I recently posted about feeling bad for screaming at my kids when I was tired, for being unwell when I was pregnant and for having a complication in pregnancy that resulted in my daughter having hip dysplasia. I am definitely a victim of mum-guilt.
Every day I question myself as a mum – am I doing a good job? Are my kids sleeping right, eating right, learning what they need to learn? Do they have too much screen-time? Do I play with them enough? Am I teaching them right from wrong?
Then a few nights ago I spoke to one of my best friends, who also happens to be an absolutely brilliant mum. She was worried as she wanted to take her son to the park but he’s energetic, not yet safety-conscious and she wanted to use reins so she knew he was safe, but she worried about other parents judging her.
Now, this woman is one of the most dedicated, loving mums I know and I can’t imagine anyone who met her not thinking she was a good mum, yet, like me, she worries both about the decisions she makes and the judgement of other people.
It got me thinking – what makes a good mum?
So what does make a good mum?
- Breastfeeding – it’s not easy and it gives your baby a great start in life, plus you get the joy of feeding your baby from your own body
- Bottle-feeding – it ensures that your baby receives exactly the nutrients they need and lets other people share in the joy of feeding your baby
- Not allowing screen-time – your kid gets to use their imagination instead of staring at a screen
- Allowing screen-time – your kid gets a head start with technology and you get a chance to get a few chores done
- Doing traditional weaning – your child gets to slowly build up their confidence with different textures and you have more control over how much they eat and how much mess they make
- Doing baby-led weaning – your child gets to try out lots of different tastes and textures from the start, gets more confident with food early on and you get two hands to eat your own meal with
- Co-sleeping – your child gets to feel safe and secure knowing you’re beside them and you get cuddles at night
- Your child sleeping in a cot – your child gets some independent space and you worry less about accidentally rolling on them
- Doing sleep-training – your child learns to sleep independently and you as a family all get the rest you need
- Not doing sleep-training – your child learns to sleep in their own time and you get to enjoy all the night-time cuddles and quiet sleepy feeds
- Playing with your child – you get to bond, your child learns from watching you and you make great memories together
- Getting your child to play on their own – your child develops independence, learns to amuse himself and avoid boredom
- Taking your child on holiday abroad – your child gets to experience new cultures and experiences and learn about the world she lives in
- Holidaying at home – your child gets to see all the wonders of his home country and develop an understanding of the culture and country he is part of
- Going to baby classes – your child gets exposed to a wide range of activities and the opportunity to develop an interest or talent
- Not going to baby classes – you and your child get to recreate most of the experiences you would have had at the baby classes, but for less money and there’s no pressure for your child to continue an activity they don’t like
- Getting angry and shouting at your child – your child gets to see that you have emotions, learns how you resolve conflict and that it’s OK to make mistakes and apologise
- Getting angry and not shouting at your child – your child learns how to handle anger constructively
- Travelling with your child in a car-seat – your child gets to travel to places not accessible by public transport or walking and is secured in the safest way possible
- Travelling with your child in a sling or carrier – your child gets to feel close to you and you both get fresh air and exercise on your travels
- Toilet-training your child early – they become independent earlier and start learning about their bodies and hygiene
- Toilet-training your child late – they don’t feel under pressure before they’re ready and they pick it up quickly
- Giving your child a dummy/pacifier – they get comfort when they’re distressed or sleepy
- Not giving your child a dummy/pacifier – they get comfort in others ways and you don’t have to worry about taking it off them
- Home-schooling – you have complete control over your child’s education and they get individualised attention to help them progress, enhancing their academic performance
- Traditional schooling – they have the opportunity to socialise and learn from their peers, enhancing their academic performance
- Using reins on outings – you keep your child safe and know that she isn’t in danger
- Not using reins on outings – you give your child more independence and the opportunity to learn about safety
- Being a helicopter mum – you keep your child safe and they have the confidence of knowing you’re always there if they need you
- Being a laid-back mum – you allow your child to learn from their mistakes and grow as a person
- Punishing your child – you teach them that their actions have consequences and that they need to learn right from wrong
- Using alternatives to punishment such as time-ins – you connect with your child emotionally and help them to understand their feelings and motives, so they can make better choices
- Returning to work – your child gets to see the benefits of a career and is inspired to succeed in the future
- Staying at home – your child gets more time with you and you nurture them to succeed in the future
- Cooking meals from scratch – your child gets healthy, nutritious food and you know exactly what he is eating
- Using ready-meals – your child gets more play-time with you as you’re not busy cooking
You haven’t really answered the question…
No, because there is no one answer to ‘what makes a good mum?’ You only have to take a quick look at any parenting forum to see that opinions on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parenting are massively divided.
At the end of the day, the only people who really know if you’re a good mum or not are your children. Children are hugely forgiving of our mistakes and seeing us get things wrong and learn from them is a great lesson for them.
So maybe we all need to cut ourselves and other parents some slack, accept that we’re all doing our best and try not to beat ourselves up on the days when we fall short of our own ideal of a ‘good mum’.
Any other suggestions for what makes a good mum? Do you think there are some definite rules for being a good or bad parent? Please leave me a comment below and let me know!Please follow me on social media!