It’s been three weeks now since Anni tagged me to participate in the #RockingMotherhood challenge. I hadn’t forgotten about the challenge–I was just thinking.
Because it IS a challenge, in a society that’s hell bent on making mothers feel that they are never quite good enough, to focus on the positive. And it can be intimidating to toot one’s own horn, especially since I just did not long ago. Plus I am a perfectionist, and am far more likely to be berating myself for my motherhood failures than congratulating myself on my wins.
So to get myself in the proper frame of mind, I decided to ask the people who ought to really know the answer to this question: my family.
My big kids all wanted time to think up a good answer. I’m still waiting. But William’s answer to the question: “How am I a good mother?” was just what I needed: “How AREN’T you a good mother?”
Seriously, y’all, William is my biggest cheerleader.
Lorelei said, “You feed me,” but that’s a pretty low bar for motherhood, I have to say. She did add, “You look at my pictures,” and allowed that I could translate that into, “You support my artistic pursuits,” which I think I can work with.
John had two answers, and since they were the two things I’d already thought of myself, I considered it a sign that I was on the right track. (I marked those with a *.)
So here, without further ado, is the list of some ways I am #RockingMotherhood.
- I am a good advocate for my children.* William has an IEP. I show up at meetings with an intimidating-looking binder full of research/ammunition and an attitude. Yes, I am That Mom. I don’t care if anyone at the school likes me and some of them probably don’t, but most of them understand and appreciate parents who educate themselves and are engaged in their children’s education. I was not always as good at this as I am now, which leads me to my next point . . .
- I learn from my mistakes. I am not under some kind of illusion that I know everything about parenting. In fact, as the years go on I really feel like I know less and less. I don’t see anything wrong with apologizing when I don’t get it right, or with changing my approach from kid to kid or even from week to week.
- I have (mostly) figured out the truly important aspects of parenting teenagers.* You can read more about that here.
- I know how to provide the right kind of support for my adult kids. I didn’t tell my big kids where to go to college. I didn’t tell them what classes to take or what to major in. I don’t pry into their personal affairs or tell them more than once that I disagree with a choice they have made. I DO give advice when requested, feed them when they are hungry, help them with adult things they haven’t learned about yet, and provide financial support when requested if I can.
- I celebrate and support my kids’ interests, even when I don’t share them. It’s easy for me to support Emily’s interests in literature and writing, since I love those things too. It’s harder to remain enthralled by William’s fascination with all things Godzilla. But I listen and learn. I consider it a privilege that my kids want to share their passions with me. And you know what? You can develop an interest in anything that is loved by the people you love, if you try hard enough.
- I don’t live a life that revolves around my children. My kids know that my relationship with their father is important and that he and I will be spending time away from them frequently. They know that I need time alone. They know that I have interests and passions and they are expected to pay attention if I want to share about those just as I listen when they tell me about their passions.
- I model faith, morals, values, and principles. My kids have seen me go to Mass every Sunday and they’ve watched me march for causes I believe in. We have conversations about politics, ethics, philosophy, and theology. They know I am a person of strong opinions and they know what I think about things. With this foundation, they are learning how to think (not WHAT to think), and the importance of having their own strong beliefs in these areas and standing up for them.
- I love my children and they KNOW that I love them. That may sound like another baseline requirement for motherhood–and I truly believe it’s a rare mother who doesn’t love her child–but the second part is just as important. They have to know they are loved, just as they are and no matter what. They have to be hugged and kissed and listened to and affirmed, and I am confident that I have done all those things, notwithstanding the impatience and the screaming and the inconsistent discipline and all the many other mistakes that I have made.
Here’s where I tag other bloggers to participate in this #RockingMotherhood challenge!
- Thank the blogger who tagged you, and provide a link back to them;
- List 10 things (plus, or minus) you believe make you a good mother;
- Tag some other bloggers to participate in the challenge.
I picked these ladies because I KNOW they are rocking motherhood–but there’s no punishment for not participating in the challenge! And if you weren’t tagged, feel free to tell me how you rock right here in the comments.
And here, by the way, is my actual MEDAL for being a good mother–part of a custom necklace that my sister gave me for Christmas, made from an antique French medal still given out to mothers of many kids today.