I am not a Good Mother. I recently had a conversation with a friend, who seemed a bit startled at her buddy (out of state) who has gotten much looser with her language and thinking. She wasnât keeping the image of the âgood motherâ. This friend has gone through 2 bouts of a terminal disease with her teenage son. Right now, the teen is holding his own and surviving. I understood completely that this âgood motherâ threw away the role to be the parent her children needed. As we raise our daughters and as we ourselves grow up, we almost all want to hold the position of the good mother. Somehow, visions of constant acceptance, love and patience are daily occurrences regardless of the troubles that a âgood motherâ may have to live with or cover up. We are gracious under the burden of motherhood and all the normal mothering symptoms. It is a position of reverence that stands for the ultimate goodness. It is the high point of our womanhood. It is also a role. It carries its own perks and awe inspiring respect. We think that the outside persona is the meat of the role. We aspire to be the best of the best. In the heat of the battle of trying to raise a challenging child, you realize that the perfect choc chip cookies, ironed clothes, and perfectly balanced meals haven't insulated your family from the ugly stuff that shouldn't happen to a "good mother." Even membership in the PTA canât protect our kids! All the good mother techniques fail to help your raging, obscene-talking, risk-taking, drug-taking, school-flunking child. You beat yourself up wondering why you arenât being a good enough mother. You are perplexed and even desperate to find out why they are not doing the things that kids who have good mothers should be doing. It must be your fault that your daughter is out of control and disrespectful or that your son is being picked up by the police or is hanging with scary people. Being a good mother doesnât transfer into having healthy, happy functioning adult children. Their behavior must be a reflection of your bad mothering. There is defensiveness and anger and confusion. How can this be? How had I failed at the job of being the good mother? You fight the child, you fight the behavior, and you become almost sanctimonious in your own defense. Itâs not âmyâ fault. I was the good mother. Look at all that I have done for Sally/Johnnie. I baked cookies, for goodness sakes! It is his fault because he is incorrigible. He/she wonât listen. Itâs the exâs fault. Itâs the schoolâs fault. It still doesnât save your child or your family from the pain. You are finally on your knees trying to find a different way or route to help your child. You see the writing on the wall. You will lose your child to his disorder, to his mental illness, to his self destructive ways. It hits you then. You have turned the corner. You arenât looking for ways to be the âgood motherâ anymore. You are looking for ways to help your child. You are looking for a way to give your child what he needs. It has turned from being about you and the job/role you are trying to fulfill to being about what your child needs. The emphasis becomes child-centered as opposed to egocentric. If your child is suffering from some error on your part, you step up and correct it. You have to do the right thing if you are negligent, but, you stop taking his behavior to be a reflection of your good/bad mothering and see it for what it is, a byproduct of their own thinking, their own disorder, and their own lack of self control. You donât âownâ the behavior; you just want to parent your child to be a good and decent person. You no longer care what others think of your mothering role. You are focused on saving your child. The role of being a good mother is just a framework. It gets us started towards the ultimate goal of being a good parent to your own children. It is where we start when we plan our parenting future. We have to progress to a deeper level. Looking at the needs of the child as having priority over me living up to a role makes all the difference in the world. This is when I really understood what being a parent meant. It is a relief to not have to live up to standards that arenât really relevant to helping make my kids better adults. I donât even have to join the PTA and I can still be a good parent to my children! Looking at what my son needed from me in terms of guidance, research, boundaries, standards, morals went a long way towards getting me out of the mindset of being the June Cleaver type good mother. He didnât need mom to have a perfect house or homemade bread. He needed someone who could intervene to prevent him from making a bad choice or someone who could hold the line when he was pushing boundaries. He needed nurturing on his terms. He needed to know that there is someone who wonât give up, when he was ready to take the next step. He needed us to provide stability in our parenting. Itâs a little more frightening to think outside of the box but it is more effective and allows me to respond to both of my sonsâ needs. You face a bit of suspicion. They arenât getting home cooked meals every night or even 4 nights a week. I am not making their extracurricular activities, my extracurricular activities. I am not living their lives for either of them but Iâm here, solid as a rock when they need to be parented. My world wonât collapse on itself when my children have gone from home. I chose to not make the children the center of the house but to make the family the center of the home. I hope to see that they are living a life without dependency on me (or husband). It is always a hope that they seek counsel and wisdom from their parents but they shouldnât need me. I would imagine every household has a different view on parenting. I just thought I would share my thoughts on tossing the âgood motherâ out so I can replace it with the ongoing improvement in my parenting for my children. Raising children especially challenging one requires a great deal of self sacrifice. Itâs good to have a reality check to make sure why you are sacrificing and who it is serving. Just a thoughtâ¦..