17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What Makes a Great Mother?

So what makes a mother great? Let's hope for the sake of my soon-to-be-born son that it's not CONFIDENCE. I am surrounded by great mothers, women who both inspire and intimidate me. My first baby is due at the end of March and I am still in a state of panic/shock. You'd think the past 8 months of reading, discussing and praying would have helped my cause...nope. Still scared. I hate not being good at things (yeah, I know, who doesn't?). But I REALLY don't like it. I have in the past, gotten over my fear of failure through practice. I love to practice. I practiced on the piano. I practiced all of my debate speeches. I spent many years of my life working 25-30 hours a week in a gym ...yep, practicing. The good news - I never blew a song in a recital. I rarely made mistakes in a debate. I was a fierce competitor in all my gymnastic meets. Oh the glory days. Now back to motherhood. I think the root of my fear lies in my inability to practice being a mother, before Jr. pops out and...I'm his MOTHER. Sure, I have babysat, but we all know that doesn't really count. So I beg of you - all you fabulous mommies out there who I look to - tell me what makes a great mom great in your eyes. And try to make it a skill/quality that I can practice!


  • For the next month you could carry a 10 pound bag of flour around and try to pee, make a meal (or 3), make a bottle...just PRETEND to scoop formula, warm it in the microwave and screw the top on, clean your house, write a check, etc.

    You could set your alarm to go off every two hours at night and try to be awake and ready to feed and change a baby. You could take a spray bottle filled with water and spray it on anything that you DON'T want to be wet, just to get used to the fact that it WILL be wet with pee, spit up, breastmilk, formula, runny poo, blood and oatmeal very shortly.

    You could have some warm milk on the standby next time you do it, and just when things are heating up, pour it all over your spouse, so that you practice knowing what to do when your breastmilk decides to join in the fun (6 weeks after jr's appearance of course).

    And on that note you could stuff your bra with grapefruits so that you get used to the extra weight.

    Or you could just relax and enjoy the calm before the storm and trust that we have all been there, horribly out of practice, and luckily all the babies are still living.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/01/2006 05:06:00 AM  

  • Hilarious Kage...maybe some positive visualization would work just as well and she could skip the alarm clock fake feedings and such.

    But seriously, Melissa, I always admire moms who keep their cool under very trying circumstances (kids tantruming, etc. etc.). I'm definitely NOT in this category of cool moms. I guess you could practice being patient w. your DH and others, but I know you'll be an AMAZING mom so just try and enjoy the end of your pregnancy and having that baby in your tummy.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 3/01/2006 05:23:00 AM  

  • You may just want to keep up with your current skills. A quick handstand will get the attention of any toddler(and yes I do this). A fun song will make you all of you giggle and your debate skills will be needed for those quick witted three year olds. The best thing about motherhood is realizing you may just be better equipped than you thought you were and kids are pretty resilient.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 3/01/2006 08:00:00 AM  

  • Haha. Kids are VERY resilient.

    Here's some tips off the top of my head (remember my kids are all teenagers, so the only toddlers I see are my nursery kids):

    1. Try to show them how to do something correctly, rather than telling them not to do something. IE, "Touch the dog gently," not "STOP PULLING THE DOG'S HAIR." Believe me, this can take practice.

    2. Be consistent. This is hard. Practice this a lot.

    3. Redirection, redirection, redirection. The most valuable skill a mother can have.
    posted by Blogger Susan M at 3/01/2006 08:15:00 AM  

  • Ah, heck. You'll get practice! Plenty of it!

    I remember when I was dating dh and his boss (a great lady) told us that when it came to sex, we need to just practice, practice, practice.

    Of course, we couldn't "practice" until we were married...

    Ah, so you can't practice bein' a mom until you're a mom (although kage has something goin' there...). It's one of those rites things:
    --don't know what it's like to be married until you're married.
    --don't know about sex until you've had it
    --don't know about labor until you go through it
    --don't know about parenthood until you're a parent...

    Just put your feet up and breathe in the quiet. Trust you me, quiet is worth breathing in! :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/01/2006 10:21:00 PM  

  • what makes a great mother is a mum who loves her children enough to be there for them, to be patient and loving and willing to admit she makes mistakes, who puts her marriage first, and don't think they have to conform to some idealised version of motherhood. you don't have to have the child who is involved in everything, ahead of the game in all aspects, who is perfect all the time, etc etc. you have to love your child and want what is best for him/her. and you will know what is best for her/him when you go to the Lord in prayer and rely on inspiration (and trust me, you will get it). but what makes a great mum is not worrying about everyone else,and no confidence isn't necessary. just love and lots of it. oh and know that forgiveness is a given. you won't be perfect, but as long as your child is aware of how very much you love him/her, then it will all turn out right.
    posted by Blogger Mary Siever at 3/02/2006 12:00:00 PM  

  • Melissa - I remember the few weeks before my little man was born I was a nervous wreck! The entire pregnancy I was totally confident and somewhat carefree considering, and then it hit me. It's like the closer you get the scarier it all seems... like there's no turning back (and of course there's not). And there's all this build-up... 9 months of anticipation, and it just about killed me once I got to 38 weeks! The best will be when you finally see your little guy and can actually (hands-on) love him and hold him and FINALLY get to do all the things that you've been reading about all these months. In the meantime - SLEEP-IN EVERY SINGLE DAY until he gets here.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 3/07/2006 10:48:00 PM  

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