How to be a Good Mom
We are often hard on ourselves as moms. We want to give our kids the best of ourselves. We want to be the best we can be. Yet, we usually think there is more we can do, that we aren’t doing enough, or that we fall short where it counts. We talk with our friends about how to be a good mom. We seek out advice and read books and blogs on how to be better. But, we still wonder, “Am I really a good mom to my kids?”
Here are 9 tips that can help us to be good moms to our kids.
Tips on how to be a good mom.
Prayer is a great way to start every day. We can turn to God and ask Him to help and guide us.
God is near. He is right with us at every moment.
God, our loving Father, knows how He created us to be. He knows our temperaments, our likes and dislikes, and how much we can handle (even if what He knows we can handle is not what we think we can handle!). He knows if we can handle one more cup of milk knocked over on the table today (or the span of 20 minutes), or if we need to receive a hug from a toddler with sticky fingers and hear, “Mommy, I love you.”
In every moment we have the opportunity to pray. We can start our day asking God to help us to be the Mom He created us to be and to be loving and patient with our kids and with ourselves.
We can say thank you to God for the joyful moments of motherhood when our hearts are full. We can call on Him for help when we are tying the fifth knot in the fraying rope of our patience. We can ask Him for the words to say to reach our child who is lonely or hurting.
When we call out to God we know that He has the answers we seek. We can trust that He will help us and guide our words and our actions.
We can call on Him with confidence. He is the One who led us to our vocation as wife and mother; He will help us to fulfill it well. He wants to see us be peaceful and successful as a mom. He will help us do so in every way He can. It is up to us to call on Him for that help and to follow as He leads us.
2. Ask your kids.
Yep, ask your kids how you can be a good mom. They may give you some surprisingly insightful answers, like, “I want to cuddle more with you,” “Can we have pizza for dinner?” “Can we spend more time playing?” or “You are already a good mom.”
Our kids know what they need from us. By asking them, we can learn how we can meet their needs. We can also be encouraged by them to keep doing our best.
3. Listen to your kids.
We need to listen to our children with our ears and with our hearts.
Listen to the words our children say.
Our children often tell us what they need, but do we listen? Sometimes we do, other times we don’t.
“I’m tired.” “Can we go home now?”
When our kids are tired and overextended, we know what behavior we can expect: crankiness, fits, or hitting others, for example. Yes, we get frustrated with this behavior, but if we are the ones who kept them up late on purpose, well, we need to examine why.
We can learn to be more attentive to our kids’ patterns of words and behaviors so that we can prevent this from happening too often, which makes everyone miserable.
“Will you play a game with me?” “Can you read me a story?”
Sometimes our children just want us. They want some of our time. It can be challenging to put aside the dishes, the laundry, or sit on the floor with a nursing baby to play with a child. Yet, motherhood is our vocation. We need to make sure we spend time with our children, not just simply take care of their needs. We will all be enriched with closer relationships when we make the time to create these wonderful moments with our children.
Listen with our hearts to the words our children don’t say.
We all speak love in different ways. Words of affirmation may be music to one child’s ears, yet may not mean much to another child. A big hug or time spent cuddling may be enjoyable to one child while another child may start squirming two seconds after she is picked up because she doesn’t want a hug.
If you need some help figuring this out, spend some time observing your children or asking them questions. Watch how your child relates to others. Does your child like giving compliments, wanting to spend time with others, or doing kind things for others? You can also ask your child questions: Would you rather cuddle on the couch or play a game together? Doing these things will help you to identify the ways your child speaks and responds to love.
Paying attention to the behavior of our children helps us to understand what makes them tick. When we know how they best respond to us, we can make sure we communicate to them in this way. We will be showing them by our actions and our words that we love them.
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell may be a helpful resource for you if you want to read more about love languages.
4. Talk to your husband.
As husband and wife, we are a sacrament. We are a team raising our children together and we both want the best for them. Our responsibility is to help each other out as we raise our family.
