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How do you know you're a good parent? - Page 2

post #21 of 51

 

  About those little moments, I believe there's a

saying that, "The Devil's in the details." Perhaps

the opposite actually has more truth to it, "Deity

is in the details." Noticing little things, being fully

present in little moments, seeing little changes

in people, sensing little changes in emotion, noticing

the little things people love or hate is the stuff of a

full life for all.

post #22 of 51
I feel that I'm a "good parent" because DD has empathy towards others. She is also full of joy and creativity. We shower her with love and affection, and she often does the same with others. We're doing something right.
post #23 of 51
I totally understand where you're coming from. When DD was 3, she had a lot of those annoying moments. I told myself over and over, "This is a phase. It will pass." And it was. And it did pass. Even now (she's 8) I have to tell myself that every 6 months or so. She grows out of phases.
post #24 of 51
I also know that I'm a "good parent" because my Grandma told me so. heartbeat.gif
post #25 of 51

I think that we all fail in some areas, and exceed in other areas.  

 

Some parents are too strict, some are too permissive. Some kids are harder, some kids are easier.

 

My kids are grown.  So, I can see where I failed, and where I did a good job.  There are things i'd do differently, and some I'd do exactly the same.  

 

But as long as a child grows up to be happy and productive, and enjoy what they do... then I've done my job.  I want people to like my child, I want my child to like others.  I want my child to be tolerant or at least be willing to learn tolerance.  (nobody is 100% tolerant)  I want my child to expect to be treated well as an adult, and to treat others the way she wants to be treated.

 

I WISH I'd been better at teaching chores, helpfulness, and hard work.  But, I failed miserably in that dept. 

post #26 of 51
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

I think that we all fail in some areas, and exceed in other areas.  

 

Some parents are too strict, some are too permissive. Some kids are harder, some kids are easier.

 

My kids are grown.  So, I can see where I failed, and where I did a good job.  There are things i'd do differently, and some I'd do exactly the same.  

 

But as long as a child grows up to be happy and productive, and enjoy what they do... then I've done my job.  I want people to like my child, I want my child to like others.  I want my child to be tolerant or at least be willing to learn tolerance.  (nobody is 100% tolerant)  I want my child to expect to be treated well as an adult, and to treat others the way she wants to be treated.

 

I WISH I'd been better at teaching chores, helpfulness, and hard work.  But, I failed miserably in that dept. 

 This gets at the really tough thing about parenting...you aren't going to see the full outcome of your efforts for a long time! So later in life when your kids are grown, you can wish you had done things differently, but while you're in the thick of it, it's really hard to see where your day to day choices are going to lead.

 

I'm totally with you on wanting a child to be tolerant and to know how to treat others well. That is really important to me, too. And yes, I want her to be happy. As much as it's possible for an adult to be happy. That seems simple, but also hard to achieve. I mean, am I happy? Yes, often, not always. When I'm not happy, I don't believe it's because my mother didn't raise me right. (OK, when I was in my 20s, I frequently thought that. Thank goodness for therapy, growing older, and getting perspective.)

 

I go through moments when I'm really afraid that I'll pass my neuroses along to DD. I'm not sure it's possible to get through life without being neurotic about something (is it???) but I hope that at least her neuroses are hers, not "hand me downs." winky.gif

 

 

post #27 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by *bejeweled* View Post

I also know that I'm a "good parent" because my Grandma told me so. heartbeat.gif


That is so sweet!

 

I wish more than anything that my grandmother and my mother had lived to see me become a mom. What I would like best is to tell them my parenting foibles and hear them laugh!

 

So, note to self: If I'm lucky enough to become a grandma, be sure to laugh.

post #28 of 51
Thread Starter 

Just another thought....

 

How much of parenting is trying to be the parent you wish you'd had growing up?

post #29 of 51

 

Quote:
 This gets at the really tough thing about parenting...you aren't going to see the full outcome of your efforts for a long time! So later in life when your kids are grown, you can wish you had done things differently, but while you're in the thick of it, it's really hard to see where your day to day choices are going to lead.

