It's time to say goodbye to good. That word does us no good.
Ask any creative writing teacher--"good" is a throwaway word, an adjective that doesn't say anything concrete. It will get you a D- at best on your essay or short story. "Good" only has a relative meaning...good compared to what? Good by whose standards?
"Good" implies a judgement or an assessment. Saying, "This hamburger is good," conveys no real information because we all have a different definition of "good." My husband likes his burgers dry and plain. I like mine with grease running down the side and a big slice of onion. "Good" requires a followup question to get to the real meat of the meaning. (Dang it, now I'm hungry.) So whenever we fall back on the word "good," we end up having to delve deeper into what exactly makes something good.
So why are we always asking ourselves, "Am I a good mother?" "Good" doesn't mean anything on its own. We can do better! Let's skip the good and go straight to fresher words that really say something. What Are YOUR Values?
Next time you find yourself asking, "Am I a good mother?" strike the "good" and replace it with a word that aligns with your values. A word that you choose and you define. Patient, kind, energetic, sympathetic, fierce, consistent, compassionate, reliable...what matters to you?
For example, I am a responsive mother. I was chatterbox when I was little, and nothing hurt my feelings more than being told to hush, to stop asking questions, to please oh please be quiet. And as life plays its little jokes with us, I am now the mother of the world's most talkative first grader. This child once asked 37 questions on the ride home from school and we only live 2 miles away! But it's important to me to listen to her, to answer every question, to acknowledge every idea she expresses. I am a responsive mother. Does that make me a good mother? Doesn't matter. I don't know how to measure good but I know how to measure responsive. There are days when it's easy to be responsive and days when it's tough, but I know what my goal is. I can tell whether I'm being responsive to my children.
I am a reliable mother. My kids never have to wonder if there will be clean clothes to wear or dinner to eat or a roof to keep out the rain. It's important to me to take care of the business of life so my kids don't have to worry about grownup problems. I pay the bills, buy the bananas, sort the socks. I've never forgotten one at daycare after six p.m. ...so far. We don't run out of gas. We have birthday candles on birthdays. I am a reliable mother. Does being reliable make me a good mother? That doesn't matter. It meets my definition of mothering.