Am I a good mom? Can I be a good mom to four kids? I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this lately, pondering that one question I needed an answer to before I can give birth. Sharing my thoughts with you feels awkward but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only woman who has questioned her ability to parent.
In fact, in my search for answers, I’ve become more curious about the lives of other moms of more than three kids. What can I learn from them to encourage me to take this leap with courage, even though I know I won’t have it all figured out?
People say that after child number three it’s all about the same. That numbers four, five, and six do not drastically change your lifestyle or make life more chaotic. Because, let’s face it, having three kids can make life a bit crazy some days! And yet, despite this reassurance, and despite the fact that I have God to support me, and that I love my children dearly, I still doubt myself.
I’ve been having difficulty disciplining my kids, because it seems that no method works effectively and many days of late have put me in survival mode. How am I supposed to mother another child well? Will God really give me enough peace of mind, patience, and wisdom to raise them?
Okay, so I’m definitely making myself vulnerable here. I do hope you know that I am very proud of each of my children, I love them desperately, and I’m so glad God has chosen me to be their mother. But parenting… motherhood… is hard, and I don’t always feel adequate for the job.
So I have asked myself, what is it that I’m really afraid of? Life is messy, but we love each other, so what is the big deal about this baby? While reading about the transition to parenthood in Birthing From Within by Pam England, it hit me – I’m afraid of losing control – of being outnumbered four to one, and feeling like I’m not in charge – of being overwhelmed by multiple developing characters and personalities, and not being able to maintain order.
Your successful evolution to parenthood depends largely on your accommodation to the vast changes which are unfolding beyond your control. Learning to accept loss of control is an integral part of both birth and motherhood/fatherhood. ~ Pam England
(She is of course talking about losing control over things that are okay not to have control over) But that is what new parents are supposed to be afraid of, not mothers of three, right? Perhaps, I’ve thought, my firm grasp of what that loss of control is like is why I have had a harder time coming to terms with my motherhood now.
In my more rational moments, I set aside my fears and look at the basic facts – I am human, I am not perfect, I love my kids, I do the best I know how for today, and I am still growing as a woman and mom which means tomorrow is a new day and I can use the hard lessons of today to be a better mom tomorrow.
I’ve also decided to look at the things I love about myself as mother. What makes me feel confident in my role? What do I do that makes me proud of myself? I don’t want to compare myself to other “good” or “bad” moms, but admitting the good things about myself does give perspective and hope.
One of the activities Pam England encourages is facing your fears – looking your tiger right in the eye and asking, what if it happens? What happens if I do lose control of my home and my kids are beating each other up or disobeying me again? How will I respond? Will the world end? What if I yell or cry in frustration – will I ruin my kids? Being truly honest about what I’m afraid of is helping me to see that I can step outside the situation and not be overwhelmed by it. I can find solutions, and most importantly, it is okay to express my frustrations appropriately. In fact, it’s healthy to do so.
Goodnight, Mother, it’s o.k. You didn’t win a prize for motherhood today, but it’s o.k. You haven’t ruined my development by one bad day. You sure were angry at the world! I learned a few new words (I won’t repeat!) Don’t worry, Mother – I felt your kiss. There’s always a tomorrow – Forgiving and forgetting are easy when I know that I am loved. ~ Ruth Reardon, Listening to the Littlest
What is a good mom anyway? Maybe we all have a different definition. It is good to have high goals, but at the same time, maybe having high expectations is more of a detriment to our self-esteem?
A good mom in my mind is one who is patient, kind, cheerful, and firm. She expects good behavior from her kids and knows how to form it in them. She plays with them, teaches them, but provides quiet time for reflective play and thought. Her home is neat, although not spotless, and she cares for her own needs so she has energy and enthusiasm for her family and life.
Some days I feel like I can see this happening in our family, and other days I feel like crap. I supposed that happens to the best of us! In the end, on the days when I need to restart, several times, I know that the most important thing I can do is love my children, because that is the foundation of motherhood. The rest will fall into place over time.
Do you worry if you’re doing right? So much advice, so many books – I grow so fast! Are you sometimes scared? Things balance out… Too much of this, too little of that. You try too hard, don’t try enough. Too far this way, too far the other. Of course you’ll make mistakes… but love is a great eraser! And things will always balance out because you car. ~ Ruth Reardon, Listening to the Littlest
Am I a good mom? Can I be a good mom to four kids? The answer is yes, but not because I have achieved the title of “perfect mom”, but because I love my kids and I want to keep growing as a mom, working out my motherhood one trial and triumph at a time. I do care how I train my children, and how my life influences them. I want the best for them, and I’ve made sacrifices and lost control over some issues to help them figure themselves out. I’ve dedicated all of my days to them, and I want to learn more about perfecting my role as mom. And those are the reasons I am a good mom, and will be no matter how many kids I am blessed with.
Now, please tell me I’m not the only one whose been here, because this may be the most transparent I’ve been about myself on this blog, and that’s not easy!