - not a single person on earth is perfect and we all make mistakes, even parents - especially parents!

We shout at our kids after a bad day at work, we slam doors and storm around, we over-react, unfairly punish and even say things we deeply regret. 

Hey, we’ve all been there, it happens. But, when the dust has settled and your frontal lobe is working again, pretending that it hasn’t happened is where the damage gets done. 

Saying Sorry is an Important Learning Opportunity…

Within every parental meltdown lies a great opportunity to teach your kids about life, and that starts with saying sorry. A heartfelt and honest apology when you’ve handled things badly is like a magical bandage to your relationship with your child. Humbling yourself to apologize to your child shows them that you respect their feelings and don’t want to cause them hurt. It helps them to understand that it’s OK to fail or mess up because nobody gets it right all the time.

  1. Positive Discipline and Setting Boundaries Are The Keys To Secure Well-Adjusted Kids

Being a good mother means recognizing that you are not your child’s friend. Your role is to raise well-adjusted humans who are prepared for what life is going to throw at them. Discipline and boundaries are essential for children to feel secure, to know what’s expected of them, and to learn that life is not about always getting your way.

That being said, boundaries and discipline should always be laid out firmly but lovingly. Threats, yelling or physical punishment should never be on the menu and a good mom will always explain the reason behind enforcing a particular restriction in age-appropriate language so your child understands.

Pro-Tip: You are allowed to hold boundaries and your child is allowed to be upset about them. The best way to be a good mother is to support your child through it, by “okaying” the feeling but not the behavior. In practice this sounds something like this “It’s OK to feel mad, it’s not OK to hit. I’m not going to let you hurt your brother”.

  1. Learn About Child Development 

Each child grows and develops differently and a big part of being a good mother is allowing your kids to master their developmental journey at their own pace and in their own time. 

Pressuring your child to do things just because they’re “supposed to” is going to lead to an anxiety ridden dynamic in the parent child relationship. Unless there are developmental delays or pathology, every child will walk, speak, read, ride a bike etc… Trust them to do it when they feel ready.

Take care to adjust your parenting style to suit the different stages of development, gradually building your child towards independence. Ignore friends who tell you your child “should be” walking, talking, or reading and parent your child at the place they are - childhood is not a competition.

  1. Open Communication 

Never lie to your kid - ever! This is the biggest mother mistake.

Of course you adjust information to the age of your child and whether they are ready to hear things, but always be as honest as you can.

Parenting is hard, but do you know what’s harder? Being a kid in the modern world. Be their constant support. Be a safe space for them to work through their big feelings free from any judgment. Let them know they can tell you anything and if they do, realize how hard it was for them and respond calmly so you gain their trust. 

Top Tip: A great way to communicate about hard things is through shared journaling. Heidi says that using the Waffle App has been a great way to openly discuss things that are important, but difficult with her teenage daughter.

  1. Encourage Independence

Respect that your child is their own person who thinks differently to you. So many parents feel threatened by their child wanting to do life their own way. A good mother will listen to their child’s thoughts and guide them in the art of making good decisions.

Encourage independence early on by giving them a stake in their home. Age appropriate household chores are a great way for children to build independence and confidence. Always let your kids know their contribution to the house is important and necessary - this communicates that they are a valuable member of the family with something positive to add. 

Sharing chores doesn’t have to be a drag - if you lead the way, it can be a fun time full of laughs - and you’ll have a clean house at the end of it!

  1. Model Appropriate Reactions and Behaviors

Life isn’t easy - we all have struggles - showing kids how to handle negative emotions is one of the best gifts you can give them.

You might think as a mother your job is to protect your children from all the nastiness in the world for as long as possible, but the truth is, the best thing parents can do is to prepare children to handle themselves with dignity and integrity.

Don’t tell your child to never be angry - rather show them how to be angry. Show them the right way to disagree with someone, and how to repair when they’ve caused hurt. If you’ve lost your temper and behaved badly, call yourself out and chat to your children openly about how you should have handled the situation better. Cecilia uses a shared journal as an outlet for difficult emotions - talking openly in a safe, shared space about hard things is a great way to connect with older or adult children. 

Modeling empathic behavior, being kind, speaking respectfully to your child and others, being real, honest, and fallible is the way to get your kids to respond in kind.

Children learn by watching you, and they are more likely to do what they see than what they’re told, so making sure there is congruence between what you’re saying and doing is essential to being a great mom.

  1. Be Silly

Life is serious enough! Great mothers always make time for fun. Laughing is the best medicine and having a great sense of humor is the only way to survive the chaos of being a mom (let’s just be honest, most days are crazy!)

