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*Note: This writing project was originally in response to a call for essays from Avital Norman Nathman of Mamafesto in order to continue the conversation surrounding her upcoming book, The Good Mother Myth.
A Good Mother Is….
The mother who gets out of bed before anyone else to do something for herself or get things ready for day. The mother who doesn’t get up earlier than anyone else, yet still gets her family ready for the day.
The mother who doesn’t look in the mirror because she isn’t sure she’ll always “like” what she sees. The mother who wistfully and longingly looks in the mirror as she sees her present, but only remembers her past.
The mother who shows up every day, every hour, every minute, every second, no matter if she’s happy or sad or unsure of herself. The mother who pushes through the doubt and the fear and the questions – all day, every day.
A good mother is any mother waking up, feeding, clothing, loving and nurturing child(ren). A good mother is a mother who does her best. She looks out for her children. She protects her children. She supports and encourages her children.
She is in a constant state of change. She puts up with a new balance every day, because every day something else is happening. A good mother builds and simultaneously tears down walls. A good mother does everything she can to create a place of warmth and love for her child(ren) everywhere she is, because no matter what, she is Home to her child(ren).
Sometimes she is more tactful, calm, open and true. Sometimes she’s overwhelmed, frazzled, hurting, confused, angry, lost, frustrated, or sad. Sometimes she’s all and none of these things at once. Sometimes she is full of wisdom and understanding. Sometimes she’s staring at the walls of her mind trying to come up with an answer.
A good mother doesn’t have to be the mother one was born to.
A good mother is the grandmother, aunt, friend, coworker who stepped in for another.
A good mother is the place one calls home, no matter the origin.
A good mother is love, pleasure, pain, treasure, persuasion, fierce, unyielding, patient, impatient, kind, frugal, extravagant, loud, quiet, and strong.
A good mother is perfect the way she is, no matter if she feels weak, doesn’t have all the answers, doesn’t have any answers, or uses others’ answers as her own until she discovers hers.
A good mother is one who wakes up every day and pushes through, no matter what. Maybe she’s tired, wants to quit, can’t think straight, is in pain, or ill, is struggling emotionally or physically.
To her, creating that space of warmth, comfort, and love is more important than anything, so she tries again and again, often seeming imperfect. The fact that she’s trying makes it all perfect to her child(ren) though. And they will always come home.
*Note: I actually wrote this essay in response to a call about what a good mother is from Avital Norman Nathman of Mamafesto in order to continue the conversation surrounding her upcoming book, The Good Mother Myth.