I’m not sure who needs to hear this (pretty sure we all do at one point or another, though), but it’s way past time to stop letting others try to tell you how you should parent your kids. Be the mom YOU want to be, not what everyone else says you should be. Let’s discuss.
Be the Mom YOU Want to Be, Not What Others Say You Should Be
Before we jump into our discussion, I just want to say that while I’m talking about motherhood below because I am a mom, everything I’m about to say is equally true for dads, grandparents, foster parents, or anyone else who is currently raising a child.
As usual, this post is inspired by a quote I saw the other day. It said, “Be the mom you’re called to be. Not the mom social media tells you to be. Not the mom you feel pressured to be. Not the mom you think you should be because you saw that other mom at the school or the park or down the street. You know your kids better than anyone else. And no one loves them like you do. So be the mom they need. The mom they deserve. The mom you’re called to be.”
Everyone has their own ideas of what it means to be a mom. That’s how it should be! It’s not like there’s a manual on parenting, right? So, their opinions could very well be right…for them. The problem though is that it seems like WAY too many people are on a mission to spread that opinion and try to force others into accepting it.
Everyone has a different opinion on what makes a good mom
While it’s definitely not exclusive to social media, I see it a lot on sites like Facebook, especially in parenting groups. One mom will ask a totally non-controversial question like, “Where can I find pants for a tall and skinny teenage boy?” (Real question from a real friend, by the way). She’ll get maybe two actual recommendations. The other 2,000 responses range from, “Call his doctor, he shouldn’t be skinny,” to “The word ‘skinny’ is offensive, please edit your post,” to “A recent study shows that pants are dangerous! You should be ashamed for buying them!”
By the end of the conversation, not only does she still have no idea where to buy pants, but now she’s questioning whether she’s even worthy of having a son to buy pants for in the first place! I’ll share with you the same Jodi Picoult quote I gave her to ease her fears. It goes, “Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one.”
If you’re trying, you’re more than just a good mom, you’re a GREAT mom!
Another quote (source unknown) that I really love:
“I see you there mama, trying your best. I see you showing up each day, even though you feel exhausted. I see you making tough choices for your family even when you’re not sure if they are right. I see you working tirelessly, even when it seems never-ending. I see you doing an amazing job, even though you doubt yourself. I see you mama, and you are more than enough.”
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with doubts and fears that we’re not doing enough for our kids. That we’re not being enough for them. A single mom who works 60 hours a week to provide for her family worries that she’s not giving them enough of her time. Meanwhile, a stay-at-home mom worries that she’s not giving her kids enough independence or space to grow. Part-time working moms worry that they’re giving too much and not enough at the same time.
Round and round it goes, each of us in different boats but all riding along together in this great ocean of parenthood. Each of us worrying about different things, but worrying, nonetheless. As long as you are trying your very best to be the mom you want to be and the mom your kids need, then you’re not just enough…you’re more than enough.
If you’re being the mom your kids need, you’re doing it right
The only kind of mom we need to be is the kind our kids NEED us to be. Sometimes, that means being the mom who works 60 hours a week to make sure our children have food to eat, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their backs. Other times, it means being the mom who willingly gives up her career temporarily to stay home. Sometimes it means saying no even when you want to say yes. Other times it even means saying yes even when you want to say no.
It’s something different for everyone, and that’s fine. For me, it means being the kind of mom that my kids can always come to. I saw this quote a long time ago and it just stuck with me. It goes, “I never want my kids to mess up and think ‘mom is going to kill me.’ I want their first thought to be ‘I need to call my mom.’
It’s important to me that they feel like they can always come to me. That they know that even when they mess up, I will still love them. That I will always come for them when they need me. That I’m always there for them, no matter what. Walking beside them so they never feel alone. Holding them up when they need support and cheering them on when they find their own feet and are ready to stand alone. Yes, I have a quote for this, too.
“As your mother, I promise you that I will always be in one of three places…In front of you to cheer you on, behind you to have your back, or next to you so that you aren’t walking alone.”
If you’re honoring the honor of parenting, you’re doing it right
I’ll leave you with one last amazing quote (source unknown) that pulls all of this together beautifully. Again, I can’t find the original source for it (that’s usually how it goes with mom memes). It says, “What an honor parenting is. To get to be a little someone’s everything. To love them and guide them. And treasure them for the rest of your life.”
As long as you’re honoring that honor and trying to be the mom your kids really need, you’re doing a swell job. There’s no rule book. There’s no one right way to parent, no checklist of things you need to do, say, think, or feel. Do your best. It’s enough. I promise!