“I’m a Good Mom”- Count Your Strengths

My friend Diane Sanford, PhD, co-wrote an incredible book with Ann Dunnewold, PhD, for new mothers, called Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide. She mailed me a copy, and since I received it a few months ago, I occasionally turn to it when I’m having one of those “I’m a terrible mother” days. You know those days? I hope you don’t, but I think they’re an inherent part of this motherhood gig, unfortunately.

This book is one I wish I could loan to all of my pregnant postpartum friends–but I can’t bear to part with it. So I’ll recommend it instead. Especially this exercise in the book, called “Two Minutes for Yourself”:

Two Minutes for Yourself

Take out a sheet of paper. Fold it in half length-wise. On one side, write your strengths. The flip it over and write, “The mom I want to be” on the other side at the top. List the ten qualities that you think make a good mom. Your list may include virtues such as patience, drive, and organization, or more diverse elements such as joyfulness or an affectionate nature. Now take a deep breath and view the lists. Which qualities do you intrinsically posess? Many of these attributes may already be on your strengths list. Circle the matching ones on both lists. Recopy these (or the top five, if you have more than five) onto a three-by-five note card with the heading “Qualities I have which make me a good mom.” Tear up the other list and throw it away. Rather than fretting about what personal aspects of a stereotypic good mom you lack, focus on the strengths you bring to this new relationship. There are as many ways to be a good mother as there are opinions about getting a baby to sleep through the night. Put the card in your purse or wallet and review it regularly to build your confidence in this new role.

Doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to spend a few minutes? When I did this exercise myself, I was surprised to see that many of the qualities I listed as possessed by a good mom are ones I had also listed as my strengths. I think you will be similarly surprised.

Today’s author is Jaime of  jamesandjax.com a wonderful blog for new and veteran moms.

5 Comments »

  1. thank you for sharing this Jaime. I found the exercise very helpful and can totally understand not wanting to let go of such a valuable resource. This made me want to buy a copy!

  2. When my kids were little I was not the mother I thought I should be. I Always felt inferior because I was the working mom, the tired mom,the organized mom. You get the point. My time came when all those “perfect mom’s stopped being the “the perfect mom” with their preteens and teen and I shined. I was creative,crafty,a listener,just as melodramatic as my kids. It was great and we are all good parents. My kids are all in their twenties now and are great kids

  3. I think when we finally stop pushing ourselves to be “perfect”-whatever that is, things go much better. My co-author Ann talks about being a “good enough” mom and once we connect with our positive qualities, we can draw on them. If anyone is interested in ordering a signed copy of our book directly from me, leave your e-mail and I can let you know about cost. I’ll also include a free copy of my relaxation sampler CD.

  4. There’s that word “perfect” again! Such a potentially ugly word. It makes many of us feel inferior, not good enough. It should be banned from a mother’s vocabulary! 🙂

    Shelley, thanks for your comment. I’m thrilled you are shining as a mother. I bet you always did, but you just couldn’t see it!