How to Be a Good Mother: 16 Practical Tips
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Being a mom is one of the world’s most important, challenging, and rewarding jobs. It’s also one of the most difficult to define. What does it mean to be a good mother? There are as many answers to that question, but none of them have anything to do with striving for perfection or doing more.
This blog post will share ten practical tips for being a better mother, primarily focusing on your mindset (the easiest and hardest thing to change). I hope you find them helpful!
How to Be a Good Mother
There is definitely no such thing as a perfect mother. Yet, most of us want to do our best to raise kind human beings who love us and their lives. However, it can be hard to know where to start and how to improve our parenting skills with all the differing opinions in the world from parenting experts, cultural expectations, social media, family, and beyond.
No matter who you are, what your background is, or what parenting style you prefer, here are some tips on being a great mom:
1. First, Celebrate Yourself!
No matter how you slice it, motherhood can be hard. You have little ones depending on you and an ever-growing to-do list. Whether you’re the organized type that makes time management look easy or you feel like you’re drowning in chores most days, there’s always something to be grateful for.
A positive mindset can make all the difference in navigating the daily monotony of motherhood. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.
2. Show Your Humanity
If you are overwhelmed and crying or snapping at your kids, it’s okay- it happens. What’s not okay is to blame your actions on them or pretend they didn’t happen. It’s okay to apologize, be vulnerable, and show emotions. No one is perfect, and admitting when you’re wrong is an important lesson for your kids.
3. Let Your Kids Be Vulnerable Too
If an adult was sad or mad and they were venting to you, you wouldn’t tell them to “suck it up” or stop. So why do we do this to our kids? We are all guilty of doing it. But do your best to give your kid’s emotions space and listen to them. Tantrums and misbehavior are often a cry for help and connection, so don’t be afraid to show them love (even when it’s hard) and let them know it’s okay to feel things.
4. Encourage Open Communication
We all want to feel heard and understood. So, talk with your kids. Ask them questions about their day, their emotions, and their goals. Show interest in what they say by encouraging responses and asking follow-up questions. In turn, this sets a good example for teaching them to be good listeners, speakers, and empathetic in general.
5. Ditch the Comparisons and Celebrate Your Unique Kids
For yourself and your kids, ditch the comparison game. We all have unique gifts, talents, and interests. Instead of comparing them to others or pushing them to do something that doesn’t interest them, celebrate their uniqueness and encourage their creativity in the areas they excel at.
The same goes for you, mama! Don’t let social media and online trolls dictate how you feel about yourself. If you are reading this, you are doing an amazing job.
6. Avoid Perfectionism
We all want to be the best parents and give our kids the world. However, aiming for perfection isn’t sustainable or even necessary.
Give your kids grace and yourself too! Allow them (and you) to make mistakes and learn from them. The goal is to raise kind, independent humans, not robots who are afraid of failure. teach them that it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to try, it’s okay to change your mind- for both you and your kids.
7. Focus on Connection and Quality Time
No matter how busy your life may be, make time for connection and spend quality time with your kids. Whether it’s cuddling on the couch, having a quiet conversation, reading a book, playing games, or going for a walk together, those moments are what will become your kids’ foundation and ensure a happy family.
8. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Kids need to laugh, play and just be kids. Make sure you’re taking the time to enjoy life with your kids. Do silly things like make blanket forts, have a dance party in the living room, or just lay outside and count stars – whatever it may be, make sure you’re having fun with them!
It’s easy to get hyperfocused on the day-to-day tasks and feel like there’s never any time or energy for fun. But it’s essential to take a step back and recognize the importance of enjoying life as well. (My 5-year-old is the best at reminding me of this!)
9. Lead by Example
Actions speak louder than your words. So, lead by example. Show your kids what respect looks like, how to be a healthy mom, how to be kind and compassionate, and how to take responsibility for their actions. Kids learn best by observing the people around them and mimicking their behavior.
10. Don’t Forget to Take Time for Yourself
It’s so important to take time for yourself. Self-care is not selfish – it’s essential for your mental and physical health and will make you a better parent in the long run. Don’t forget that you are an individual, too! Whether taking a yoga class or having a girl’s night out, make sure you’re taking moments to recharge to be your best self for your kids.
Plus, you are teaching your kids the importance of their self-care too!
11. Be Collaborative
Raising children is sometimes a team effort. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or take advice from experienced family members and friends. And don’t forget to include your kids in the decision-making process whenever possible. This will teach them responsibility, self-confidence, and respect for others’ opinions.
12. Recognize Your Own Behavioral Triggers from Your Childhood
Most of us have triggers stemming from childhood experiences that can affect us today.
