All Kinds of Good Mothers

So here's my question and the heart of this particular entry....what is a good mother?  By far, I think it's easier to determine the qualities of a bad mommy.  We recognize those without a lot of debate.  We are quite opinionated about the characteristics of a good mother and it has led to a most disturbing trend that needs to go the way of the dinosaurs, double-knit polyester and New Coke.  Mommy shaming.  I'll not assume that all of you are familiar with the concept.  In fact, I'd like to hope that most of you are ignorant of it.  Just won't do to have y'all lingering in ignorance, so walk with me and I'll 'splain it to you, Lucy!

Mommy shaming, simply put, are attacks based on the various choices we have before us as mothers.  It's on every level:  how the baby is fed and how long that method is employed, where the baby sleeps, what kind of diapers, to/not to vaccinate, to/not to spank, public/private/home school, mommy full time at home/full time outside job.   I've even seen articles written that pit mamas who've delivered vaginally (Sorry, fellas!) against those who had C-sections!  It's NUTS!  I confess that in the ignorance of my youth, I threw around my opinions about motherhood pretty carelessly.  It pains me when I think about the damage I inflicted with my reckless speech. 

With a little time behind me and some actual REAL time in the trenches of motherhood, I like to think I have a better sense of perspective.  I realize that like all else in God's creation, each mother is unique unto herself.  None of us are identical copies of any other mother we know.  And that's ok.  In fact, it's more than's perfect.  We come to motherhood the same we come to the rest of our lives...shaped by our experiences, our likes, our dislikes, our fears, our strengths.  For us to be Stepford copies of each other would mean that our children would also be Stepford-esque.  God likes variety.  ALL of creation points to this...hippos, flamingos, turtles, butterflies, deserts, mountains, plains, coast line.  So, doesn't it stand to reason that we can expect this kind of variety to permeate motherhood?

Back to the original question:  what is a good mother?  I think we can all agree that a good mother is the one who realizes she is fallible and far from perfect.  She understands that raising good kids starts at birth.  She knows that the best way to raise a child who is kind, thoughtful, caring and selfless is to live that out in front of her child.  She knows that consistency is a very good thing.  She understands that her children need boundaries...that they crave the sense of safety that boundaries provides.  She understands that natural consequences are unavoidable and is willing to let her child feel the burn of poor matter how much it might hurt her heart and it WILL hurt.  She will put her child's needs ahead of her own.  She understands that there is an Enemy, who is relentless and will stop at nothing to devour her and her child.  So she remains diligent and ever watchful.  She doesn't worry about being her child's best friend.  Every day, she will try her best to do the best she can for her child.  Some days she will fall short of the mark and will go to bed in tears but understanding that the rising of the sun brings another chance.  Some days...and these are beautiful, golden moments...she will hit the bull's eye...straight on...and she will go to bed in tears, but these ones are happy.  She will find herself begging Time to slow down, but understands Time is deaf and constantly in forward motion. 

So here's to ALL the good mothers everywhere, be they crunchy granola, high tech, flip flop, cowboy boots, kitchen diva, take-out queen, hair-nails-and-feet did.  (Especially to the ones who had their hands in shaping this lava-like hot mess of a mother....the jewels in y'alls crowns for all that work ought to be something spectacular.)


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