SOMETIMES being a mum feels like the easiest job in the world.
Other days, it’s the hardest, most challenging, frustrating, damn right difficult job I’ve ever had. Or ever will.
We’ve all been there haven’t we?
No mum is immune from those god awful parenting days. The ones that force you to your knees in the kind of way only motherhood can.
Not even the best mums. (Whoever they are) Not even the ones we might envy as we scroll through their ‘perfect’ Instagram photos. Not even royalty.
Trust me, away from the limelight, I’ve no doubt even the Duchess of Cambridge herself will pull her hair out, shout, cry, sink to the floor in despair or crack open a bottle of gin when her parenting times are at their roughest.
It’s a tough ol’ business this mothering malarkey.
Fraught with problems. Never ending.
My daughter is only three, but each week a new set of challenges pop up out of the blue, which need sorting out.
Last week, it was trying to get her to go to and enjoy nursery again after a little setback. This week it’s trying to reign in her cheekiness without dampening her spirit.
But when it comes to motherhood, what exactly is a good mum?
What makes a good mum?
What on earth is being a good mum all about?
Well for starters, just being there and turning up for the job, matters I guess.
Day in, day out, we wash, we dress, we cook, we clean, we care, we play, we reprimand, we tidy and we love.
There’s no off days from being a mum. Not even when you’re sick. Not even when you’re at the end of your tether. Which let’s face it, happens to the best of us.
So being there and rolling with the good days and the bad, is definitely part and parcel of being a good mum.
But what else?
Well the key for me, definitely boils down to loving and nurturing.
And the good news is, you don’t – as I once wrongly thought – have to be an earth mother to do that.
Nope, being a loving mum just kind of comes doesn’t it?
It just kind of happens.
Once you see those blue lines pop up on a pregnancy test, once you place your hand on your ever growing bump and feel them wriggle, once they arrive into the world, helpless and in total need of you.
Their mum. Their world. Their everything.
Somehow you don’t have to be the most loving or nurturing person in the world to be a loving or nurturing mum. Bonkers yes. But it just kind of happens, doesn’t it?
That love, that fierce, all consuming love that keeps you going through the dark days (and nights).
That fierce, all consuming love that just makes you want to kiss them a million times and smell their sweet smelling heads and squeeze them extra tight, so tight as you get your fix of that mother-child affection.
That fierce, all consuming love that just makes you want to eat them up. (Kind of.) If you could.
Elsie: “No Mummy! You can’t eat me up!”
Me: “I know darling, but I can try! Come here!”
That love, that fierce, all consuming love. It just kinda happens doesn’t it? Nor does it seem to diminish either.
So when you’ve got the love thang down, what else?
Well patience is a good virtue to have if you’re a mum I reckon, if you can find it and hang onto it that is. Beneath all of the exhaustion and mess and chaos.
As too is courage.
In fact, I would actually say courage is a must. A very necessary requirement for all mums hoping to be good ones. Hoping to be a belter, a cracker, the best at the job.
Courage to see through a pregnancy and labour and hope, beyond hope, that you will be one of the lucky ones to deliver and take home a healthy baby.
Courage to tackle those newborn days, when you feel as if you could sleep for a week and you’re so sore, down there, that you could weep with each painful step.
Courage to trust in your instincts as a mum, especially as a first time mum, to have faith that you do indeed know best.
Courage to believe in yourself, that you can do this, that whatever this motherhood throws at you, you will catch it and you will deal.
Yep, a whole lot of that lioness kind of stuff, is most definitely needed to be a good mum.
But what else?
Some would say, being fun and playful, is the key to being a good mum.
And yep I can see there’s an element of truth in that. But what if you’re not the most playful by nature?
Some would say, doing everything by the book is the key to being a good mum?
But which book? And why? If anything, parenting books made me less of a good mum, because I was so fraught with worry that I was doing things wrong.
Some would say, protecting them from the darkness in the world, is the key to being a good mum?
And of course this is right. But at which point do you let them spread their wings a little? When do you step back and know you can only do so much to protect them, especially as they get older?
Some would say, letting them make their own choices makes you a good mum?
But that would depend on what choices they make wouldn’t it?
So. Many. Questions. And opinions. Lots of opinions. And oh my deary me, so many different ways!
And this is motherhood isn’t it? The endless choices and beliefs and values. This is what makes it all so damn tricky.
Because there are no rights or wrongs. Not really. As long as you’re caring and having a good go at the job.
Us mums, we’re all just doing our best. Figuring stuff out. Learning as we go.
There is no tick list to being a good mum. There is no guidebook. There are no rules.
What I think is essential to being a good mum, others may think unnecessary. What you think is essential, I might consider more of a nice to have.
The way I parent my daughter may not be your cup of mummy tea, but yet to others, it may – I like to think – actually be the perfect kind of motherhood brew.
So what actually does make you or I a ‘good mum’?
I’m afraid that although I do indeed have some ideas, I actually don’t have a clue! (Sorry.)
But, I do know this.
If you’re showing up for the job.
If you’re loving them with an intensity you cannot diminish nor would ever want to.
If you’re having courage in your mothering abilities and just doing the best you can, whenever you can.
Then by all accounts, it sounds like you’re one hell of a bloody good mum to me.