You’re a good mom.

If your immediate response when you read that was something starting with “But…” or “Except when…” or even “Not when…” then you’re not alone. Most of us don’t believe that statement.

I know you are, so go ahead and tell yourself, “I’m a good mom.” Simply by reading this, you’re a good mom. You haven’t given up and you’re still working at improving your job as a mother.

How do we as a culture and as parents determine what makes a good mom? Is it how well your kids perform at sports or activities? Is it the grades they get? Is it the jobs they have when they’re adults? Is it how involved you are in their lives?

I had this conversation the other day with a friend. She and I both agreed it’s incredibly difficult to raise a good human being. There is so much working against the good you’re trying to do that if your child gets to adulthood and is a decent human, then you should pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Part two of being a good mom is that you never quit at motherhood. At some point you realized the importance of continuing to work at raising kids. You have read at least one book, listened to a podcast, read a blog (um, like this one), asked a friend, therapist or doctor for advice, anything that helped you learn something new makes you a good mom.

I spend way too much time beating myself up for the many ways I fall short. I’m not doing enough of X, or I do too much of Y, or why can’t I keep doing Z. If we focus on what we’re doing wrong, no wonder we beat ourselves up. Parenting exposes all our inadequacies, our insecurities, and our fears.

If you’re a new parent, I have one piece of advice for you. Never stop learning about parenting. Every time I have felt frustrated as a mom or felt like I didn’t know how to help my child, it was time to learn something new. Your kids change as they get older, so your parenting skills need to grow right along with them.

If you’re a seasoned parent, please help those of us looking for your wisdom. Mentor someone, volunteer at a school, help with a MOPS program, or make friends with someone younger than you. Speaking as a young(er) mom, it’s often easy to become friends with moms who have kids the same age as yours, but a challenge to meet moms who’ve been there and done that.

We are way too hard on each other, moms. Social media makes us feel like we need to be orchestrating enough activities to keep a cruise ship busy – and look beautiful doing it. That’s just not real life.

Tell one of your mom friends that she’s a good mom. Encourage each other. Help one another. The future depends on it.

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