Thursday, May 10, 2012

Am I A Good Mom?

In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share one of my favorite posts. I wrote this post last year; a post centered on the question, "Am I A Good Mom?" I updated it for this year. My hope is that this post will bring you much freedom in your mothering.

I also wanted to let you know that Rob and I will be speaking at our church this Sunday, Mother's Day, on "When Motherhood Isn't Easy". Our hope is that this message will bring encouragement to mothers as they wrestle with the often times mundane, lonely, tiring, overwhelming tasks of raising kids. Please know you are welcome to join us. We meet at Raleigh Vineyard at 10am. Dress is very casual. And without further ado, here is the post on "Am I A Good Mom?"
. . .
I have always struggled with whether I was a good mom.

I think it began hours after my first child was born. I had planned on natural childbirth. I had written a birth plan. I had made my husband promise he was going to communicate my wishes to the hospital staff.

And then after 36 hours of labor, I had a c-section. And the lies started immediately: good moms have natural birth with no drugs, no epidurals, and certainly not c-sections.

Or perhaps it was when the teacher, who had all 3 of my older kids for kindergarten, told me that I parent all my kids the same way. She said I was really good at training their heart. And what I heard was, "But you aren't good at training their mind."

I had taught my kids to be respectful and responsible, but I did not teach them their abcs, letter sounds, or how to count to 100. Some kids even came to kindergarten reading; mine could barley recognize their printed name. Oh the guilt over how were they going to find their cubby or desk if they could not recognize their name!

Or maybe it was when I realized I do not have this soft, cuddly, nurturing side to me. When I was at the playground, I saw other moms run to their children when they fell down. I just say, "Hop up. You're OK." Nothing in me wants to scoop them up and kiss their boo boo.

I have never ooohed and ahhhed over babies, mine or others'.

I don't want to hold your new baby.

I still, after 5 kids, cannot change a diaper without gagging.

I have never talked baby talk.

Hugging and cuddling and kissing do not come naturally to me; I'm not a touchy person.

I set the timer and read to my preschoolers. Otherwise, I would never think to do that.

I set the timer when I play house or dolls with my girls or I would play for 2 minutes and be done. I never really delighted in the play of kids.

And for some reason all the above is what I equated motherhood too.

And I struggled.

I always questioned should I be doing this mom thing.

The picture Parent magazine and Family Fun painted for me, the picture of mom and child creating sweet memories, baking cookies and playing make believe and giggling on the couch together. . .none of that looked like much fun to me.

And then God showed me that he gave me these 5 kids. He picked me out to be their mom. He chose me, not some other woman. More importantly, these children belong to God and He is watching over their lives.

And that is where my confidence comes from.

And so I do not enjoy playing pretend, but I am good at role modeling a life that lives passionately and authentically.

And so I do not oooh and aaah over a baby or want to hold a newborn (even my own), but I am good at looking my kids in the eye and affirming them with "I like who you are! I am proud of who you are! I like how God made you! or "I am so glad you were born!"

And so I may not have this soft cuddly "come here and let me kiss it" nurturing side to me, but I am good at nurturing the individual gifts and unique talents each child has. I am good at dreaming big with my kids and for my kids. I can see the possibilities of their future.

And reading to my kids is not fun to me, but having real and honest conversations with my kids is. Just a few days ago Brooke and I talked about kissing boys before you were married and it was natural and comfortable and fun.

I rest in the fact that God loves my kids more than I do. He longs to protect them more than I do. I can never meet all the needs of my kids, no matter how hard I try to anticipate them or prepare for them or be intentional about parenting. Only God can meet every need. This brings me much confidence.

I am simply a vessel God uses. I am thankful He is bigger than my inadequacies, limitations, mistakes, and weaknesses. And that has brought much freedom to me. I can relax. I can enjoy my kids.

And that is my wish for you and me this Mother's Day.

I wish us freedom. I wish us the ability to move in that freedom knowing that God made each of us and gave each of us unique gifts. He delights in the woman and the mom each of us is.

I wish us release from guilt.

I wish us to stop comparing ourselves to other moms, to each other, to those Pinterest images and to those blogs. I wish that we would be free from discontent and the lie that “I am not good enough.”

I wish that we would see ourselves the way God sees us, women who were made to be the moms of our kids.

image found here

Happy Mother's Day!! You are a good mom!!

I shared this post at my favorite linky parties at these blogs: Women Living Well, We Are That Family, and Serenity Now.


  1. OK, you made me cry. Good reminder - God gave my kids to me - for a purpose. Thanks Su.

  2. AMEN! :) -Danielle M

  3. Thank you for sharing your version of Motherhood and thank you for your honesty and proving that there are all different kinds of mothers but the love is the same!
    Happy Mothers Day to you, too.
    Lorri H

  4. Great blog post! I laughed at how I related to a lot of it especially "I do not want to hold your baby". So true. Then I laughed b/c just this morning, as I am pulling into school a few min late, I said "Why is it so crowded?" and my son said "cuz it was muffins and moms today!". Ugh - totally missed it. Nice! -JM

  5. Love this! Love you!

    Amy C.

  6. Su here. I wanted to share the below email with ya'll. It encouraged me and thought it might do the same for you. This mom is a few steps ahead of me. Her oldest is in college and her youngest is headed to 9th grade. Here is her response to this blog post:

    Oh Su, this is so good.