As a parent, it’s important to recognize these triggers and know how they may manifest in your parenting. This will help you gain perspective and develop strategies for responding calmly rather than reacting with emotional outbursts or harsh words. If needed, talk to a licensed professional counselor for guided help.
13. Don’t Take Misbehavior Personally
Sometimes, kids just do things that are annoying or out of line. Take a few deep breaths when it happens, and remember not to take it personally. Instead, try your best to stay calm and use positive parenting strategies like redirection and logical consequences to help your child learn the right way to behave.
14. Let Your Kids Learn By Doing and Making Mistakes
Encouraging children to explore and learn through trial and error is important. It’s okay for your kids to make mistakes- it’s part of the learning process. So, allow them the opportunity to try new things and experiment without worrying too much about the outcome (easier said than done, I know).
15. Set Clear Boundaries and Stick to Them
Having consistent boundaries, rules, and consequences is essential. This will help create structure and safety in the home while teaching your kids how to manage their behavior in different environments. But, it’s important to explain why a rule exists and remain flexible if needed. And don’t forget to demonstrate your respect for those boundaries as well!
16. Give Yourself a Time Out
Do your best to lead with kindness and patience. When you’re struggling with this and just want to scream and throw an adult tantrum, try to take a time-out before reacting.
Instead of getting angry, take a few moments for yourself to breathe, get some fresh air (if possible), and reset. Or, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking some time for yourself and focus on self-care. This can help you gain perspective and refocus your energy toward parenting with more kindness and empathy.
Being a Great Mom is All About Your Mindset
Now that you’ve read through all the ways to boost your mom superpowers let’s review the key ingredient to making any of them successful: mindset.
We’re All Guilty of the “Shoulds” Sometimes
Do any of these expectations sound familiar?
Good moms should…
- Always do what’s best
- Put her child’s needs first
- Love every moment of parenting
- Give up everything for her child(ren)
- Be happy and energized at all times with her kids
- Never resents her kids or thinks about “pre-kid” times
- Align her entire identity with motherhood
- Doesn’t need a break
- Should want more than one child
- Never feel tired- she signed up for it!
These “shoulds” seem pretty harsh when reading them here, but they are a common train of thought. In reality, they can create an unrealistic expectation of motherhood that is simply not attainable. This disparity can lead to feelings of mom guilt, anxiety, depression, and feeling like we’re never enough.
Mama, remember that you’re always “enough”
Let’s reframe these “shoulds” to match how to be a good mother truly, shall we?
A mom should…
- Encourage her child to enjoy life and be a good human being
- Be there when her kids need her (emotionally, physically, etc.)
- Instill a sense of self-worth via presence
- Give her children a safe space where they are fed, warm, and loved
- Show her kids that life doesn’t always go as planned, but that’s okay
- Let her kids learn from their mistakes
- Show her kids how to live a good life by example as a good role model
- Take time to enjoy the fun small things life has to offer
- Love her kids as no one else can to build their self-esteem
Phew, don’t those “shoulds” feel better? When we remove all the strict expectations and lead with love, everything else falls into place.
How to Be a Great Mother: FAQ
Still, have questions about being a good mom? Let’s review the most commonly asked questions:
What are good mom qualities?
Good mom qualities include empathy, consistency, open communication, respect, flexibility, and boundaries.
How can I be a better mom?
You can start by being present with your kids and listening to them. Additionally, take care of yourself, set limits and stick to them consistently, provide support when needed, and lead with love.
How do I make sure my kids are happy?
The best way to ensure your kids are happy is by providing a safe and loving environment where they feel accepted and respected. Additionally, model healthy behaviors, practice open communication, listen to their feelings without judgment, encourage them to take risks in life (within reason), and be there for them.
How do I know I am a good mother?
You will know you are a good mother when you’re doing your best. If you’re doing your best to provide love, consistency, support, and guidance for your children, then you are a good mother. However, it’s also important to recognize that there are times when things don’t always go as planned (and that’s okay). You’re doing great as long as you show up with an open heart and mind.
Some articles will cite that you know you’re a “good mom” when your kids always say please and thank you, share with other kids, and always do their homework on time. But the truth is, every child’s personality is different, so don’t hold yourself (or your child) to these ridiculous expectations.
How can I be nicer to my kids?
Being nicer to your kids is as simple as taking a few breaths before you react. We all have moments where we feel overwhelmed or frustrated, so recognize when these moments arise and try to reframe them with compassion. Additionally, practice being more mindful of your words and actions in the present moment. Lastly, take time regularly so you can return to your kids with restored energy and enthusiasm.
Overall, Trust Your Gut!
At the end of the day, you are doing a great job as a mother! We all make mistakes, but recognizing them and learning from them is the most important thing. Remember to be kind to yourself and lead with love. You’ve got this, mama.
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any to add? I’d love to hear from you!