Are you a good mom? Or, will you be a good mom? If you just answered ‘no’, let me tell you, you are among the very few to admit that. Although many, don’t feel enough self-confident to instinctively answer ‘yes’, they kind of hope that they are. But what makes a good mom anyway? Who defines that? Does your child consider you a good mom? What your partner and other people think of your motherhood? We can’t really know what others think of you, or what you think of yourself. But we can tell you what a good mom is expected to do. I will refer to your child from now on, as ‘he’, not to make back and forth with pronouns.
- Keep him safe
Provide shelter for him. Keep him safe from cold, hot sun, rain, winds, etc. But also keep him safe from people. Unfortunately some prey on naive beings such as kids. Therefore you need to make sure to set boundaries to whom has access to your family. And also teach your kids what boundaries are, and how to react if he feels endangered or disrespected. This comes along with learning the difference between right and wrong.
- Fulfill his physiological and emotional needs
Provide food and discipline. Escape the stigma around the word ‘discipline’. Children need routine, repetition, and discipline. They need to know that they can play free and feel safe that there will be food at the table at 12 O’clock and rest at a precise hour in the evening. Also, be sensitive towards their emotions, be it affection, jealousy or anger. They need to learn how to deal with them and how to display them accordingly.
- Be there for him when he needs you
He may be more than happy to be let go wild for today, but he should know that you are close and readily available for him at any time. He also should feel free to express his thoughts without being judged even if he feels he might have done something wrong. Love unconditionally and make him clear that for no reason in the world he will lose your love. Make it clear that you are there, and really be there. Establishing this level of trust, gives him such an emotional backup, that he will be able to share everything with you. So you can tackle any problem, and safely build a solution without the issue becoming too big and escalate.
- Be a good and positive example
Well, of course, we wish we always were in good moods, flying in the clouds and speaking politely. But the reality is that sometimes we encounter rude people, discomfort-able situations or we are just too tired to keep arguing quietly. It’s ok to lose your temper sometimes. What is important, is that it shouldn’t be the norm. Mutual respect, kindness, patience, politeness should be the main actors of our lives. It’s not new that children mimic their parents. So make sure to be the best mirror you can.
- Teach your son, respect and empathy. How to do that? Jump to this other article: Raising respectful kids
- Teach your child life skills.
By 10 years of age you should have learned your kids, basic life skills:
-Prepare a simple meal
He should be able to mix some yogurt with fruits, prepare a simple toast, a salad, cook some rice and spaghetti. Engage him in the kitchen helping you time after time and gradually give him access to prepare these simple dishes all by himself(under your age-related supervision)
-Seed a plant/tree and take care of it
Despite your housing type, you should have some access to raw land, parks, gardens. The very last option, you could use some vases on your balcony. Teach your kid how to seed something. Start with beans in a jar and then experiment with peppers, tomatoes, etc. I assure you he will love it.
-Basic first aid skills
Teach him how to clean a wound, disinfect and bandage. In fact, the basic first-aid course program is fully absorb-able by your 10 years old kid. Make him memorize ambulance, firefighter, and police numbers and place a call. Simulate some situations, it will be fun and someday might be really useful.
-Clean themselves and the surroundings
Shower, clean their privates after going to the bathroom, wash their teeth, comb their hair, iron their clothes, dress. Take out the trash, do the laundry, fold clean clothes and organize the closet, change the sheets, declutter, wipe surfaces clean(furniture, windows, mirrors), sweep, vacuum and finally mop the floor.
-Read and write
This sounds pretty obvious, but try to instruct your kid how to write a letter from start to finish. Write down a date, location, greet the person, write content about a specific subject, and then closure. This encourages learning a communication structure and manners.
They should learn the value of money and how to use them. Engage him in shopping, let him pay sometimes, and make calculations. Encourage him to contribute to the shopping list and argue the ‘why’ of certain choices.
-Navigate anywhere they might find themselves
Learn him to read maps and navigators, but also how to orient in nature, measure the time through the sun position and find directions without a compass. Read road signs, traffic lights and ask for help. When you go outdoors plan some treasure hunting, geo-hunting and encourage him to lead the way.
- Let them make mistakes and learn from them
Normalize mistakes, but make sure to let your kids understand that every mistake should put in motion a corrective action. Just apologizing means nothing, if your kid doesn’t immediately show concern on how to repair the situation. Manners matter, but they are meaningless without action. Example:
Your son just broke a plate you were advising him to hold more carefully. Instead of yelling at what he did, you should show a genuine concern that what just broke could have hurt someone and that the pieces that are now spread around, endanger your lives. You could step on a broken piece and get seriously hurt. This is why he should be more careful next time and why now you both have to clean up and make sure that nobody gets hurt.
- Embrace his individuality and give each of your kids some one-to-one time
Each of them has the right to spend some time alone with you, and you addressing his specific needs. Be it cooking a cake together, watching a movie, or a simple hug. Every kid needs to know that he is ‘seen’ and loved. And not just part of a group, but a unique individual, worthy of special time and attention.
Remember to have fun. Motherhood is quite an intensive role, but sometimes allow yourself to stop everything and just play with your kid/kids. It may be just what you need to recharge and keep going strong the next day. We are only humans. And it is not a crime to hide in the closet eating chocolate(just don’t tell anyone :)).