My grandma is visiting from out of town for Christmas and New Year’s. She’s staying with my parents, who live near me and who I’m spending a lot of time with during the holiday season as well. Today she told me that I’m an exceptional mother.
I didn’t like it.
It’s not that I don’t think I’m a good mom. I try to be. I have room to grow, and there are certainly days where I don’t feel like I’m a good mom, but when I look at it realistically I recognize that I’m doing just fine. I don’t think I’m particularly exceptional, certainly not in any way that other good moms aren’t.
See, it’s not hard to identify a bad mom. With few exceptions (because I’m sure someone could tell me a story where someone was an exception), bad moms are moms who abuse their children. Moms who neglect their children. Moms who abandon their children. Moms who are too lazy to actually parent their children.
It’s a lot harder to identify the traits that make someone a good mom. Why? Good moms make decisions differently. Good moms have different parenting philosophies, different methods, and different ways of doing things. Good moms make mistakes, sometimes big ones. Good moms sometimes don’t know better and they sometimes don’t make the best decision, although they don’t generally do so knowing that they should have known better or that a better decision could have been made.
I have my opinions on parenting, relationships, and family. I tend to form strong opinions, especially when I’ve taken the time to research the opinion and find it to be valid.
However, I’ve also found it very important to both recognize my own fallibility and to recognize that other parents generally have good intentions and are trying to be good parents, even if I think or know that they’re wrong in a certain area. And that’s where grace, patience, and sometimes the ability to just end an unproductive conversation can be important. It’s also why I don’t think I’m an “exceptional” mom; so many parents are trying just as hard as I am, or even harder, and may or may not be doing things the same way I am. If I’m exceptional for trying to be a good parent, then that makes all those other parents exceptional as well.
I will sometimes share my opinions on parenting philosophies on this blog. I’m going through this parenting mess, after all, and it’s just part of life. I just happen to be doing this parenting thing while trying to create a homestead and raise my children with a little more DIY know-how and home-grown foods than the average kid. So please know that, even if a philosophy or opinion I hold is different than yours, I’d probably still think you’re a good parent if I got to know you or read your blog about it, and I hope we can all give each other courtesy and support in that.