First of all, let us be clear- YOU ROCK ALREADY. Your kids don’t care whether you made homemade brownies for the bake sale or whether you spent 1,110 hours creating cut-out dinosaurs on the Cricut for their birthday party. You keep your kids fed. You keep your kids safe. You kiss them and hug them and love them and sometimes they eat candy and sometimes they eat kale and THAT IS ENOUGH. So if you’re asking yourself how to be a better mom, lady, we’ve got news for you- you are the best mom your kids could ever have. Period.
We asked a lot of amazing mommies just like you to tell us about the mothers in their lives- their mamas, their friends, their kids’ aunties and the random mommies they pass in Target who are keeping their cool while their child goes feral. And we were so, so happy to see that it isn’t always the BIG things that make a person a great mother. It’s the little things, done sweetly (or even begrudgingly!), on a regular basis that shows your kids that you are there for them. And if your kids don’t notice it? Well, WE notice it, and odds are, the other people in your life do, too.
So keep on keeping on, Mama. You are doing an AMAZING job. Here are twelve ways that you are probably rocking this #momlife without even knowing it.
1. You Meet Their Basic Needs
We got so many submissions about the ways moms take care of their littles. One Mama was unable to breastfeed, but continued to pump every three hours- everywhere from Target to amusement parks- to give her baby what she felt was best. Some are expert cooks (Darlene told us about a mother who bakes from scratch every day- fancy things like homemade sourdough and scrumptious muffins), and some are keeping up a steady supply of goldfish crackers. There are mamas who meal plan and mamas who go to the extra expense of buying pre-prepped food so their kids can have a quick dinner after everyone gets home from work and school. No matter what your kids are eating on the day to day, you are keeping them fed. And that counts for a LOT.
2. You Set a Good Example
The Modern Mama is a total ass-kicker. Our community is full of Mompreneurs, working mothers, and ladies with a side-hustle. We’ve got mothers who have recently graduated from school (Congratualtions, Laura!), and mothers who are running their own businesses. We have mothers who still pursue their own interests, are amazing role models for their children, and model healthy adult relationships for their littles. Your strengths shine through you, and your children see it. They are watching you, and you are showing them that they can make a life that they love for themselves.
3. You Overcome Adversity
Wowza. Some of you have been through a LOT. Cancer, divorce, illness, solo parenting, and job loss affect so many people, and mothers are fortunately not exempt from this group though (Seriously though, we should be exempt from ALL of it). And through it all, the mothers we heard about are holding their heads high, regrouping, and finding new ways to survive and thrive. They are showing their families that you can feel big feelings, and experience immense challenges, and still come through to the other side. The odds are not always in our favor, but your love for your kids and your commitment to care for them in spite of those odds are always present.
4. You Make Their Life Exciting
Ahhh, the Pinterest moms. The moms with the adorable birthday parties, the coolest art projects, and the impeccable nurseries certainly deserve some credit. But so do the pillow fight mommies, and the go-on-adventure parents, and the mothers who pull their kids out of school sometimes for an extra special day. There are a million ways to make a kid’s life special, and only you know what will give your child a unique thrill. And odds are, you do that thing on a semi-regular basis. And if that’s not killing it, I seriously have no idea what is.
5. You Help Others
There are so many ways to give back to others, and these small kindnesses do not go unnoticed- either by your kids or by those around you. We heard stories about mothers who, though money and time may be tight, make meals for friends with new babies. We heard about mothers who run Mommy Groups or host meetings so that others won’t feel so alone. Mommies who take each other’s children to give their friends the rest they need, and mommies who chaperone school trips and volunteer in classrooms. In big ways and in small ways, moms regularly give back to those around them (and not just their children!).
6. You Foster Independence
Whether it’s letting your kids play by themselves for a while or teaching them the life skills they need, training our kids to do things on their own is crucial to their long-term success. One mommy taught her kids to make their own sandwiches, and another is instituting a new chore system (even though it’s driving her crazy, we know it will be worth it in the long run!). We insist that they put on their own shoes sometimes, even if it takes ten minutes extra. And we cry just a little bit as we realize they don’t need us in ALL the ways anymore.
7. You Teach Them
From riding their bike to letters and words, a mother is a child’s very first teacher. Even if you don’t sit down for formal instruction, mothers are constantly singing, reading, and playing with their littles. You teach them how to talk and to walk, and then eventually to drive and balance their bank accounts. There are a thousand things you have already taught your kids, and they are better off for it.
8. You Take Care of Them When They Are Sick
From the little things like pink eye and head colds, to the big things that surgical procedures and specialist appointments, you do what you need to do to take care of your sick little ones. And odds are, you are doing these things on an empty tank and very little sleep. Because kids don’t care if you have the flu, too. Nope, you just have to lie there on the kitchen floor with them, dispensing Tylenol and mopping up their sweaty foreheads with a cool cloth. And the incredible thing is, we do it. Even when we think we don’t have one ounce more to give, we find it, and we give it to the little ones who need it the most.
And don’t even get me started on all the dentist appointments we take them to.
9. You Don’t Give Up
Good grief, but motherhood can be hard. It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of never feeling like you are enough, and constantly trying to figure out how to be a better mother. You can drive yourself crazy (or at the very least, drive yourself to drink, which we mostly recommend). There is the sometimes-monotonous life of a Stay at Home Mom, and the hectic life of a working mother, and the “the best of both worlds” (that can sometimes feel like the WORST of both worlds) that is being a Work at Home Mom. Whatever path you’re on, we bet it’s exhausting, and still you get up every day, and you do it again.
10. You Love Them Fiercely
When it really boils down to it, there’s only one thing you really need to be a good mom- and that’s an intense love for your kids. You don’t have to be Mary Poppins, and you don’t have to be a Tiger Mom (although KUDOS to you if you are). All it takes is a strong desire to do what’s best for your children, a lot of love, and about a hundred thousand hugs and kisses. And we KNOW you love your babies. And mama, that is ENOUGH.
A huge thank you to all the ladies out there who took the time to nominate their friends, sisters, and mothers on Facebook and Instagram. The world can always use more kindness, and we love your willingness to celebrate the mothers in your life! And on this Mother’s Day, and every day, we also want you to be kind to yourself. See the good that you bring to the world, and especially to your children’s lives. They are so, so lucky to have you.