Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Hate When People Tell Me I'm a Good Mom

I hate when people tell me I'm a good mom. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment behind the statement. It's not like I don't want to be known as a good mom, but I hate being told I'm a good mom when my kids do something good, respectful, kind, generous. I don't like having my parenting judged based on my kids' actions.

For example, recently my oldest son stepped up and took his little sister to the Father/Daughter Dance at her school. It was a sweet thing to do, to be sure. He took time out of his week, dressed up, and danced with her all night. Despite the discomfort of being the only brother escorting a girl, he went, knowing this dance was important to her; making memories that will last a lifetime for both of them. In fact, my two oldest sons have both escorted Brooklyn to the dance over the past three years. When I posted the pictures to Facebook, I got hundreds of likes and comments. I got many comments that said something along the lines of You're a good mom. You're doing a great job raising those kids. What an awesome brother; it's a testament to your good parenting.

Who wouldn't agree? Who wouldn't like to hear that? Obviously, good parenting has instilled the values that made this child the type of person who would be so selfless, kind, and loving, right? But I don't want the credit for the good things my kids do. You know why? Because then I'd have to take credit for the bad things they do too! 

The fact is, yes, I try to be a good parent. I do my best. I fall short. I try again. I attempt to model the behavior I want to see from them. Sometimes I'm good at it. Sometimes I'm not. I love them unconditionally. I like them most of the time. But in the end, what they choose to do is entirely up to them. I have an impact on those decisions, but they have the free will to make them.

What about the parent who posts about her kid making the dean's list, or volunteering at a homeless shelter, or creating a lemonade stand to raise money for a little boy in school who has cancer, or stopping to help an elderly woman with a flat tire? Does that equal good parenting? How about when a parent posts that her kid was caught smoking pot, or that her kid has gotten pregnant in high school, or that her kid stole something from a store? Does that equal bad parenting? What if it's the same kid who both did something good and something bad? What kind of parenting is it then?

Would anyone say that God is a bad father when someone steals or kills? No. He has laid the foundation; we have the free will to follow His instructions or not. Just like our kids can choose to follow our instructions or not. And I don't believe their choices are necessarily reflective as our performance as parents.

So every time I'm told that I'm a good mom, I take it with a grain of salt because I know at any minute, any of my kids could do something stupid thing that would make a bystander claim, "Well, if she wasn't such a bad parent, maybe her kids would be turning out better."


Tina said...

I totally get where you are coming from. I often wonder if when people make those comments, they have younger children. Because as your kids get older, you realize more and more how little you have to do with the decisions that they make.
I agree with you, I'm so glad that my son has 'turned out ok' and when people comment I wish I could say thank you graciously, but honestly, like any of us (even in our 40's!) we are all one action away of making a mistake that could be monumental in the eyes of those who are watching us. I have to trust God to watch over my 22 year old son and guide him in making decisions...but good or bad, as you said, he's loved unconditionally. Hugs! Tina

~Tammy~ said...

Dawn, This is so true. A parent influences their child as the child grows up, and teaches them right and wrong. Sometimes, they choose wrong. You can't beat yourself up as a failure when a kid ends up on drugs (unless you set that example for them, in which case you wouldn't beat yourself up anyway, but I digress...) You can't beat yourself up when a child does something that lands them in prison.
Just as a parent cannot take the credit when their child chooses to become a missionary, or a firefighter, or a stay at home mom.
Our job well done is in teaching our children to think for themselves. to think things through, to consider consequences of their actions. And our jobs as parents are to love our children, through everything. Through bitter consequences and happy days. Awesome post.

korinthia said...

I feel the same way. I'd love to take credit, but most of it just is what it is, and I've watched too many other excellent parents see their kids do ridiculous things the parents couldn't control.

(Love the updated look on your blog, by the way!)

terri512g said...

I felt the same way when my daughter received valedictorian! Everyone kept complimenting me and I just kept pointing towards her. She did the work, she deserves all the praise.

Anonymous said...

I was just talking about this to my son yesterday. From a different perspective, but the same idea. My kids are 6 yrs apart, they get along pretty well most of the time but every once in a while my 14 yr old seems to forget he is 14 and his sister is 8. He knows better than to yell and fight with her, but gets so caught up in "being right" and acting like a 3rd parent to her, that he forgets that he is still responsible for his own behavior, even if she is the one ultimately wrong. She will still be held responsible for her part in whatever happened, but we keep trying to get in his head that he may not control her or the situation but he has 100% control on how HE responds. Plus since he is so much older than her, we do expect more from him and expect more mature and responsible responses to her. I said to him "if you go rob a bank, these days what is one of the first things people say or do?" His response was " hold the kid responsible, he is the one who robbed the bank." and I said yes in theory that is what is suppose to happen but the other part that happens is people will say his parents must not have done__________ or did __________________. Etc etc. They still hold the parents responsible somehow. When one the guys who works under your Dad gets in trouble, the younger troop (military) may get the ultimate punishment, but your Dad as their supervisor will still get a lecture about being a leader, being the example, and so on. The buck never stops just with the person who actually committed whatever act. Someone always has to be responsible. It is just how the world has gotten. It is not always right or even fair. The only thing you can do is do your level best to take responsiblity for your actions, reactions, and so on.

Sarah said...

You are a great Mom, Dawn, because you are doing your best by your kids. You moved across the country because you got a job there. You love them the way they are, and that's what they need most to grown up and be good contributors to society. I hadn't checked my blogger feed in a long time, and the last post I remembered was that you all were going to be homeless, so I'm glad to see you are posting at least. Hope you were able to find some kind of housing solution, even if it was short term. I admire you greatly. Keep hanging in there. You got this, because Gods got you!!

Laura said...


I totally agree. At what point do you get credit for your own actions. Just because a person is still technically a child, doesn't mean they are not thinking for themselves and making decisions about their own actions. Do our parents still get credit for all the things we do well? You do the best you can as a parent and teaching them to take responsibility for their actions is a big part of it, but credit needs to be given to the person who did the deed not the person who feeds them.

Rotasha Lewis said...

I can understand completely on why you feel the way you do. You just want to be a parent and let the chips fall where they may but I also believe it doesn't matter what people think. You just have to know IN your heart what parenting and being a mom means to you. The world will think so many things because it's the WORLD and they never understand your mentally nor why you feel the way that you do because we lived in a mentally chained society , anything looks good is good and anything looks bad is bad and society haven't gotten to the point where even as a parent; kids are human, people are human and that's the awareness that so many miss. Continue to remain motivated and focused on your values and mission in their life. Great read!

Shelly Merrill said...

As much as I agree with this post I have to say that you aren't just being told you are a good mom just because your children do good things. It's because you are a good mom and you love your children unconditionally and you try and lead by example. All things that make you a great mom. Your children will make their own decisions some good some bad and it's not all a reflection of you ad a parent. What is reflective of you as a parent is HOW you parent. You do right by your children every way possible. You are there for your children in every way you can be. You are a good mom and not simply because of the actions of your children but because your actions and reactions are a reflection of your parenting and it's very clear your a wonderful mother.

IntermediateBeing said...

I love, love, love this! Thank you for this, I feel exactly the same way. Sure I feel proud when people call me a good mom or compliment my child, but they are each such individuals that it feels wrong to take credit for things they do because they are the people they are. Also love the comparison about God. God is good no matter how bad or good his children are, excellent point!

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