Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Despite what you think, you’re a good mom

Last week, I was standing in my front yard with my dogs when our neighbor’s dog wandered over to us. It was cold and I didn’t know how long she’d been outside so I picked her up (she knows me. We dogsit for her) and brought her home. Because it was only two houses down and I had no intention of going inside for a visit, I left the child inside, by herself for the whole 5 minutes I was gone. While talking to my neighbor, I let him know that the child was home by herself and I needed get back and also that “I’m a terrible mother for leaving her alone”.

That last comment has stuck with me since then. 

Because the truth of it is, I’m not a terrible mother. 

And neither are you. 

Despite what all the blogs and Pinterest and news stories and Facebook groups would have you believe. 

Motherhood has become this horrible competition filled with unattainable, arbitrary standards that leave even the most seemingly perfect mother filled with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and also sometimes rage. I suppose there’s always been some sort of competition among mothers, and some animosity between working mothers and stay at home mothers, but with social media (or perhaps just our current societal culture), it’s become an all out war. 

It’s ridiculous. 

I’m over it. 

So I’m going to break some things down for you and clear up some all too common misconceptions we moms believe about ourselves. 

  • Whether you use cloth diapers or disposable, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you cook from scratch every night or feed your kids takeout, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether your kids go to public school or private school or are homeschooled, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you bottle fed or breast fed, you are a good mother
  • Whether you have a Pinterest worthy home or it’s in desperate need of a cleaning, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you bake and do crafts and have endless ways to keep your children occupied or you let them watch TV, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you have 10 kids or 1, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you work part-time, full-time, have a nanny or stay home, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you lost the baby weight immediately or you’ve hung on to a few extra pounds, you are a good mother.
  • Whether you look perfectly put together or have worn the same yoga pants for so many days in a row the elastic is starting to give, you are a good mother. 
  • Whether you’re strict or laid back, you are a good mother. 

 
I could go on. I won’t because the list would be more extensive than anyone would probably care to read so for the sake of brevity and also making you not hate me, I’ll stop there. 

Almost. 

Now. With that said, let me break down for you what makes a bad mother so that when you go to think you’re not enough, you can say “hey, self. Remember that list you read on that random blog post that detailed the qualities of a shitty parent? You don’t do that and while you’re frustrated and maybe not the best you can be today, you’re still a damn good mom!”

A bad parent (read: not you) does this:

  • Neglects her children, emotionally, physically, medically, educationally
  • Abuses her children, physically, emotionally
  • Consistently endangers her children’s safety (ex., bringing them on a drug deal)

 
Do you do any of that? I’m 100% confident you do not. 

Which means, contrary to what the internet might tell you, you’re doing just fine as a parent. 

Being a mom is so much more than how we look, what we feed our kids, and how beautiful our home is. 

Being a mom is about how you make your kids feel. 

And if they’re happy (most of the time because let’s face it, kids can be moody little shits), you’re doing just fine.

So give yourself a big hug and a Stuart Smalley affirmation and tell yourself you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and damn it, you’re a good mother. Hell, you’re a great mother. The best one your kids have got.

 

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28 Comments

  1. Samantha @ 24to30

    I love this post and it was exactly what I needed to hear today!! Thanks.
    Samantha @ 24to30 recently posted…Saturday Was Not A Good Food Day.My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’m so happy to hear that!

      Reply
  2. Linda sheridan

    We are too hard on ourselves many times. Nice reminder! Goddess speed to all of us!
    Love, SMD’s Momma

    Reply
  3. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of things and in the bullshit. But at the end of the day what matters most is the love, care, and good treatment. Not sandwiches cut into stars or other things we think we should be doing.

    Great post!
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…January RecommendationsMy Profile

    Reply
  4. Julia

    I’m not a mom myself but I’m sure this is very encouraging and helpful to moms! It’s so true that our society is constantly trying to get us to measure up to some arbitrary standard and compare ourselves to others!
    Julia recently posted…ConfessionsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      The comparison game is ridiculous as are the standards we’re supposed to adhere to. Who can do all of that? Not me.

      Reply
  5. kathy@realtalk

    your posts are always so awesome and true. i love that about your writing. i am so tired of all the other moms tearing each other apart for every little stupid thing. in the end, we’re all the same – parents just trying to raise our kids the best way we know how.

    actually, similac created a brilliant ad that speaks to this: http://youtu.be/Me9yrREXOj4
    kathy@realtalk recently posted…humpday confessions [1-28]My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      That video makes such a good point. The judginess among moms has to cease immediately.

