About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What would it take to make you believe you're a good mum?

That's the question a friend asked me the other day.
And it's a good one.
My immediate answer was that I won't believe it until Miss T is an adult, or at least almost adult and I can see what sort of person she is; and how messed up, or not, she is.
That was the wrong answer, apparently!
And as I'm home (in a caravan!) alone with a sleeping child, now seems as good a time as any to consider alternative answers.
Of course, when I think about it, I can recognise some positive signs already. Tasha is very gentle, mostly, better than a lot of other children her age at saying please and thank you, is confident, funny and clever. In fact, she's very clever!
But how much of that is down to me, really? And surely there's more to being a good mum than having a well-mannered child? After all, we are not living in Victorian times...
There are other aspects - we do a LOT together (not always through choice, I confess!) so our days are very stimulating and educational, which must be a mark of good parenting? Maybe not...I mean, obviously there's more to it than that but at least we don't spend every day at home in front of the television.
Her speech and communication is fantastic and today she even wrote an N and told me she'd written Natasha - aged two and four months! But that's just intelligence again and that's probably genetic anyway. Or maybe it's not even that fantastic and I'm just being an annoying proud parent...
How about the fact that I care desperately about what her life is like, now and in the future and strive to do my best to make it as good as possible? Note how I wrote "strive to do my best"...maybe that's a mark of a bad mum? I know I don't always do my best - some days it's just too hard.
Or that I care about what she eats and what she does? But that's just normal, not anything special.
I honestly have no idea how to answer that question beyond my initial, wrong, answer. Anyone else got suggestions? How do you quantify good parenting? Help!


Kate said...

Impressed with your internet coverage in the caravan.

Was talking about this at work recently, as one friend celebrated her youngest child's 21st, and another her baby's first.

being a 'good parent' used to mean a child surviving the dangerous and illness prone 1st year of life. So you can chalk that one up.

My friend with the 21 year old is proud to have raised 3 fundamentally decent, kind, socially integrated humans, and knows that maybe she didnt do everything by the book, but she did her best.

I dont know how to make you believe you are a good mum, except to say that Tash is wonderful, and just reread your blog and you can see just how much you care about doing your best. What more can anyone give a child?

Kate said...

hmmm, just reread your post and my comment and not sure I answered your question at all.
lets try again.
i see your difficulties in trying to judge how good a mum you are. Lets leave aside why you need to judge at all, the uncertainty that is life and how to cope with that, and how much I want you to believe that you do your best, and that that is all anyone can ever do, and that no-one is perfect.

I thought about your journalistic leaning and wondered if you had thought about it this way.....
Is there a definition of a 'good mum'?
well, how about this:
- it's the united nation conventions on the rights of the child: the document by which organisations caring for children judge these things. If you want something tangible and concrete. Have a read. I'm 100% sure you do everything in it. Try this for starters:
The right to grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding