I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a good mom. And the more I think about it the more I come back to this: there's no such thing as a good mom. We're all just doing the best we can. Sometimes I can get tripped up in thinking this equals this, and it's just not true.

A real life story: a friend recently joked on Instagram as she was trying to get a good photo of her three kids, with something to the effect of "because good photos equals good mothering, duh," and I loved that joke. Social media mothering is not real life mothering. There is a huge, real, vast difference between mothering your kids and photographing them. "Good" in one are does not equal "good" in another. It was a light bulb moment for me, and I started to think of other things that I had at times (mistakenly and subconsciously) equated with "good" mothering.

These things do not make me a good mom:

A clean house.

Arriving to places on time.

Having the best stuff.


Well dressed kids.

Well dressed me.

Well behaved kids.

Well photographed kids.

Organized anything.

A made bed.

Laundry done.

Dinner on the table.

Emails responded to in a timely fashion.


Planning parties.

Hosting play dates.



Not working.

Healthy eating.

Exhaustive list, right? While some of these things can be good things, none of these things equals good mothering. Conversely (and thankfully) this also means that the absence of one doesn't negate the other (ie just because you don't scrapbook doesn't mean you're not a good mother).

Instead of wondering how I'm measuring up on trying to be a good mom (subconsciously), I'm trying to be a present mom.

These things make me a present mom:

Holding/Playing/Singing/Dancing/Reading/Looking/Smiling/Talking/Laughing with my baby

Everything else is just a bonus.

A clean house, a clean shirt, or any house or any shirt at all, the babies could care less. What they want is more of us. Our time, our attention, our love, our eyes on them.

The good news/bad news is: you can't buy that kind of mothering. The best news is, you're already equipped. We have everything we need to be good moms. We don't need that one more thing. They simply need us. Available, responsive, attentive, silly, playful, messy, as we are.

How relieving to know we don't have to try so hard or be so hard on ourselves. We're all good moms. We're all doing our best. It all works.