      Reply
  6. Nadine

    I love this!! Even though I am not a mom, this could apply to other aspects of life. Like being a good wife, a good friend, a good person in general. There are so many people out there that pretend they have this picture perfect life and like to shame on others but the truth of the matter is there is no black or white way to do anything. Everything is in the gray and up to you to do what is right and works for you. Society and the media can go suck it!
    Nadine recently posted…ConfessionsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I agree. This can be applied to so many other areas of life. I think I smell a follow up post…

      Reply
  7. Kerry

    The pressure to be so perfect would send me over the edge. All you can do is love them, and do the best you can.
    Kerry recently posted…Spinach Butternut Squash FrittataMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I can say that it does contribute to my anxiety some days. I’m learning to not give a fuck.

      Reply
  8. kristen

    i’m not a mother… but thank you for posting this 🙂 i feel like pinterest, blogging and whatever have just made it seem like mothering should be easy and your entire focus.. my mum left us in the (locked) car when she popped into the gas station, or when she went next door for a few minutes.. and i turned out great. i never did any arts or crafts and i don’t think i got tummy time. you know? the pressure to be perfect in every other way is annoying and stressful – mothers don’t need extra stress that she should be doing this or that.. there are kids out there that don’t get fed or loved, that is bad parenting, not leaving them to go next door for 5 minutes. well said Jana!
    kristen recently posted…Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      The thought that your kids need to be the focus of your life irks me to no end. I love my daughter I exist outside of being her mom. If that makes me less of a mom to some people, oh well.

      Reply
  9. Jennifer

    Applause! You nailed this, mama! We are all combinations of many things so there is no fair way to judge! I love that you laid it all out there!!
    Jennifer recently posted…Times I’ve Been THAT MOMMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Thanks! Your post the other day sort of inspired it 🙂

      Reply
  10. Karen

    Aw, I love this post! I can be really critical of my parenting skills. Just this morning I drove my daughter to preschool not knowing that it was closed. My kid goes to school now, why didn’t I check the closings?? And then I felt bad that I was excited this morning, thinking that school was on, because I just wanted a break from her. We can be so hard on ourselves sometimes!
    Karen recently posted…Funny Girl By Nick HornbyMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Revanche

      My coworker did exactly that a week or two ago, and we had a good laugh over the mistake because that’s all it was. (And who can blame you for needing a break?)
      Revanche recently posted…When a “What If” scenario kicks your ass: the death of a hard driveMy Profile

      Reply
    2. Jana (Post author)

      Never feel bad for admitting you need a break. I freely admit that I need breaks from my child. I think it’s completely normal.

      Reply
  11. Revanche

    Amen!

    I find it incredibly sad how many perfectly good moms default to the “I’m a terrible mother” trope in normal conversations when they make any kind of choice that MIGHT be perceived badly. No, you made a choice and that’s not just ok, that’s your job to do as you must.

    I wonder how much of that’s because there’s some semi-universal image, depending on the culture, of a “perfect” mom (someone who does everything without making mistakes or looking disheveled) while the spectrum of “perfectly good mom” is so varied. Either way, I encourage my friends not to default to that even when they don’t use it seriously. It’s a harmful throwaway when you hear it so so many times.
    Revanche recently posted…When a “What If” scenario kicks your ass: the death of a hard driveMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      YES! We should campaign to banish it from moms’ vocabularies. It’s a very damaging statement.

      Reply
  12. Amber

    Amen to this. People are so dang hard on themselves! If my kids are alive and happy at the end of the day, I’ve done well. And heck, sometimes they aren’t happy. But hey, they are alive! And healthy.
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Alive and health are more important at the end of the day than anything else.

      Reply
  13. Analisa

    I love this!! Every single person is different and I wish more people recognized that!
    Analisa recently posted…New Year’s ResolutionsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I completely agree. Different is just fine and doesn’t automatically make a wrong.

      Reply
  14. Christina

    Great post! I cannot stand the constant competition. We should be lifting each other up and offering support and not criticizing. I’m also ok with never being a Pinterest mom. I just don’t have the desire, and my kids don’t care, so why should I?
    Christina recently posted…Best Picture NomineesMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I have no desire to be a Pinterest perfect mom. Too much effort 🙂 My daughter doesn’t seem to be hurting as a result.

      Reply
  15. Kay R.

    Aww this is so great! Im not a mom and still appreciated this so much! It translates into other areas of life as well 🙂

    Reply

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