As a mom, I have certain ideals about what being a “good mom” means. This usually comes from looking at what other moms are doing excellently and then aspiring to do likewise. Yet more often than not, I end up feeling that I’m sorely lacking.
But recently, I had a liberating a-ha moment that set me free from those negative thoughts and stopped the need to compare. I happened to enrol in an online program and in it, I learnt one very important lesson that totally shifted my perspective.
Often, we have the tendency to measure our efficacy as parents by looking at how much we are doing, such as the number of enrichment classes our kids attend, how many hours of home learning activities we do with our kids etc. But doing this also tends to stress us up.
During the course, I learnt a different way of looking at the whole parenting experience and redefining what being a good parent means.
I learnt that instead of looking at the nitty gritty of parenting, we should focus on the fruits we are bearing forth.
Take myself as an example. I used to compare myself with other moms and think about how I’m not measuring up – crafty moms can do so many fun, interesting craft projects with their kids while I struggled to think of even one activity; moms talented in cooking can whip up such great meals for their kids almost effortlessly and I don’t even really enjoy cooking, and the list goes on and on.
But now I learnt to stop thinking such thoughts and instead look at what fruits I’m producing in my child to see if I’m heading in the right directions.
So what if I can’t do crafts? I can let him experience art in other ways, such as bringing him to art exhibitions. After all, am I trying to bring up an artist? I don’t think so, unless that’s really his interest.
So what if I can’t cook great meals and make gorgeous-looking bentos? As long as my son is well-nourished and growing up healthy, that’s what matters.
In the same manner, if a mom has never changed diaper for her kid, does that make her a bad mom? But if her child is one of the happiest and most confident child you ever meet – that must mean she has done something great as a mom, didn’t she? At the end of the day, it’s the fruits that we see that’s what truly matters.
I’m so thankful for this important lesson. It allowed me to let go of some preconceived ideas of good parenting that are actually stressing me up and helped me to be a more relaxed and happier parent. And isn’t enjoying our parenting process as important as nurturing our kids to be the best person he or she can be?