That's where my mother's... er.... lucky? She had six kids, with a wide and scattered age spacing (currently the oldest is 28... or is it 29?... and the youngest is 13). So we've been able to give her plenty of helpful tips on where she went wrong with us. :p

 

F'rinstance, she was somewhat overprotective and/or didn't think much of our skills, and actively discouraged us from learning to drive... which meant she had to ferry us to jobs and Uni and everywhere for years, which she didn't really enjoy (the bus system in our town was atrocious... still is for the most part). I only just learned to drive a few months ago, while expecting my second child, at the age of 25, and I'd built it up in my mind as this impossible-to-do thing that would result in me killing every toddler in the city limits: so it was more psychologically daunting than it should have been. And I think Mum realised, at some point when she was picking up my family of three to drive us to church, that she had Erred. So now that one of my little sisters has hit driving age, us older girls all nagged at Mum until she let her get her learner's licence. It probably helps that said sister is very level-headed and obviously the kind of person who'd be a good, safe driver... but it didn't hurt that we were able to say "Look, do you want her to turn out like us?". :p

 

Similarly, Mum now knows (I hope!) that it's worth while teaching her kids about finances. And having watched two of us get fun academic degrees that couldn't possibly lead to a job, she's now in favour of my little sisters pursuing tertiary education that's actually employable. Not that she'd force them to become accountants against their will or anything... but with me she was all "Ooh, I don't know that you'd find a cooking degree intellectually fulfilling, wouldn't you be happier at Uni doing English?", whereas now I suspect she'd advise in the other direction.

 

 

post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

Just another thought....

 

How much of parenting is trying to be the parent you wish you'd had growing up?


Absolutely, although I see it as the opposite... as long as I'm doing a better job at parenting than my own mother did (which isn't hard - she was a single mom who was a long time undiagnosed/untreated bi-polar alcoholic - life was chaotic at times and I felt very much unwanted and unloved) then I'm doing A-ok.  Of course, I want to do much better than just ok but when I was new at parenting and so stressed about trying to do everything just right, the realization that no matter how I may do I'll in all likelihood do a better job than my mother did, helped me relax immensely.

post #31 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

Just another thought....

 

How much of parenting is trying to be the parent you wish you'd had growing up?


For me its very much the opposite - I'm trying to be as good a mother as mine was!  And I'm trying to fill my dad's shoes too b/c my ex is kind of a jerk.  My parents were pretty much the best EVER, and still are.  If I do half as well as my parents did, I'll be doing fantastic.  It gives me something to shoot for.

 

I'm told very often what a good mother I am, but I feel like those people only see the "good" parts, and I'm the one that see's the "bad" parts.  But, DS and I are very attached to each other, we have lots of fun together, and he's a very happy, bright, wonderful little boy with LOTS of love for everyone. 

 

post #32 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


I want to amend my answer.  winky.gif

 

I have little moments when little things happen and I do feel like I'm a good mom. They aren't measuring sticks or standards, just things I notice and feel positive about my family and how things are going.

 

For example, at dinner the other night, one of my kids spilled a drink and it really went flying. No one got upset, and everyone quickly worked together to clean it up. There was no blame, no shame, no "I don't want to help cuz I didn't make the mess."  There was something to clean up, and everyone quickly pitched in without being told. And I figured that was the result of some good parenting. thumb.gif

 

It's just little things, though, nothing big. The little moments of connection with my kids, the little moments when they amaze me.



I always enjoy your posts, LOTM, and I'm really glad that you did amend your previous answer.  Even when life is throwing curve balls, and things are crazy, sometimes giving ourselves positive feedback is good for us.  Seeing, and acknowledging, when things go right is good for us - when I feel good about things I push forward, and keep trying to get better.  I'm certainly not perfect (goodness, no one is!), and there are things that I want to do differently, but I always try to take the good moments and make them last just that much longer, and revel in them a bit.

 

Like today, I took DS swimming at the pool before dropping him off at daycare.  We had so much fun, and he was singing his favorite song to me in the pool, he was jumping off the side so I could catch him, and just having a blast.  I felt like a pretty good mom then, b/c I was at the pool playing with my little guy.  It was a good moment.  And then tonight, he wanted me to lay with him at bedtime for a moment.  So I did, I laid down in bed, and gave him a few kisses, and laughed when he said, "Shhhh, its bedtime" in a whisper.  Then I left the room, and checked on him 5 minutes later to find a peacefully sleeping toddler - and I don't know about you, but I just love watching my little guy sleep, theres something so peaceful about it!

post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

"How do you know you're a good parent?"

 

I don't. I do my best. It's all I've got.

 


One of my family's favorite sayings comes from my grandma (or was it great grandma?): "Do you best, even the angels can do no more."

