What I Need to be a Good Mom

What I Need To Be a Good Mom

Motherhood seems to be a hot topic in recent weeks.

To start, last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Leading up to Mother’s Day, there was that controversial Time Magazine thing with a mom breastfeeding a four-year-old. “Attachment parenting” was the hot issue (I’ve never heard that term). Before that, I watched with amusement on the Colbert Report (because that’s where I get most of my political news) a couple of weeks ago about the off-handed comment of a political analyst. She said a certain stay-at-home mom who “hasn’t worked a day in her life” wasn’t qualified to make an assessment about the economy. Then there was some equally judgmental backlash to that comment from the other side of the campaign…

Yesterday I read an article in our local paper about “Mommy Wars” in the U.S. – people raging in debate about how to raise our children. Another new term for me.

I just sighed as I pondered how to proceed with this post. Want to know what my opinion is about all of this hot debate?

It’s ridiculous.


Yet there’s reason for debate. Mothers have questions that demand answers. Here are just a few of the questions I’ve encountered and will continue to encounter as my kids mature:

  • Should I work full time, or stay home or try to work part time?
  • Should I formula feed or breastfeed? When/how should I wean?
  • How should I train my kids to sleep, if at all? Should I let them “cry it out?”
  • Is it okay to use physical punishment, like spanking? How often? How hard? What other forms of discipline are good to use?
  • How much TV is okay to watch?
  • What should I feed my kids?
  • How should I potty train?
  • Should I send them to preschool? When?
  • Should I send them to public school? Private school? Home school?
  • How many activities should my kids be involved in?
  • How/when should we talk to our kids about sex?
  • Should they have curfews when they’re teenagers? When?
  • Is “grounding” appropriate for discipline for teens?
  • Should they be allowed to date? At what age? What kind of rules do we need in our home regarding the opposite sex?
  • Will it ever be okay to kick them out?
I have a few opinions. We’ve figured out what currently works for us. But as soon as I start making absolute statements about the ONLY way to approach parenting, I start getting into some murky, self-righteous, judgmental territory. And that helps…no one.
My friend Stephanie had a very poignant post about this a few weeks ago called What is the Best Parenting Style? Probably a Loving Style. In other words, are you doing everything you can to love your kids? Then you’re probably on the right track. You’re the parent. You decide what’s best.
But of course, even when you’re doing the best you can, you’re going to really screw it up. I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when Jonathan came within inches of impaling his face on a garden hoe that I carelessly hadn’t noticed was sitting at the bottom of some steps with its prongs pointing up.
So then, what do we do? As a mom, I’m faced with decisions every day, every hour! I’ve been pondering  this, and I’ve come up with the three most important things I have to have as a mom. In themselves, they aren’t exactly “answers” to all of those questions I just listed. But they point me in a good direction so I am equipped to make the best decisions for my kids.
1. A dynamic, growing relationship with God. I’ve got questions, and he’s got answers. If I’m not going to him with my issues, my fears, my hopes, my whatever about being a mom, I’m completely lost. I would probably be driving myself crazy consulting the Mommy Wars debates.
 
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
 
2. Unity in my marriage. Marc and I are a team – if we’re not working together on the biggest venture of our lives, we’re in trouble. We need constant communication. It would be too long to insert a quote here, but basically every marriage that is upheld in the Bible was a great partnership that often had to work through difficult issues (Abraham/Sarah, Boaz/Ruth, Joseph/Mary, Aquila/Priscilla, to name a few).
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, as there are many single moms and dads out there. All I have to say about them is – you’re my heroes. I couldn’t do this alone.
3. A strong support community. We have many people in our lives – family and friends – whose parenting styles we imitate and who offer feedback about all of those tough questions. Without them, I wouldn’t even know where to start.
 
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 (NIV)
 
I don’t have all the “right” answers to those tough questions. I’m going to continue making a lot of mistakes. But with these three things, I feel confident that at least I’m heading in the right direction.

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Hey, I'm Gina!

I’m a wife and mom of five, with kids ages toddler to teenager. I’m created in the image of God, made whole in Jesus. In this online space, I help others overcome the overwhelm all of us face when navigating this messy, beautiful journey we call life. Want to join us?

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3 Comments

  1. Steph

    Love it! And thanks for the plug haha!

    Reply
  2. Sheryll

    Good job my daughter!! I didn't have much of the three things you mentioned, and it was very hard and confusing. I am SO HAPPY that you are breaking the chain of the "neurotic" mothering that was passed on for generations in our family: No God.. no parenting partners… and no community/church support.

    Reply
  3. Gina @ Holding the Distaff

    Yes, well no promises that I'll never be neurotic, but I think we're hanging in there okay.

    Reply

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