    You are doing a terrific job as a mom with just the beautiful qualities you own and know how to express best. Your children have big hearts and are sweet, compassionate, funny, friendly and very smart. They will be successful in anything they do.

    For me becoming a mother was like, why not? let's have one! (just like the wedding, I really didn't want or needed to get married) but I said, why not! No detailed planning, no special requirements at the hospital, just the let's see what happens next. (I did change my mind when the first labor pain came along and as a cry baby, I demanded they give me Demerol and the epidural asap)

    I could tell a new mom:
    Who cares if it's natural, c-section, adopted, in vitro, if you breastfeed, if you feed them formula. . .none of these standards make you a better mom.

    But I did have a problem when my brother in law who had never seen a pooped diaper or cared for a feverish child in his entire life (he is 48 and does not have any kids) would tell my hubby and I that having our kids sleep in a Sleeping Beauty 4 x4 tent in the house was stupid and wrong. I was very vocal in telling him to please reserve his thoughtful suggestions and share them back with us when he had a child or a dog. Then I would maybe be receptive.

    Beyond this, I guess it's just my personality, but I have never cared about what other mothers (people) said about me, thought about my kids (as long as they were not been disrespectful.

    I've always worked, so being isolated in the volunteer meetings or PTA meetings because I could not engage in a conversation about the latest brownie recipe, or snacks for t-ball practice, or when a mom would sarcastically say...... "copying a PPT presentation of our kids performance in a DVD? that is Russian to me! I am a stay at home mom and we don't do that." (computers were not as popular back then in the home) never bothered me.

    And like you, I was very relaxed about not running to kiss their boo boo's when they got hurt. It was how I was raised, get up and go, you're fine.

    In the end we are doing the best we can and in comparison to so many kids out there, our children have it all and more!

    That is one thing I never cease to ingrain in their mind and heart: to always be grateful, never judge & assume, and always give unconditionally. I'm sure our children no matter what mistakes they make (and I also believe they have to make these mistakes to learn from the experience) will turn out great!

    Love ya!
    Happy Mommy's Day!

  7. this made me cry... thank you for that...



  8. Jennifer MillerMay 6, 2011 at 9:48 PM


    I was tearing up as I read your post - all of it is so true. Women (in general) have a terrible habit of judging one another instead of loving one another and I think that attitude contributes to how we view our "success" as moms.
    I know I will always feel that there are some moms who are just much better than I am at staying home - sigh. BUT it is exactly as you said !God chose to give my children to me! That was His plan and His blessing; who am I to question it?
    Have a really great Mother's Day! And just for the record, I think you're a terrific Mom (and my kid couldn't make letter sounds when he started kindergarten either).

  9. We all have preconceived notions of what a good parent is. As long as the kids are fed, have a roof over their head, and loved, you've got the basic ingredients of being a good mom.

    All my best,


  10. Thank you. Thank you! THANK YOU! There are so many times I feel inadequate as a mother. Your honestly and humility in posting this has reminded me that they ARE God's children and he CHOSE me because he knew I had what they needed to grow into the men He has planned them to be.

  11. Wow Su. That is the best mother's day gift ever. You are such a talented writer. Very honest and uplifting. Thank you, friend.
    Happy Mother's Day. -Carla

  12. You and I are a bit different; I am chasing my children around with books and I ALWAYS want to hold the babies. But even so, I think what you have to say here is SO very true. There are standards we hold ourselves to, and that society holds us to, that we will never live up to. That maybe we weren't ever meant to live up to. Love comes in many forms. Thanks so much for adding this beautiful and wonderfully written post to the Mother's Day party, it is such a lovely encouragement.

  13. Wow - just what I needed! I just told my husband in the car today that I was having a mid-life crisis this Mother's Day! That I thought I would know, at 41, the things to say to my kids when life throws a hard curveball, or how to keep my house clean and organized or how to discipline my kids or even what to discipline them for! Really thought I would have this thing down by now. I, too, dislike most of the same things you do and find myself second-guessing why I am not more huggy or crave barbie time with my six year old (totally rocks her world when I do - I just can't stand it!).
    Thanks for your honesty and for everyone else's comments!

  14. Hey, Su!

    ‘Just had to tell you how much I enjoyed your blog post today … thanks for being so honest and so transparent. I have to tell you, even though you don’t need me to tell you, that I think that you are an amazing mother. May God continue to bless you and your family!! -MJ

  15. Hi Su,
    Thanks for sharing this encouraging post in the faith jam! May God continue to bless your heart and your words!

  16. I can identify with so many of your feelings. Thank you for sharing. (I just found your blog, so this is way past Mother's Day, I know.) A book that I really enjoy and that has helped me come to terms with my special gifts as a mother is -MotherStyles- by Janet P. Penley.

  17. Thank you for sharing this. I needed this more than you know. If it's alright with you I'm going to pass this on to a few friends who need freedom as well.


  18. Your smiles are infectious. What a gorgeous family. Happy Mothers Day to you too! I found you through ywam Ethiopia. What a journey, what a story! Thanks for sharing. I'm encouraged!

  19. oh how I relate to all you said! I don't love babies either, or like playing much with kids. I don't wish time would stand still so they would never grow up. and with the difficulties of finding a new normal with a second child when my first is a full-blown strong-willed drama queen made me think it had all been a mistake, that I wasn't cut out to be a mom. Thanks for your encouragement. God's been working the same lessons into my heart in this age of Pinterest, perfection and constant comparisons. Love ya!


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