I am a young mother of 4 kids. I have had some really good mom moments- like when I find the stuffed animal that has been lost for 3 months, or when I cook something for dinner and NOBODY complains (yes, it’s waffles, but so what!), or when my mom-ninja skills kick in and the laundry and dishes are both done at the same time and my kids have done their chores without whining. But I’ve also had some really awful mothering moments. Like when I just can’t seem to get everything together and life seems to be falling through the cracks, homework doesn’t get done, kids seem to be fighting all the time, the house is a wreck, and my marriage is less than amazing. Sometimes I sit and wonder if I’m doing this Mom thing right.
I’ve been paying attention to moms around me who seem like they have it all together. And let me tell you, nobody does. There is always something missing, something lacking, and trust me when I say every mother wonders if she’s doing this mom thing right. But I have been paying attention to moms that I admire (like my own mom), and I’ve noticed 4 things that “good” moms DO NOT do. Take it or leave it, this is just my opinion and what I’ve noticed as things to avoid.
Good moms do not spend excess amounts of time on their phones.
I’m not going to lie, I am addicted to my phone. There, I said it. Every morning, the first thing I do is check my phone. I lay in bed and check my Instagram, Facebook, email, etc. I do not get out of bed until I am sure the world of social media had not ended. It’s also the last thing I do before I go to bed. My husband will fall asleep, and I’ll roll over and play on my phone for another hour or two before I go to sleep. Then during the day, whenever I sit down, it’s like my thumbs have a mind of their own, and they just open the apps, one after another until I’ve scrolled through all of my feeds and read every article. I loooove me some time on my phone! But let me tell you, my family suffers because of it. I have noticed times where I am on my phone for the majority of the day- not all at once, but little check-ins here or there. My poor kids are growing up with a device between them and their mother’s face.
If you are a mom, especially with little kids, I get it. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t spoken to a grown up in years. I’ve been there- I’m still there! My phone is almost always used for social media, mainly Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. It’s like I get a little adult interaction during the day. I think there is a place and time for social media, texting, and reading articles. Facebook is the only way I keep up with some cherished friends. But when it comes to a place where your actual, real-life relationships are struggling because of time spent on your phone with your “virtual” friends, it needs to stop.
I used to say that I needed my phone in my hand because what if I get an important phone call? I don’t have a home phone, so all of the calls come through my cell phone. Well, I found a solution to that. I have paired my cell phone to a cordless phone set (I have this phone set from Amazon, and it works so great!). So now when people call me, it rings to a phone in my house, and I don’t feel like I have to keep my cell phone in my hand all day- it’s been so nice!
In this article (one thing I changed that made me a better wife and mom), you’ll read that I have made it a goal not to even look at my cell phone or turn on the computer or TV until after everyone is dressed, fed, and the older kids are off to school. My phone is not my number one priority. My family is my number one priority. I have noticed that moms who know this are much more successful in their homes.
Good moms do not become addicted
We all get addicted to different things here or there. Some are more serious and long-lasting than others, but everyone has something. Each of our struggles are all different- addiction to different substances or food, drug or alcohol, pornography addiction, sleep or TV addiction, and even addiction to good things like exercise or spending time at the gym. At times, I have become addicted to my phone (if that wasn’t obvious by now), to a good book, to Netflix (hello Gilmore Girls!), or to my work. But I have promised my family that I will do everything I can to avoid addiction, and my family has promised the same thing to me.
Of course we try to avoid really serious addictions that are dangerous, but we also try to avoid small addictions that can hurt our relationships. This means that when I notice I’m becoming consumed by something, I try to slow down or stop. If there is every anything I feel like I need to hide from my husband or family, I know that I should cut it out of my life right away. And sometimes this means that I need to confide in my family that I’m struggling with something. Every time we have confided in each other that we are struggling, we have grown closer together, and our relationships are stronger because of it.
