Home > Family, Parenting, Reflections > 10 Ways I’m an Awesome Mom

10 Ways I’m an Awesome Mom

“10 Ways I’m an Awesome Mom,” a blog title boldly proclaimed this morning.

I had to read it. It’s not often I see the words “I,” “awesome” and “mom” in the same sentence. From experience, I’d only expect to see them in the (way) negative:

  • I fail at being an awesome mom.
  • I suck at being an awesome mom.
  • I will never be an awesome mom.

Life is full of imperfect moments and good intentions translated into hurtful actions. It’s important to share those moments and, seeing others’, understand we have so much in common. We face many of the same trials. There’s no shame in them.

Still, I sometimes feel heavy-hearted at how imbalanced sharing. Many bloggers I love share their faults far more often than their successes. I want to read about both. I wonder if they even see their successes.

Catherine, Peeper, Littler J and me last summer

Catherine, Peeper, Littler J and me last summer

Catherine’s list of ways she rocks motherhood lifted my heart. Like Catherine, I enjoy improvising songs for my little ones. Like her, I don’t fear dirt. It just so happens I spent a chunk of childhood running barefoot around my neighborhood.

I thought, “Maybe I should write my own 10 ways I’m an awesome mom!”

But you know what I just said about difficulty seeing our own successes?

It applies to me, too.

I started drafting my list in my brain. For the first couple of hours, it looked like this:

 1. ???

While my brain struggled to find a single success, it was drawn to countless examples of all the ways I’m a not-awesome mom: Too grumpy. Too distracted. Too impatient always being the bad guy who gets toasted after twenty seconds of imaginative play. Too far away too many hours of every day. Too too too too. 

I messaged my sisters to ask them what they thought made me an awesome mom.

This pony means business.

They’re mostly pretty sweet.

A coworker inadvertently helped me when she stopped by my desk and saw my small My Little Pony collection. (At the office, that is. My home collection is expansive!)

“Young at heart! That’s good, ” she said.

And there it was: my first awesome thing. The others came pretty quickly afterward. They might not be ranked, or most representative, but these are things I celebrate in motherhood as I live it today.

  1. I’m young at heart. I’m like a great big five-year-old in lots of ways. I crack terrible jokes and giggle at my son’s fart “presents.” I’m happy to be exuberant and silly, because life feels sad and lackluster otherwise.
  2. I persevere. Though I’m young at heart, things don’t have to be fun for me to stick with them. If something needs to be done, no matter how unfun or uncomfortable, I will do it … while lining up something better, if need be.
  3. I hear. I was surprised when a lot of my friends described me as a good listener in post wedding reception activities. And yet, gauging my part in conversations with my son in the days that followed it, I understood why they wrote that. I heard how my son shared his feelings with me–even when they were unfavorable about me–and realized he felt comfortable sharing because he knew I not only listened but heard him.
  4. I apologize. When I realize I’ve done something wrong, or hurtfully, I own up to it. Not always immediately, and not always gracefully, but it’s important to me my son see that I am fallible and human as was my mom before me. I want my kids to own up to their own missteps later; I pave the way by owning up to mine.
  5. I’m honest. This doesn’t mean I call my son a jerk when he’s stomping around or slamming doors. It does mean I tell him when he’s said something hurtful, the same way I admit I don’t know something or did something wrong. Like #4 above, I learned this from my mom. Her openness discussing the good, the bad, and the devastating with me made me feel important. I wasn’t just some stupid kid; I was Deborah, worthy of understanding why even my mom did some of the things she did.
  6. I encourage. I don’t spout generic platitudes. I look at what exactly my son is doing and walk him through questions guiding him to new perspectives, ideas and questions that might help. I let him know it’s good to persist, but also good to walk away if something’s taking too much time or energy or is just so plain frustrating it’s not going to be solved in this head-explodey sitting. I believe almost anything is possible with persistence, consideration, enthusiasm and luck, and I want my son to believe it, too.
  7. I don’t accept all answers as equal, or equally true. I question and consider what I’m told. I accept there are at least kernels of truth in even the strangest statements, but I’ll look at the facts on my own and see if they reveal more plausible alternatives or better ways of proceeding. Doing this with and in front of my five-year-old son has led him to troubleshoot some pretty complex situations.
  8. I protectI don’t care who thinks I’m a bitch as long as my kids are safe.
  9. I’m resourceful. I will find a way, if there’s a way to be found. I share my efforts to solve problems with my son, so he can see success is slower and more complex than waving a magic wand.
  10. I practice wide angle parenting as often as possible. Sometimes, This Moment seems equal parts eternal and terrible. But when I remember it’s one moment among many, I’m able to step with a smile, ’cause man! The world’s vast and beautiful when seen in more than slivers.

wide angle parenting

This morning, it took me hours to think of a single thing I like about myself as a parent. A little persistence led me to find a few things, and left me with the hopeful sense anything is possible within and outside of my life as a parent.

This evening, I went on a walk with my sons. I strapped my baby to my chest as I wondered why my five-year-old grabbed a couple of plastic bags from the kitchen.

recycle or trashThe why revealed itself soon enough. “Trash or recycling?” he asked as he crouched down to pick some trash off a neighbor’s lawn.

“Trash,” I replied, smiling.

He picked up dozens of pieces of trash as we walked. I watched and saw how the valleys don’t negate the peaks. Part of the goodness in him mirrors the goodness in me.

Tomorrow I’ll probably snap at him at least once. But I’ll also snuggle and hug and encourage and banter with him dozens of times.

