It's the phrase that so many of us mothers
want to hear. Yet it also often evokes idealized visions of motherhood: visions
that don't exist in the real world.
Mothers with endless patience.
Mothers who have fulfilling careers and enough time in the day to clean, cook and make crafts that reflect their keen design sensibility. Mothers who are
perfectly organized. Mothers who make all the right medical, school and
parenting-style choices for their children. Mothers who volunteer for all the
right programs and events in their children’s lives. Mothers who have polite,
endearing and talented kids. Mothers who are gorgeous, fit and radiantly
happy. Mothers who have completely satisfying sex lives and active social
These conceptions of motherhood are so
Pinterest-board perfect that we mere mortal moms can only fail when it comes to
meeting all their impossible standards.
In my head, I know all of this. But in my heart, I
sometimes yearn to hear that I’m a “good mom.” I hate to admit it. I wish that
I could help it. But I can’t.
“You’re a good mom.” That’s all I want to hear.
Thus, if I cannot completely dismantle the notion of
good motherhood, perhaps I—and all of us—can disentangle this notion from any
and all strains of perfectionism. Because there are a million ways to be a good
mom and none of them involve being perfect.
So how might a person be a good mom?
Good moms can hate every second of their agonizing
Good moms can feel like pregnant goddesses for an
entire nine months and wish that they could be pregnant forever.
Good moms can feel indifferent about the whole
Good moms can choose the maternity care providers and
birth settings that are right for them.
Good moms can have regrets over how and with whom they
Good moms can have vaginal births. Cesarean sections.
VBACs. Repeat c-sections. Home births. Hospital births. Births with doctors or
midwives. Unmedicated births. Epidural births.