Our husbands can give us insight into how we can be a good mom to our kids. They know us and they know our kids; they can see things that we may not notice. This can be a tremendous help for us to understand ways that we can be even better as a mom.
5. Stay true to yourself.
You are unique. There is only one you in the world. God gave you unique talents, insights, and abilities that you can use to be the mom God is calling you to be to your unique children.
He did not make you like your neighbor, your sister, your own mom, or the seemingly perfect mom you see at the park. If He wanted to make us all alike, He would have. But He didn’t.
We need to be true to ourselves and be true to who God is calling us to be. We can certainly gain insights and ideas from other moms, but if we spend our time comparing ourselves to them or trying to copy them and not be who we truly are, we will be frustrated, tired, and even resentful. That is not a good way to live, nor do we honor God and how He created us when we show Him that we wish we were someone else.
You are unique. Appreciate who you are, your own talents and gifts, and dive into motherhood as you are called to.
You may enjoy reading: Accepting My Identity as a Child of God.
Yes! This sounds nice but challenging. We need to remember that we are part of our family and therefore we need to take of ourselves, too.
It is important to eat right, get enough sleep (as much as we can with little ones!), rest, and make time to renew ourselves so we can fulfill to the best of our abilities the duties of our vocation.
When we do not take the time for self-care, we can become tired, grumpy, resentful, and even angry at ourselves and those we love. Do we really want to live with those feelings brewing inside of us and coming out when we least expect? No. This is not the way we are called to live.
We are called to live with God’s peace in our hearts. When we are depleted, that peace can be difficult to find; it may be buried under negative feelings. By making the time to take care of ourselves, we cultivate that peace and help it to grow in our hearts.
By taking care of ourselves, we also teach our children that we value ourselves and we teach them that they should care for themselves as well.
7. Ask for forgiveness.
Have you ever yelled at your kids or behaved to them or in front of them in a way that you should not have? Yep. me, too. We are human, we are not perfect; sometimes we do act in ways that we regret.
One way to help us heal the damage to our relationships that this can cause is to ask our children for forgiveness. This shows our children that we regret what we did and that we will try our best not to do it again. We set the example for them to examine their own actions and to ask for forgiveness when they make mistakes.
Another important person to ask for forgiveness from is ourselves. How often do we beat ourselves up and not forgive ourselves? Often, usually. It is important to forgive ourselves and heal so we can keep moving forward and be the best person and the best mom we can be.
We also need to ask God for forgiveness. It can be helpful to can examine our conscience each night and pray an Act of Contrition. We can also go to the Sacrament of Confession as often as we need to.
True repentance and forgiveness help us to start over again and keep us moving forward in life-moving each day closer toward becoming the person God has called for us to be.
8. Try again.
Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.
Do not give up.
Parenting is tough! It takes hard work and dedication. We usually work from before sunup to after sundown. We get tired! Yet, it is so worth it! We need to persevere and keep picking ourselves up when we fall down.
How can we serve our children when we quit as parents? We can’t.
What type of example do we set for our children when we don’t try to be good parents to them? A bad example.
Yes, we owe it to our kids to do our best to be great parents. But, we also owe it to ourselves. And we owe it to God. We don’t want to live with regrets. We want to do our best, even when we are tired or discouraged.
One day at a time is all we can live. We can ask ourselves each day:
“How can I be a good Mom today?”
9. Get some support.
I can feel lonely as a mom sometimes. Having a good network and resources to help us is so important. Family, friends, church groups, park groups, playgroups, and La Leche League for breastfeeding moms (just to name a few) are all sources for companionship and help.
We need to reach out and stay connected. This helps us to learn from others, cry with others, and be of help to others. As humans we are social beings; having others to help and support us in our vocation as mothers is a key component to us becoming the best moms we can be.
We can be a good mom.
God gave us our children as a gift to us and as a gift to the world. He entrusted them to our particular are, but they are His children. We know that God has His reasons for everything He does. He gave us our children for a reason. He gave our children us as their mothers for a reason. He knows what He is doing. We can pray in faith and trust for help and guidance. God will help us to be the Moms we desire to be.