And this kid, oh this sweet kid, he’ll keep right on reminding me how much more clearly success is seen with a wider angle view.

like my mom

I wish my mom could’ve seen herself as I saw her; in her memory, I try to see myself as my sons see me

What makes you an awesome mom or dad?
What’s something your kid(s) did recently that helped you see it?

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  1. May 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Love it.
    And you left out an important one. You are loving. Even when you don’t like your precious boy’s behaviour they are in no doubt that you love them.
    Is it a gender thing the difficulty in finding things about ourselves we value? And particularly things we will publically admit we value? I know I have HUGE difficulties with it.

    • May 8, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      It is not a gender thing, males have equal trouble with this. They just react to the problem differently. They boast about something they aren’t really sure is true, but they wish it were, so they throw it in everyone’s face. I love the fact that you pointed out the loving. We all need someone to put our true value in front of us because we too often think it is an optical illusion

      • May 8, 2015 at 9:08 pm

        Thank you. I wondered about that. And reacting to the problem differently does explain it.

    • May 8, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Holy cow. When you put it out there that bluntly, I can’t believe I missed that. It is the biggest thing. It’s whats behind my saying (inspired partially by a kids book), “I love you no matter how grumpy I am or you are!” It is unconditional, and that lack of conditions … feels so powerful, somehow. Thank you. I am so moved by your words, and the heart behind them.

  2. May 8, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    This was a wonderful challenge for you to take. I was not surprised that once you came up with the first idea you were able to find the others easily. You had released the block, the floodgates were open. Now, keep a notebook with you at all times so you can write down all the things you do that are wonderful. When your son grows to a man it will be a wonderful gift for him. He will be able to use it as inspiration in his own parenting.

    • May 8, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      I always have a notebook with me, but never know what to write in it! Once every few weeks, I’ll overhear some fantastic exchange I want to remember, but that’s about it. I’m excited to give this a shot. Thank you! (I also want to take notes on some of the love I see from friends, so I can show it from my eyes.)

  3. May 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Yup. Pretty awesome… 🙂

  4. May 8, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Your an awesome mom because… You look forward to picking them up from school and want to spend time with them (unfortunately that’s not true for everyone)
    You try to correct problems you notice, such as the school situation and the way you have been trying to change D’s food after you noticed a problem
    You read regularly to your kiddos even when your exhausted
    You make fun food such as the gummies and such I’ve seen pics of

    • May 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      You gonna write a ways-you’re-awesome post? ‘Cause I want to weigh in!

      • May 8, 2015 at 10:21 pm

        Not sure, but I might write a different one soon.

        • May 8, 2015 at 11:07 pm

          Just wrote

          • May 9, 2015 at 8:40 am

            I loved it. We’ve never really talked about your time at Anna’s, so it was sweet to get a glimpse into that.

            Did you send it to her? Love you!

          • May 9, 2015 at 2:01 pm

            She’s signed up to get notices in her email I think

  5. Deb
    May 9, 2015 at 6:26 am

    I see much more clearly now, as a grandma, all the awesome things we do in raising children. I notice how I do things differently (maybe better?) than when I was a mom. I always felt like I got more adapt with each child, they each taught me something about myself as a mom that I could apply to the next time, but I think this whole grandma thing is really helping me to feel the awesome aspects 🙂

    • Deb
      May 9, 2015 at 6:27 am

      Which I guess means that I’m a bit slow on the uptake 😉

    • May 9, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Hee. I see my boys with their grandmas and already have a little tingling of “oooh” at what might be ahead! I hope and trust there’s much more to learn, and relearn, and relearn, since it never does seem to take the first or fourteenth time. 😉

  6. May 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    You are fierce. You are tolerant. You are patient. You are loving. You are a teacher. You are a friend even while being a parent.

    You are an awesome mom because your past didn’t define you but instead it enriched you, making you beautiful in your ability to love, forgive and see them for their individuality and promise.

  7. May 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    #7 (there’s always 2 sides, maybe 3 sides to a story and there’s always gray / blurred lines) and #9 (resourceful is key) are great.

  8. May 10, 2015 at 3:29 am

    I love the trash/recycling thing! Scout finished her cup of peaches the other day and walked off with it. I thought she was going to give it to the dog. She recycled it! The next day she trashed it but not bad for 14 months! Happy Mother’s Day!

  9. May 10, 2015 at 5:15 am

    You are an awesome mom because you took this challenge. The challenge, I think, is not in finding things you like about how you parent. You’ve made the choice to parent this way and it reflects your values. The challenge is the courage to say, as a woman and publicly, “this is how I LIKE MYSELF.” We don’t do that often enough and we certainly don’t tell our friends the same thing. I wish I could find it, but I recently read a post (maybe even yours) that begged women to stop tearing themselves down, especially in that competitive way we can do when we’re with friends. It takes courage to say “I rock.” And it is an example we need to set, early and often, for our children. Thanks, Deborah.

  10. jottlings
    May 10, 2015 at 6:28 am

    First time I’ve come across the term ‘wide angle parenting.’ Love it.

  11. May 10, 2015 at 10:13 am

    It’s always good to remember what you’re doing RIGHT!

  12. May 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    AHAHAHA fart presents! That made my day. 🙂 But seriously, I’m so glad my post inspired you to write your own. I think it’s so worthwhile for us to reflect on our strengths and not just shortcomings. This may dovetail on one of the ones you already wrote, but I also admire how you are such an advocate your your family. That comes out when something isn’t going well and you’re willing to fight for them, but also when things are going well and you celebrate those successes.

  1. March 5, 2016 at 7:10 am
  2. June 6, 2016 at 5:07 pm

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