I know it seems silly, but spending too much time watching TV, on your phone, or behind the pages of a book can be harmful to your relationships with your spouse and family because they start to become neglected. I’ve watched the marriages and family relationships of several friends deteriorate because they became addicted to fitness and being at the gym- they chose the gym over spending time with their family and they started relationships with people they found at the gym. Any time you choose something over your spouse and family, there is a problem. It’s good to have hobbies and even enjoy doing things away from your family, but hobbies and family life should happily coincide, not compete or take away from each other.
One of the promises I made to my husband is that if one of us ever notices something that’s taking over the other one’s life, we will tell each other. It’s not always easy to take, but we know that we’re just watching out for each other, and being addicted to anything isn’t good. If you, your spouse, or your child has a serious addiction, such as drug or alcohol addiction, or a pornography addiction, please seek help from a professional. You will be a better mom, and you will have a happier family when family members are free of addiction.
Good moms do not always put her kids first
Please don’t send me hate mail or leave me nasty comments about this. I need you to really hear me out on this one. I believe, whole heatedly, that being a mother is the reason I am on this Earth. I know that I will never do anything greater than raise a family. But when kids become the first priority in a home, above anything else, that is a problem. Kids should be a priority, yes. They are important. But I want to teach my kids that they should put others before themselves. I want them to learn how to sacrifice their own wants and needs for other people. This book changed my perspective on mothering and helped me realize how often our kids feel entitled! I have noticed good mothers who I admire do not always give their kids everything they want. They take care of their kids, of course. But they also teach their children how to deal with the disappointment of not always getting their way. They teach their kids how to work for the things they want. They teach their kids to think of others before they think of themselves. Good mothers know that if they always put their kids first and give into whatever they want, they will have selfish, spoiled kids.
This advice can also help with your marriage. When I counseled with my religious leader before I was married, he told me that there would come a day when I had a bunch of little kids running around, and I would think my first priority was those kids and maybe my husband might feel like he’s lost his wife because she became Mommy instead. Now that I’m in the middle of that stage of life, I see how easy that can be. But my first priority should always be God, then my husband, and hopefully together, we can be great parents.
Good moms do not have chaos
I’m always trying my best to keep my home and life in ORDER. This has two parts. It means trying to keep the clutter and messes picked up in our home, and it also means making sure we keep a schedule and aren’t always late or missing everything.
Keeping your home in order does not mean keeping your home spotless. There is definitely a difference. It’s hard for me to keep my house clean, it really is. But I try to have chore charts (for my kids and myself) and try to teach my kids that taking care of our home is important. I even have a robot vacuum (that is seriously awesome!) I really think that the state of our home effects our emotions and attitudes. When things are cleaned up and kept in order, our home feels like a place we want to be. When it’s a disaster, it seems like everyone is cranky and upset. I’ve noticed that moms I admire tend to keep their homes in order- not immaculate. If you feel like you are stuck in a rut in keeping your home in order, seriously buy this book!
Keeping our lives in order is equally as difficult as keeping our home in order. It seems like I’m always either way too early for everything, or way too late- and it doesn’t matter anyway because I forgot it’s my turn to bring the treats. It seemed like I could never keep everything straight. Let me tell you my two best tools- a calendar and having my kids be responsible for their own activities.
I used to keep my calendar on my phone, but then I found that I was even more addicted to my phone! Now I use this paper planner from Amazon that I LOVE, and besides not having my phone in my face all day, I actually feel a lot more organized and prepared too. I feel SO much better using this planner. But the second part is having my kids be accountable for their own activities. Besides keeping this paper planner, I also have a BIG whiteboard calendar (also from Amazon) in our kitchen. That way, the kids can mark down when they have something, like a game or practice, and it’s easy to see at a glance. Each kid has a different color of marker, so they can tell when they have something coming up. I love that instead of me trying to keep track of everything everyone has going on, my family can chip in and learn how to be responsible for their own schedules.
I know that if you put some effort into avoiding these 4 things (and probably countless others), you’ll be a better mom, and raise happier and healthier kids because of it.
If you liked this article, you might like some of these other articles I’ve written: