You see that mom calmly talking her obstinate toddler down from a tantrum? Yeah, I’m nothing like her. Or that mom who’s organizing school fundraisers, hosting epic birthday parties, and driving all over the planet for that sold-out Elsa costume? I’m not like her either.
I’m a yelly mom, an insecure mom, and a serious mom. And even though I’m also a loving mom, a devoted mom, and a mom who’s undoubtedly trying her best, I can’t help but wonder whether my best is good enough.
“I worry about that all the time,” my friend and mom of three admitted, “I ask myself whether this will screw them up or if that will. Any minute I feel like someone’s going to swoop in and pull my mom card because I’m screwing up so bad.”
“How do we ever know we’re doing a good job?” she asked, “Are we just supposed to wait and see how they turn out and hope for the best? By then it’s too late!”
Our exchange left me wondering about our measure of success in motherhood. Are there “good job, mom” whispers like tiny gold stars to be collected along the way? And if there are, what do they look and sound like? Are they good grades or a “please” and “thank you?” Can they be found in our children’s caring hearts, boundless ambition, or desire to do the right thing? Or do we really have to wait until they’re grown to somehow know for sure?
I reached out to my fellow moms for their measures of maternal success and this is what they said.