We have all heard of Simon Cowell’s new show the X-factor.  In case you missed the previews, it allows people from all over the country to compete to be the next face of a soda company.  They need to be able to sing, have a look that can be significantly improved by a good stylist, and a back story that makes America want to vote for them.  I don’t often like to give kudos to reality TV however this show got me thinking.  What is the Mom Factor?  What qualities does our society value in a mother?  How do we know if we are a ‘good’ mom?  Here are a few assets that came to my mind:

She is flexible, but knows the value of a schedule

She is creative

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She is loving and caring

She is able to attune to her children and respond to what they really need

She understands the importance of quality time

She knows how to discipline without being harsh or damaging the relationship

She knows when she needs a break and is not afraid to ask for extra support

She has self- awareness and can recognize areas that need improvement

She knows when her child is getting out of balance because of too much stimulation or not enough

She is not a martyr

She values herself as a human and accepts her flaws

She knows that always saying “Yes” is easy, but saying “No” is parenting

She is patient

When I sat down to make this list, I thought about all the mothers I have encountered in my lifetime.  From my grandmother, my mother, my mother- in- law, my sister, my friends and even mothers that I have watched on the street or in play groups.  I am sure there are many qualities that I have left out.  Some of you reading this may even disagree with the aforementioned list.  If you do have some to add, I hope you will contact me so I can continue to expand on this ever growing definition. 

Being a mother has been the most difficult job I have ever had.  If you can believe it, it has been even more challenging than teaching a class of 10 five year olds in Brownsville Brooklyn.  It is impossible to be a perfect mom so my attitude is, “don’t try”.   When our only goal is to be perfect we are inevitably going to fail.  We need to make mistakes in order to learn from them and do better. We will never encompass all of these qualities on a daily basis, but at the same time I feel that we should strive to do our personal best.   Even Winnocott agrees that we only need to be ‘good enough’ to avoid damaging our children permanently.  What is your definition of a good enough mom?  Why don’t you make your own list so that you have something to work toward on your journey as a parent?  With the New Year upon us it is a great time to clarify what areas of your life you would like to improve upon.  Is being a better mom on your list?

 

If you are looking for more support around enhancing your ‘good mom’ qualities, Mindful Mommy is a good place to start.  Questions and comments can be sent to Jennifer@Mindfulmommy.com