What is a “Good” Mom & How Do You Get There?

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It’s funny how the idea of “a good mom” changes over the course of one’s life…

We start at it early, as kids who naively placed the “good mom” title on how many times she turned into or passed by the McDonald’s drive-thru, or of course, if she was able to find and buy that rare Squishmallow for us.

From there, as teens, our moms might not have ever “let us do anything!” with the many things that go along with that statement determining whether or not our moms were good.

And then the “good mom” debate lightens up a bit from there, right? We go to college, establish independence, and quit testing mom on whether she is good or not.

After that, perhaps the next time you really start thinking about the idea of a good mom is when you find yourself thinking about your own kids, and all of the questions that come along with parenting. You just keep telling yourself over and over, I just want to be a good mom, I just want to be a good mom.

And then it becomes more about instincts once the baby is born. You think less about being a good mom and just do what you think is best for your child. There isn’t any judgment, as you and your partner are simply dong whatever you can to bring up your child safely, and healthily.

But then, guess what happens? As your child gets older and to the age of “Can I have/do this or that,” It’s your turn for the “good mom” test. To pass, you might be thinking about how many times you’re turning into McDonald’s. Or how many toys you’re buying when being pestered. How much are you really letting your teen do, or are you such a terrible mom that you don’t let them do anything?

All that’s to say, there is no guidebook on being a good mom.

Sure, I can list some tips on what it takes to be a good mom, but the situation is different for every single parent and child. Instead, it’s now what you need to do to be a good mom, but instead, the characteristics you should try and acquire and emphasize on your journey.

Characteristics, Qualities & Actions of a Good Mom

Keep in mind that it’s impossible for me to know where you are along your motherhood journey in terms of the ages of your children, personal circumstances, etc. Thus, not everything below will apply to you. But with that said, think about how it can be tweaked to apply to your own situation.

Listen & Extract

Kids’ brains can so easily fill up with the most random of thoughts, leading to an overspill of questions, and let’s face it, some off-the-wall topics.

Well, even as kids grow older and into adulthood, the thought accumulation doesn’t really stop, but people just learn to keep some things to themselves, or, out of embarrassment, don’t want to bring something up in the first place.

So, a good mom will, one, listen to the crazy topics a five-year-old is incessantly spewing and will listen when their older child is worrying over something that seems so ridiculous in the moment.

But, a good mom will also read the room, and as tough as it might be some time, try to extract whatever it is that might be filling up the brain of their child in the moments that they simply don’t want to talk about it, no matter their age.


From there, a good mom responds. The meat of that response is an entirely different discussion, but the point here is that good moms thoughtfully listen, and then respond just as thoughtfully; just as they would in any other discussion with one of their own friends, coworker, etc.

It’s easy to brush aside a conversation with your child because, well, they are your child, and there might not be any major repercussions in the moment. But, put yourself in their shoes and remind yourself that if they are coming to you with a concern,


Notice how nowhere here are we talking about being perfect? One of the hardest things as a parent is to deal with the decisions we make if those decisions don’t exactly turn out the way we or our kids wanted. You bought the “wrong” toy; you sent them to the “wrong” school; you let them play with the “wrong.”

With it all, though, there is no telling what the future holds, and just because something happens because of something else you did prior, it doesn’t mean that prior action was the true cause, right?

Point is, all you can do is act with good intention. So, a good mom simply does what they think is best for the moment, and guides their child the best way they know how. It won’t always be 100% correct, and sometimes it will be flat out failure, but the “good” mom part falls with the intention of the original action.

All of this is in addition to the basics: teaching kids about respect, behavior, and just how to be an overall good person.


This one is a tough one because when are you most likely to hear that you’re actually a terrible mom? Probably when you’re disciplining! So, stick to your guns, and know that a good mom isn’t a simply a “yes” person. I don’t have to elaborate much further than that, because we all know what a kid without boundaries or consequence is capable of doing.


With that said, a good mom who is quick to say “no” when they need to should also be open to saying “yes” and then some when the time is right. It’s called encouragement, and it comes in the form of, “yes, go ahead” when permission is asked, but also “you can do it” when the times are tough and chips are stacked against.


And then with both encouragement and discipline, guess what can come next—yes, praise. It’s all about encouraging and reinforcing good behavior, and that comes when discipline causes action correction, and just as important, when encouragement leads your child down a particular path that turns out favorably.

So, praise. Tell your kids good job when warranted, for whatever it is. It can help lead to repeat positive behavior, potentially boost confidence, and much more.


Last, a good mom simply loves. This doesn’t mean an abundance of hugs and affection; it could, but doesn’t have to. Instead, it just means sometimes tossing the entire “good mom” playbook out of the window, and giving whatever love your child might need at that point in time.