 

The other piece that I'd add: Sometimes, your best is better than than it is on other days. Or as one my friends put it when I was going through postpartum anxiety/depression and trying to teach a demanding college course at the same time: It's OK to be a B teacher some days. It's OK to be a B parent. Some days I'm lucky to achieve being a C parent. As long as don't descend into below average too often, I'm doing OK.

 

I was a B- parent this afternoon -- my back hurts and so I'm cranky. I was playing with dd, ds wanted to do something different with dd, and his negotiation failed. They descended into arguing. I descended into yelling at them and slamming my door while I calmed down. Not great parenting. But you know, I came and gave ds a hug shortly after that. When dd was finally ready to take her stuffed animals 'camping' in the front  yard she came down the stairs and said "I'll need help opening the front door." I was right behind her and thought I'd open the door. However, ds was in the kitchen, heard her and opened it for her. He did that despite the fact that he was still a little ticked with her for not playing soccer with him. That's one of those little moments that Linda on the move mentioned that made me think, OK, I must be doing a little something right.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


It's just little things, though, nothing big. The little moments of connection with my kids, the little moments when they amaze me.


yeahthat.gif I'm not sure if the little things tell me that I'm doing well as a parent, or if they just inspire me and give me energy to keep going.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

Just another thought....

 

How much of parenting is trying to be the parent you wish you'd had growing up?

 

For me, very little. My parents were decent parents. Not perfect, but pretty good. True my attempts at 'best' parenting look different from my parents' attempts, but I have different tools and different knowledge. They did the best they could in some trying circumstances and more importantly, they got one fundamental thing right: They loved and respected their children for who they are, not who they wanted them to be. I think if you can do that most days, you'll be OK.

 

For me, seeing my kids' behavior as a reflection of my parenting would feel a lot like viewing their blue eyes as a reflection of my parenting. I mean, yeah, they've got blue eyes because dh and I have blue eyes, but it's not like it's something we actively chose. Ds gets compliments all the time because he's a quiet, respectful kid. He doesn't get into trouble because he's cautious. Teachers love him because he does his work, he doesn't goof off or talk too much in class, he helps others, and he's creative. Nothing we did made him like this, he was born like this. Should we take credit for that?

post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cumulus View Post

  Noticing little things, being fully

present in little moments, seeing little changes

in people, sensing little changes in emotion, noticing

the little things people love or hate is the stuff of a

full life for all.


Thats beautiful, and so true.

 

I wanted to comment again on the 'using public behavior as a yardstick' concept. I mean, i think im a pretty good mom, most of the time. I do my best. But my kids behavior in public can make me pretty embarassed. At home, things usually run smoothly, we dont have bed time issues, we all eat at the table, and have reasonably good manners,  my kids are mostly respectful and affectionate.....*at home*.  Never had toilet training issues (we did ec), kids were rarely sick (breastfed), kids are confident  in general. People dont even  believe me when i say we never have bed time issues.

 

But once i take them in the subway, in a place where there are alot of people like a religious service, then i  dont get a moments peace. Their behavior can be aweful. I think if i had girls it would be easier, only because i see girls sitting quietly beside their parents, not my boys. If i were judged as a parent by their public behavior, then i would be judged very poorly.  Ive decided that my biggest fear is how people see me, and my biggest complaint is that i cant get to sit quietly and focus for at least 10 seconds in a row.

 

Im working on it, we are making improvements. Ive even tried to use rewards out of desperation, or threats (you wont get that icecream sundae). It doesnt work, and i kind of knew it wouldnt. Anyway, subject for another thread.

 

Anyway, look forward to catching up on the disussion.

 

post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post





  Then I left the room, and checked on him 5 minutes later to find a peacefully sleeping toddler - and I don't know about you, but I just love watching my little guy sleep, theres something so peaceful about it!


This is heartwarming heartbeat.gif. I feel like the best Mom ever when DD is tucked into bed cozy, sleeping peacefully.
post #36 of 51

I had another thought - I find that I'm quick to take the blame for any "bad" behaviour but I don't take any credit for the "good" behaviours.  Not very fair I suppose but nonetheless that's how I end up grading myself as a mom.  I'm trying to change that perspective and have recently been more successful at evaluating my day based on how my mood was (stable/happy vs moody/overwhelmed) rather than on how my childrens moods were.

post #37 of 51

 

My overarching goal is to raise children who are healthy, happy, and whole. I want my children to be secure in themselves and in their attachments, to love themselves as much as DH and I love them, to know that our love isn't conditional or dependent on their good behavior or external achievements, and to understand that DH and I are whole adults who don't depend on our children to validate us. My parents set a terrible example--they were emotionally and sometimes physically abusive, neglectful, authoritarian, and often cruel. Their love hinged on whether we were being "good" or not. Our (typical, developmentally appropriate) childhood behavior resulted in them making us feel like we were less than, not worthy of parental care and affection, deserving of withering scorn and physical abuse. This created self-esteem issues in my siblings and me that will probably never be fully resolved. It's only now at just over 30 that I think I even know myself and like who I am.
 
