What makes someone a good mother?
There are so many ways of raising children that I don’t believe there is one set method which, if followed, guarantees you will be a good mother.
I am a stay at home mum doing baby led weaning and controlled crying. This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that I believe any mother who works, weans on purées and follows the no crying rules is a bad mother. Every mum and every baby is different so there’s massive scope for variation.
My dear Miss Rose currently believes a good mother does everything her baby wants as soon as she wants it. Sooner in fact. If I could predict her every desire before she’s even had it and provide it instantly no matter what then she would consider me a good mother. As it is the poor lamb feels incredibly abused and neglected.
My husband has far lower standards. He says as long as I’m keeping her alive and healthy then I’m a good mother.
My mums best friend believes a good mother ensures her child is kept beautifully clean and plays Mozart daily, preferably herself on a piano or harp.
I am constantly surrounded by opinions and advice on what makes a good mother but I think i am one. I don’t cater to her every whim because I believe that would mean she grows up spoiled and brattish which, in the long run, would be detrimental to her. I don’t play her Mozart because she likes Billy Joel. I expose her to dirt for her immune system. I so far have managed to keep her alive and healthy (except for a cold she picked up at playgroup and is spreading round my house like the plague).
Mostly I feel like I’m a good mother because I am following the example set by someone who I truly believe is a good mother; my own mum.
My mum made some radically different parenting choices to me. We were laughing today as Miss Rose crushed, mushed, licked and smeared her way through her lunch time banana. My mum could never have done baby led weaning. We’ve talked about how much she missed by having to go back to work full time when I was six weeks old and how she got me onto the bottle whilst I continue to breastfeed. In some ways I do not follow in her footsteps at all, but as I say, I don’t believe these are the things that make a good or bad mother.
So what do I hope to emulate?
My mum has always let me know that no matter what I’ve done I can always come home. She has always believed in me and supported me. She has ensured I know that she loves me for who i am and I never need to be someone else to make her happy. My mum has hugged me and kissed me every day she has had the chance. She has comforted me in the middle of the night my whole life; as a child when I got nightmares, as a teenager when boyfriends dumped me, and as an adult when I’ve miscarried my baby. She has not once made me feel guilty for needing her comforting arms.
My mums wants my company. She seeks it out. She lets me talk to her like a best friend and respects me enough to give me her honest opinios. She expresses how much she misses me if we’re apart but would never force her way into my life, always waiting for an invitation which if not proffered is not pushed for.
The true signs she’s a good mum? I’m nearly thirty, I’m married, and I still choose to live next door to her, to see her every day, and i love her intensely. Perhaps the ultimate sign is that I want to be the kind of mother to Miss Rose that she is to me, and really, what better compliment could anyone offer a mum?
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!