Have an impromptu dance party while making dinner, jump on the bed you just made, eat dinner in front of the telly, have a water fight in the garden and let the kids drench you, have dessert before dinner, have a camp out in the living room on a school night, and make blue spaghetti, because why not? - be the parent who does the unexpected just to hear their kids delighted giggles. 

Say yes, often, especially to the weird requests. The ensuing fun will be priceless!

  1. Learn About What Interests Them

If you’ve ever sat down with your child and started talking knowledgeably about creepers, withers, and the enderdragon and watched their face light up, you’ll know that this simple act holds infinite mom power. 

Your kids want to share their interests with you - just listen and be there for it. Ask questions that show you’re paying attention, and if your thumbs can operate one of those Playstation controllers, just dive in and play!

  1. Accept That you Won’t Enjoy It All

Motherhood is not always going to be a bed of roses (here’s looking at you, potty training!). But, not enjoying every part of “mom life” doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mother. 

Setting the expectation that you must love every aspect of being a parent is going to lead to a lot of anxiety and maybe even depression when those nagging feelings break through after a long day of being on the teenage hormone roller coaster. 

Last Thoughts

You are your child’s childhood - let that really sink in. 

Children don’t need fancy stuff, expensive experiences, and complicated activities and routines - they need you. They need you whole and happy and engaged. That’s it - that’s the magical formula to being a good mother. 

Now go hug your babies - you got this, mama!

Motherhood is a dynamic experience - it’s constantly evolving and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to being a good mom. 

So many factors influence your motherhood journey - your culture, your experience with your own mother, your children’s personality, how many other kids you have, your life circumstances,  and the list can go on forever.

The Modern Stress Factors That Are Changing The Way We Mom…

With the rise of social media, there is so much pressure on moms to do everything right. You’ve read those comment threads with keyboard ninja’s delighting in moms making mistakes. There are so many different ways to parent, and no matter what you do, someone will say you’re doing it wrong. This leads to huge social anxiety, and the expectation that you need to be “a perfect mother”.

It’s no wonder modern moms feel overwhelmed. 

The first step to having a fulfilling experience as a mother, is to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect mom and that good mothers come in a variety of forms. Each mother's journey is unique and shaped by her own strengths, challenges, and the individual needs of her children.

Why Is Being A Good Mother Important?

Your mother teaches you everything that you learn about the world in your formative years. You learn to trust, you learn about feelings, you learn your worth, self-esteem, and confidence. 

Raising a child is a huge responsibility and usually the most important family member in the child’s life is their mother. This is not meant to downplay the role of dads, but mothers grow a complete human inside them for 9 months - mom and baby are inextricably linked in a way that a dad never can be. 

In fact, according to Babycenter, babies don’t view themselves as separate from their primary caregiver (usually the mother) until around 6 months old. A very young baby sees their mom as an extension of themselves. 

The Long-Lasting Implications of a Difficult Mother Child Relationship…

We are only just now beginning to explore the effects of childhood trauma, how we carry these experiences into adulthood and how they shape us as people. 

Psychology Today talks of healing “The Mother Wound”, a type of childhood trauma that has a lasting impact on who you become. Not working to repair your wounds from a difficult relationship with your mom can lead to cycles of generational trauma where negative mother-child bonds perpetuate through your family.

The Self-Imposed Pressure…

For most moms, raising their kids is life’s greatest joy and naturally we want to parent to a high standard. Mom guilt and worry begin almost immediately after giving birth. We question every choice we make and self-flagellate when we make mistakes because we all want the best for our kids. 

However, the truth is, unless you are physically and emotionally abusive, every mother is already doing a fantastic job - after all, parenting is one giant experiment and getting it wrong is how we learn to do it right.

Guidelines On How To To Be A Good Mother

No mom wants the label “bad mother”. 

The good news is that it’s not that hard to be a good mother. All you really need to do is be mindful of how you treat your children.

While there is no blueprint on how to be a good mother, there are some best practices you can follow to ensure you are building a healthy relationship with your children. 

13 Top Tips to Build a Strong Bond With Your Children That Will Endure to Adulthood

  1. Make Self Care A Priority

Repeat after me: I cannot do all the things!

It’s such a mom thing to put yourself last on the list of priorities. There is always just so much to do to care for a family, but taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do to be a great mom. 

You know the saying “You can't pour from an empty cup” - it’s true. If you don’t eat or sleep properly and are stressed out, anxious and run down, you will not be able to effectively care for your children. 

