Edited by MamitaM - 6/8/11 at 9:12am
I know I'm a good mother,but feel I need to prove I am and be told that I am.
i'm sure it is hard when you have a really clear example of what you don't want to be (your mother) but didn't necessarily have someone else in your life who filled that role in a way you want to emulate. i do think every mom sometimes needs reassurance that we're not total failures, damaging our children for life. but i can see why that would be especially important to you.
i think it sounds like you are taking a lot of positive steps (as well as being a great mom!) toward getting that feedback. i don't necessarily think that need is something to get over or get past - it's a normal need. would you also be able to turn to your circle of mom-friends for reassurance? it might be hard to ask broadly, "am i a good mother," but it might be helpful when there's something specific you want to run past someone, like, "here's what's going on, here's how i'm handling it, what do you think?"
also, are they able to offer any practical support? or do you have anyone else to turn to?
First off, I think you sound like an exceptional mama already. It's a lot easier in life to replicate what you were exposed to/raised around, than it is to break out from what is familiar and do things differently. The home you've already described, the way you describe your child's demeanor, and the fact that you recognize the need for a supportive community of mamas and also professional help when things get particularly stressful... that all sounds like things your own mother chose not to do/was unable to do for herself and her family. You are breaking a cycle and that is both hard, awesome and amazing, and proof that you are a VERY STRONG, CAPABLE, AWESOME MAMA and PERSON!!!
I think maybe, aside from talkign to the social worker and your mama friends which I totally support, I think you'd also benefit from what I'd call a regular "reality check". Do you have any mama friends, maybe with older kids than yours, who are also human and don't always keep a clean house, or maybe get more frustrated/stressed/mad/depressed than they'd like to, but who have gone on to raise really cool, healthy, wellbalanced kids? When you're feeling overwhelmed by not meeting your own high standards and getting worried about turning out like your mom, it may help to check in with these parents and be reminded that a) you're a LONG way from turning into your mom, and b) parents with similar or even worse challenges have gone on to raise really awesome healthy kids, that may help to decrease your anxiety and your self-criticism.
Also, that may help remind you that no parents are perfect. I always go back to a moment that changed my life as a parent more than a decade before I actually became a parent, which was when a boss of mine who I thought of as the perfect parent (smart, strong woman, licensed social worker, supportive awesome husband, money, nice clean home, lots of extended family and supports) when she admitted that she was struggling mightily with being a mom and doubting herself and wondering if she was really an awful mom. That combined with working with teen parents of multiples who actually were doing a very good job of parenting made me realize that I'd be ok, whenever I had a kid, because even the best moms struggle and doubt themselves and I need to give myself a break.
Good luck, and maybe check back with us and let us know how you're doing!