Do you find yourself constantly rating yourself as a mother? Do you think you judge yourself too harshly against your own mom, friends and maybe even the mom you used to be? There are many reasons we judge our selves but none of them are helpful.
Let’s release some of that judgment that isn’t serving us. Let’s take a look at the three main people we may be comparing ourselves to dive into why it’s not helpful and how we can stop once and for all.
If you prefer to listen, then check out the podcast episode below where I discuss this exact topic.
Constantly Rating Yourself as a Mom
Maybe it’s that we had an unrealistic idea of what motherhood would be like (me, raising me hand!) or maybe it’s that society has placed unattainable expectations on motherhood but either way, mother’s have never been harder on themselves as they are in 2022.
From the moment we conceive, the comparison and judgement begins. Are you drinking coffee? That could cause a miscarriage! Are you eating deli meat? That could cause botulism! Are you sleeping on your back? That could cause the baby to have lack of oxygen!
It’s exhausting and that’s only the beginning. After the baby is born and grows for 18 years you will undoubtedly try to make the best choice for what you feed your child, how they sleep, what they wear, what they watch, what they participate in, what grades they get. I could seriously type 50 more examples.
With all these choices, it’s hard not to put certain ones on a pedestal as “the best choice” or worse “the right choice”. You barometer for if you are a good mom will heavily rely on these choices. But even as you make the best choices you can make with the info you have, the time and money at your disposal and the temperament of your child, you’ll still probably wonder “Am I a good mom?”
Things I Rate Myself as a Good Mom
- How much screen time my kids get
- How much active time they get
- How healthy they eat
- How smart they are
- Did they make their milestones at the appropriate age
Judging Yourself Against Your Own Mom
New moms fall into one of two camps. The first camp is the one who had an amazing mom and wants to be just as incredible as she was. The second has a not so great relationship with her mom and wants to do everything the opposite of how she was raised.
No matter which camp you fall into, comparing yourself to your own mother is never a good idea. First off, I’ve found it’s so hard to compare any generation to the next. Moms who raised kids in the 80s and 90s just don’t have the same struggles we have. Plus, you’re mom might not have the same life as you have depending on finances and family support.
Even if you’re lives were incredibly similar, only you can be the mom to your kids in the best way possible. Only your love and encouragement are going to mold them into who they are truly meant to be. So if you don’t do everything like your mom, or you do a few too many things like your mom, cut yourself some slack and know that you are doing the best right thing.
Comparing Your Motherhood Style to Your Friends
When you have a lot of mom friends, you become privy to many ways of parenting. Undoubtedly you will come across a mom who barely uses screens, another who makes all of her kids food from scratch and a third who spends hours playing with her kids every day. (If you find a mom who does all three, run! She’s a pod person.)
Ways Mom Friends Inadvertently Make You Question Yourself
It can be easy to compare yourself to these friends and think that you’re not doing enough. Annie reads to her kids 3-4 times a day, now you feel like you need to bust out Goodnight Moon all the time. Jody makes all organic, homemade meals and now you feel like crap anytime you hit up a drive-thru.
But here’s the thing, we all feel this way! I’m sure Jody questions “Am I a good mom?” when she sees that you take your toddler to a baby class three times a week. It’s safe to say Annie questions herself when you tell her you and your infant have started learning Baby Sign Language. None of us can do it all and we’re all doing a great job.
Using your friends for inspiration can be great, maybe Jody has some awesome easy recipes to share that keep her from being an Uber Eats VIP. I’m sure Annie has some great kid book recommendations. That’s how you grow as a mom, by being inspired. Not by being saddled with constant mom guilt over all the things you can’t accomplish.
When you make mom friends, build each other up over the things you see them doing well. Applaud their efforts, make them feel seen. Then proceed with life and know that a 4-piece Chicken McNugget has 10 grams of protein- whoop whoop!
Wishing You Could Be the Mom You Were 5 Years Ago
Things You Did With Your First That You Can’t do with Your Third
- Take every baby class that’s offered. Now you have two school drop-offs to factor in plus homework and after school activities.
- Give them your full, undivided attention. When one kid is asking for a snack, the other needs math homework help and the baby wants you to snuggle them on the couch, you can’t meet everyone’s needs. Do your best and leave the rest.
- Have unlimited patience. Oh how I wish I could have bottled the patience I had with my first and use it on the third. My oldest daughter got the best of me in her toddler years and the baby gets the worst. But I find that these things come out in the wash on the long road of motherhood. The baby will get all over me when he’s in high school and the older two are away at college. And my middle will get a little bit of both. (Plus she was born to be the middle- thank you universe)
Birth order effects our personality traits, point blank. Not for better or worse, it’s just the way things are. Mothers cannot be a perfect clone of themselves for roughly 25 years of parenting. You are a good mom to your first and a good mom to your last but you’re not the same mom to any of them.
This is just one of those things you need to let go. Trust me, I speak from experience. My best friend had her first baby the DAY before I had my last. Both bouncing baby boys. She’s an incredible mother and we’re so alike in many ways.
Don’t Look Back
When I see they way she parents her son, I can easily get hard on myself. Why can’t I be like that anymore? Where did my patience, resolve and wonderment go? I don’t know, maybe I’ll look under the 10 loads of laundry and pile of school papers that need to be addressed.
The truth is, the mom I was seven years ago no longer exists. I am proud AF of her and she served me in so many ways. But she evolved, she grew, she has seen some things! The mom I am today rarely sweats the small stuff and knows that any brand of diapers will do. I can’t go back and that’s a good thing.
Embrace who you are today. What you lack in organization, you make up for with ingenuity. What you lack in patience you make up in humility. What you lack in clean clothes, you make up in being really good at cleaning a shirt in the sink with minimal wetness.
Let’s Stop Asking Ourselves “Am I a Good Mom?” and Trust That We Are
Ending mom guilt and judgement starts with us. We’re paving the way for how our daughters will mother, let’s show them how to live authentically and from a place of self love. You are a great mom, the only one who doubts it is you.
Celebrate the other good moms in your life and release the comparison trap. I encourage you to write down all the things you do in motherhood that you’re proud of. Journal on how each of these things are shaping your kids. Look at that list and smile. Are you a good mom? Hell yes!
Taran is a self-proclaimed undomestic mom. She thrives as a stay-at-home-mom by consistently carving out time for herself and practicing realistic self-care. As a busy mom of 3, she knows that if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! With a focus on how SAHMs can carve out time for themselves everyday, she teaches fellow SAHMs how they can do the same.