Moms these days. It seems like they're always in competition about some thing or another, doesn't it? What one does, the other thinks is the worst thing ever. And what one doesn't do makes another think they're an absolutely horrendous parent. Or so it seems.
At the end of the day, we all just want to do the best job we can as parents; be the greatest mom or dad we're capable of being. But with these incredibly irritating "mommy wars" that seem to always be raging on, it doesn't always feel quite that simple. We can be made to feel inadequate or like we're not parenting our child like we should. And that's not cool. But here's the thing: Being a good mom isn't as hard (or as controversial) as it seems. It actually is quite simple.
Here are 10 things that do and don't make you a good mom.
Things that don't make you a good mom:
1. Breastfeeding. Yes, breast is best and it's the most wonderful nutrition for your little one. But no, it's not what makes you a "good mom". (Especially if you shame those who don't do it -- you know who you are!) I nursed my daughter and it was a beautiful thing. But so was giving her a bottle of formula. Didn't feel like I loved or cared about her any more either way.
2. Giving birth naturally. If you gave birth in a pool of swans without a drug in sight, I salute you, my friend. Not sure I could do that. But that's not what makes you a good parent. Of course no drugs is best, but at the end of the day, that's not the thing that's going to make you a good mother. Do you see what I'm saying here?
3. Cosleeping or having your child sleep through the night soundly in a crib. Every family is different. What works for you doesn't necessarily work for someone else. Just because you sleep in bed with your baby doesn't mean you have a deeper bond. And just because your child sleeps like a champ at night in his crib doesn't mean you're a great teacher. There's much more to parenting than how your kid sleeps.
4. Making all of your baby's food. I've pretty much made every morsel of food that's gone into my daughter's mouth, but guess what? There are days I actually think it made me a worse mom. Yes, she was getting great nutrition, but I put so much pressure on myself to whip up batches of kale and squash when the packaged stuff would have been fine on occasion. When you get home from work, making baby food isn't fun. But you know what is? Spending time with your baby.
5. Having a baby who hits their milestones early. If your baby emerged from the womb with neck control and the ability to drink out of a straw, respect. But that doesn't make you a good parent. It means your kid got lucky in that department. And something that really doesn't make you a good mom is making other moms feel uncomfy if their kid is behind yours.
Things that do make you a good mom:
6. Patience. Parenting is nothing if not a test of patience. And the more you have of it, the smoother everything for you -- and your child -- will go. When you have boatloads of patience, you possess the ability to be both a great example and a great teacher to your child.
7. Understanding your child. Something I learned very early on into motherhood was that my baby was different from my friends'. She didn't like being swaddled; my friends' did. She hated the swing; my friends' loved it. She was obsessed with being held facing outward; my friends' didn't. Once I realized and accepted that she was her own person, it was much easier to parent. I didn't compare her to other children. I got to know what worked for her, as that's all that mattered.
8. Knowing the difference between what your child needs and what they want. When your baby is an infant, their wants and needs are the same. They want/need to be held, fed, changed, and sleep. But the older they get, that's not the case. It's our job as parents to decipher the two and know when to give them what.
9. Not judging. You can be the most organized, together, on-top-of-it mom on the block, but if you judge other people, you're not being a good example to your kid. Plain and simple: That's not a good trait. It's not always easy, but strive to be the best version of yourself as often as you can. You can do it! It just takes practice.
10. Letting your child know how crazily, insanely, psychotically you love them. Yes, there's such a thing as spoiling and smothering, but no, there's no such thing as loving your child too much. Tell -- and show -- your children you love them somuch every day. If you can't seem to get anything else down pat, this will more than suffice.
What do you think makes a good mother?