Self care does not have to be complicated or expensive - it can be as simple as making plans to meet friends for an hour, running yourself a luxurious bath, taking a moment to drink a hot cup of tea, or going out for a walk alone with your favorite podcast or book. 

The point is, it needs to be something that’s just for you, something that recharges your spirit, because parenting little humans is hard!

Self Care and Mental Health…

Part of your self care regime should be to take care of your mental health and not feel guilty about it. Not every mom has the same level of coping skills or supportive tribe to help out. We are all different and having the good sense to ask for help when you need it, is a sign of inner strength. It’s not a bad thing to ask a friend to come round to talk, to join a support group for moms, or to reach out to a mental health professional if you are really struggling. Motherhood is infinitely better when you have a great support system in your corner. 

The Liquid Gold Advice For a Happy Mother…

The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to not compare yourself to other mothers - that’s the quickest way to a vacay in “Depression City”. It’s not healthy for you and it’s not healthy for your kids.

Daily Affirmation for Mothers: “Comparison is the thief of joy. I will not compare myself to other moms. I am a good mother and I do my best every day”.

  1. A Mother’s Love Is Unconditional

Celebrate the kid you have - not the one you imagined you’d have.

Letting your child know that they are fully accepted, that you support them no matter what they do with their lives or who they become in the future is the greatest hallmark of a good mother. 

There is nothing that empowers a child more than knowing you’re always in their corner, no exceptions, no conditions - even when they've messed up.

Show affection, actively point out all the good in them and be your child's biggest cheerleader in everything they do and you'll always be the person they turn to when things get hard. 

  1. Gossip Often… About Your Kids

This is one of those “sneaky” good parent tips that are a little less mainstream, but extremely powerful if done right. Telling your child how amazing they are or pointing out a desirable behavior you’ve noticed is a wonderful way to build them up…

But, letting them overhear you singing their praises to someone else - that’s pure gold!

Let your child “catch” you bragging about them when you talk to friends, or when you’re on the phone with granny for example. Do this often and watch their confidence soar.

  1. Quality Trumps Quantity… Everytime!

Kids are not stupid - they know when you’re distracted and not giving them your full attention. Being a good mom does not mean entertaining your kids 24/7 to the exclusion of all else. What it means is that when you do spend time with them you are fully present. 

One of the best tips for a family with multiple children, is to make sure you have alone time with each child on a regular basis doing things that they love. Doing things as a family is important too, but since it’s likely that each of your kids is in a different developmental stage, tailoring some one-on-one quality time to reflect each child’s individuality is a great way to be a good mom.

Make The Right Kind of Memories…

When planning special time with your children, take care to make emotion-based memories based on true connection because these will stay with your child forever. Children won’t remember what you bought them or where you took them, but they will forever remember how you made them feel. 

According to René Hen, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Columbia University, “Memories linked with strong emotions often become seared in the brain”.

  1. The Power Of An Apology 

There is one universal truth that applies to everyone - not a single person on earth is perfect and we all make mistakes, even parents - especially parents!

We shout at our kids after a bad day at work, we slam doors and storm around, we over-react, unfairly punish and even say things we deeply regret. 

Hey, we’ve all been there, it happens. But, when the dust has settled and your frontal lobe is working again, pretending that it hasn’t happened is where the damage gets done. 

Saying Sorry is an Important Learning Opportunity…

Within every parental meltdown lies a great opportunity to teach your kids about life, and that starts with saying sorry. A heartfelt and honest apology when you’ve handled things badly is like a magical bandage to your relationship with your child. Humbling yourself to apologize to your child shows them that you respect their feelings and don’t want to cause them hurt. It helps them to understand that it’s OK to fail or mess up because nobody gets it right all the time.

  1. Positive Discipline and Setting Boundaries Are The Keys To Secure Well-Adjusted Kids

Being a good mother means recognizing that you are not your child’s friend. Your role is to raise well-adjusted humans who are prepared for what life is going to throw at them. Discipline and boundaries are essential for children to feel secure, to know what’s expected of them, and to learn that life is not about always getting your way.

That being said, boundaries and discipline should always be laid out firmly but lovingly. Threats, yelling or physical punishment should never be on the menu and a good mom will always explain the reason behind enforcing a particular restriction in age-appropriate language so your child understands.

Pro-Tip: You are allowed to hold boundaries and your child is allowed to be upset about them. The best way to be a good mother is to support your child through it, by “okaying” the feeling but not the behavior. In practice this sounds something like this “It’s OK to feel mad, it’s not OK to hit. I’m not going to let you hurt your brother”.

  1. Learn About Child Development 

Each child grows and develops differently and a big part of being a good mother is allowing your kids to master their developmental journey at their own pace and in their own time. 