In a way, my sad upbringing has made me a much more relaxed mother, because I know I'm not perfect but I also know that I don't have to be. It's enough to treat my children like fellow human beings, sovereign individuals, who are deserving of respectful treatment and endless love. Good behavior and self-confidence will follow from that.
 
I know I'm not the greatest mama but I try to be an intentional one. I do the best I can without sacrificing my own sense of self or becoming Mommy Martyr to satisfy some arbitrary measuring stick or expectations that don't reasonably apply to my family. I think as long as I'm being mindful of providing a safe, soft, nurturing nest for my little ones to grow in, I'm being a good parent. I slip up sometimes, like everyone else, and sometimes I have crippling doubts. But most of the time I think we're doing pretty well. Ask me again when mine are older and I'm sure I'll have a different answer! shy.gif
post #38 of 51

I choose not to care about this question or its answer. Whether I am a good or bad parent is irrelevant and subjective. All I can do is my best to nurture and love my daughter.

 

It does no good whatsoever to evaluate our own parenting in these terms. 

post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

For me its very much the opposite - I'm trying to be as good a mother as mine was!  

 


Same here. I don't have an objective "measuring stick" -- I feel like that would place too much pressure on my kids, to always be burdened with reflecting back the quality of my parenting rather than being their own little people who need to make their own mistakes and forge their way in life. But, in the back of my mind is always that sense of absolute love that my mother projected, and I hope I'm projecting that toward my kids (I feel like I am). My mom was always happy to see us -- she had (and still has) a full life and interests of her own, but she still always lit up when we walked into the room. And she never made holidays or party preparations feel like obligations, she always seemed just as excited as we were about it. It's those little things that made me feel so loved, and I hope I make my kids feel just as loved and important. It wasn't until I was an adult and saw my adult friend's mom sighing her way through holiday preparations that I realized what a gift it was that my mom never acted like that -- it sucked all the joy out of the room, and made us feel like we were burdening her with our presence! 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I'm told very often what a good mother I am, but I feel like those people only see the "good" parts, and I'm the one that see's the "bad" parts.  

 

(I don't know why the font changed and I can't figure out how to change it back, sorry.) I feel the same way sometimes. People describe me as patient, calm, easy-going, etc., and I think, "Who the hell are you talking about, because that is NOT me!!" I think all of us feel like frauds sometimes, because of course no one else witnesses our worst moments. One quote that helps me when I start feeling that way is, "Don't judge your insides by other people's outsides." We ALL have those bad moments, and just like those people who tell us what a great parent we are have a narrow, positive perception of us and think we must be that way all the time, we have a narrow perception of others -- we only see the facets they allow us to see. And yet, those facets ARE accurate in some ways -- they do make up part of who we are, and part of how our kids experience us as parents. If I'm honest with myself, even though I feel like a fraud when people tell me how good I am with my kids, the truth is that I AM that calm, patient mama most of the time -- a huge portion of the time, that's who my kids experience as their mother. Yes, I have my impatient moments, but in the grand scheme of things my kids know that I treasure them. 

post #40 of 51

In my six years of parenting I have learned to lighten up on my expectations of myself and realize that although I am an important influence in my children's lives, I am not the only one. They will grow to be their own people and I can no more take credit for their success than I can responsibility for their failures. I will stand with them and support them through their lives and they will always know that I love and accept them no matter what. I feel successful when my children show love for one another, use compassion when dealing with others, have understanding and kindness when interacting with people who are different or difficult, enjoy their creativity and know their own minds. I will feel like I have done a good job if my kids understand the importance of family and community and, in some way, promote justice and equality in the world. Sometimes I feel like a good mother when they are clean and well presented and don't embarrass me in public, but I know that isn't a terribly legitimate measure.


Edited by Vancouver Mommy - 7/22/11 at 10:26am
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