Pressuring your child to do things just because they’re “supposed to” is going to lead to an anxiety ridden dynamic in the parent child relationship. Unless there are developmental delays or pathology, every child will walk, speak, read, ride a bike etc… Trust them to do it when they feel ready.

Take care to adjust your parenting style to suit the different stages of development, gradually building your child towards independence. Ignore friends who tell you your child “should be” walking, talking, or reading and parent your child at the place they are - childhood is not a competition.

  1. Open Communication 

Never lie to your kid - ever! This is the biggest mother mistake.

Of course you adjust information to the age of your child and whether they are ready to hear things, but always be as honest as you can.

Parenting is hard, but do you know what’s harder? Being a kid in the modern world. Be their constant support. Be a safe space for them to work through their big feelings free from any judgment. Let them know they can tell you anything and if they do, realize how hard it was for them and respond calmly so you gain their trust. 

Top Tip: A great way to communicate about hard things is through shared journaling. Heidi says that using the Waffle App has been a great way to openly discuss things that are important, but difficult with her teenage daughter.

  1. Encourage Independence

Respect that your child is their own person who thinks differently to you. So many parents feel threatened by their child wanting to do life their own way. A good mother will listen to their child’s thoughts and guide them in the art of making good decisions.

Encourage independence early on by giving them a stake in their home. Age appropriate household chores are a great way for children to build independence and confidence. Always let your kids know their contribution to the house is important and necessary - this communicates that they are a valuable member of the family with something positive to add. 

Sharing chores doesn’t have to be a drag - if you lead the way, it can be a fun time full of laughs - and you’ll have a clean house at the end of it!

  1. Model Appropriate Reactions and Behaviors

Life isn’t easy - we all have struggles - showing kids how to handle negative emotions is one of the best gifts you can give them.

You might think as a mother your job is to protect your children from all the nastiness in the world for as long as possible, but the truth is, the best thing parents can do is to prepare children to handle themselves with dignity and integrity.

Don’t tell your child to never be angry - rather show them how to be angry. Show them the right way to disagree with someone, and how to repair when they’ve caused hurt. If you’ve lost your temper and behaved badly, call yourself out and chat to your children openly about how you should have handled the situation better. Cecilia uses a shared journal as an outlet for difficult emotions - talking openly in a safe, shared space about hard things is a great way to connect with older or adult children. 

Modeling empathic behavior, being kind, speaking respectfully to your child and others, being real, honest, and fallible is the way to get your kids to respond in kind.

Children learn by watching you, and they are more likely to do what they see than what they’re told, so making sure there is congruence between what you’re saying and doing is essential to being a great mom.

  1. Be Silly

Life is serious enough! Great mothers always make time for fun. Laughing is the best medicine and having a great sense of humor is the only way to survive the chaos of being a mom (let’s just be honest, most days are crazy!)

Have an impromptu dance party while making dinner, jump on the bed you just made, eat dinner in front of the telly, have a water fight in the garden and let the kids drench you, have dessert before dinner, have a camp out in the living room on a school night, and make blue spaghetti, because why not? - be the parent who does the unexpected just to hear their kids delighted giggles. 

Say yes, often, especially to the weird requests. The ensuing fun will be priceless!

  1. Learn About What Interests Them

If you’ve ever sat down with your child and started talking knowledgeably about creepers, withers, and the enderdragon and watched their face light up, you’ll know that this simple act holds infinite mom power. 

Your kids want to share their interests with you - just listen and be there for it. Ask questions that show you’re paying attention, and if your thumbs can operate one of those Playstation controllers, just dive in and play!

  1. Accept That you Won’t Enjoy It All

Motherhood is not always going to be a bed of roses (here’s looking at you, potty training!). But, not enjoying every part of “mom life” doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mother. 

Setting the expectation that you must love every aspect of being a parent is going to lead to a lot of anxiety and maybe even depression when those nagging feelings break through after a long day of being on the teenage hormone roller coaster. 

Last Thoughts

You are your child’s childhood - let that really sink in. 

Children don’t need fancy stuff, expensive experiences, and complicated activities and routines - they need you. They need you whole and happy and engaged. That’s it - that’s the magical formula to being a good mother. 

Now go hug your babies - you got this, mama!

Waffle: #1 Shared Journal App

Connect, bond, and share emotional support

4.8 • 4K Ratings

Download Today

Waffle: #1 Shared Journal App

Bond and share emotional support

4.8 • 4K Ratings

Download

Waffle: #1 Shared Journal App

Connect, bond, and share emotional support

4.8 • 4K Ratings

Download Today