What Makes A Good Mother?

By Cassie

Last weekend was my son’s first tumbling meet. This wasn’t just a tumbling meet but also a milestone. This was the first time in my little man’s life when he was doing something independent of me. The first time I got to volunteer and bake cookies for the bake sale. My first real “look at me being a mom” event.

It went better than I had expected. I got the cookies baked and they didn’t burn. The fact that I managed this while studying for two midterms that were the next day is astonishing in itself! Aiden was dressed and clean. He didn’t have sticky fingers or left overs from breakfast on his face. He was put together and so was I. My hair was done, makeup on, and I took the time to put on jewelry (a rarity in my house).

So, why after all this preparation did I feel inadequate standing next to the other mothers in the gym?

Was it the fact that I was the youngest parent there? Or was is the fact that his father was not there as well? Or was it the fact that I have not accepted myself as a good mother?

I do more than a lot of mothers. I take time to plan day trips in order to give my son cultural experiences. I put thought into the meals I prepare. I attempt to keep the house liveable although I will admit that it’s the last on my list of mothering priorities.

Still, at the end of the day I feel as though I am playing house.

When I was pregnant with Aiden I was sure that everyone expected me to fail. I was seventeen, right out of high-school, and Aiden’s father was having no part of it. I spent those nine months proving that I could do it. I painted his room, worked full time, took fifteen credit hours, and bought everything this little miracle needed on my own.

Still once he came I felt my every move was being watched. I just kept going, holidays became big productions of lavish gifts and cookies I had stayed up till midnight baking so that I could show people that I could handle it all.

And I could. I was young, I had the energy, and I was constantly on the move.

Recently after picking Aiden up at a family event hosted by his fathers side of the family, I was approached by his aunt. I was nervous to hear what she was going to say.

“ You must really work with him- he talks so much and is so smart.”

It was that moment that it hit me. I had made it. I had overcome that stereotype of the trashy single mother that haunted me for so long. People were realizing that I could not only handle motherhood, I could handle it with grace. I walked away that night realizing that I had proved myself to everyone else.

Now it was time to prove it to myself.

Cassie is new to blogging at MessyFunMommyLife.

23 Responses to What Makes A Good Mother?
  1. Heather
    November 7, 2008 | 1:31 am

    We are our own worst critics aren’t we? Glad you are finding your way to believing in yourself. That’s a wonderful thing.

  2. Juliet Seeks
    November 7, 2008 | 1:40 am

    I came across this post on Twitter. I can very much relate to you. I’m a young, never-been-married single mom myself. I’ve never felt comfortable being around other seemingly “regular” moms. I feel like they’re judging me for being young and single, but they’re probably not. We single moms have to appear so strong, and we are strong by default, but it’s easy to let the insecurities take over. I peeked at your other blog too, and it sounds like you’re doing a terrific job.

  3. Shannon Smith
    November 7, 2008 | 1:41 am

    Wow. I’m crying. Seriously tears welling up in my eyes. It’s like you were writing about me. I so understand that feeling of everybody is watching me. Expecting me to need help or fail. And somehow even though we KNOW we are doing great, we never truly believe it. And getting that confirmation, especially from somebody we thought would be judging us, is an awesome feeling. I still cry when my mom tells me how good I’m doing.

    Kudos to you! I’m off to check out your regular blog and bookmark you.

  4. Crafty Mama
    November 7, 2008 | 1:54 am

    I was only a few years older than you were when my first was born. Even though I was fortunate enough to have my husband’s help, he mostly worked nights, and I got those looks when I took my son out without him.

    It takes courage even to show up sometimes, and you seem to have plenty of it. As long as you keep your little boy’s best interest first, you’ll be a wonderful mother. Don’t let anyone or anything make you doubt your worth.

  5. Mrs Lemon
    November 7, 2008 | 8:54 am

    I’m 28 & married, and STILL feel like everyone is watching me with my baby to make sure I’m doing it right. Great job not burning the cookies 🙂

  6. Blessed
    November 7, 2008 | 11:01 am

    I think it’s a struggle all of us moms go through – it sounds like you are doing an AWESOME job with your son – keep up the good work!

  7. Courtney
    November 7, 2008 | 11:46 am

    I can relate to this so well. I am not a single mom but i am a young mom. 19 when i had my first son and 20 when i had my 2nd son. People are always waiting for you to fail so they can say their i told you sos. I had the “i am a good mom moment” the other day when we had our very first Parent/Teacher conference and the teachers just gushed at how smart and imaginative my oldest son is. It made me realize i was doing this parenting thing right.

  8. Crockstar
    November 7, 2008 | 11:46 am

    Even though I was 30 with a career and a college education when I became a single mom, I very much understand exactly what you are feeling. I still have moments of feeling like I am under the microscope. But as my daughter has gotten older the pressure to prove myself as the non-stereotypical single mom has eased a bit.

    Power through, you are doing a great job!!

  9. Stephanie
    November 7, 2008 | 3:28 pm

    Cassie, I am so thankful for your insight and view on parenting! We’re so glad to have you here.


  10. Candace
    November 7, 2008 | 5:30 pm

    I can relate. While I have been a single mom I can understand because I had my son when I was 22 and even though by that point I had been married for 3 years sometimes i get the looks when I am out with just my son if they do not see my wedding band. My son attends preschool and i am the youngest mom among his classmates and between snack days,parties, and my college classes I feel very stretched at the end of the day. Good luck!

  11. Candace
    November 7, 2008 | 5:31 pm

    I have not been a single mom. Can not seem to type today

  12. Rachel
    November 7, 2008 | 6:28 pm

    Cassie, GREAT post!!!
    I too struggle to live up to and surpass other people’s expectations of me. But you have a great insight – it’s probably that I’m trying to live up to my OWN expectations, not other people’s.
    Thanks for your thoughts! I’m looking forward to reading your posts going forward!

  13. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
    November 7, 2008 | 6:58 pm

    Wow, Cassie! What a BRILLIANT post. I LOVE it.

    It’s amazing how people’s negative impressions or stereotypes of us can end up driving us to huge successes. It can be so frustrating and upsetting that we feel like we have to ‘prove’ ourselves, but in the end we’re the ones who are the better for it.

    As a young woman (who looks soooooo young) in the software development business world I felt like I was constantly having to prove myself everyday. Even now as a 35 year old mother I still feel out of place next to many of the other moms because I still look so young.

    But power to you, girl!!!

    And welcome to the “5 Minutes” sisterhood. We’re honored to have you.

  14. Kelly
    November 7, 2008 | 7:21 pm

    Great post, Cassie. I love the honesty and sense of burgeoning self-confidence you portray.

    I look forward to more!

  15. Checking In With Our Sisters
    November 7, 2008 | 8:59 pm

    […] Cassie has just published a touching post about proving herself as young, single mom. Read about how a bake sale taught Cassie What Makes A Good Mother? […]

  16. Cynthia
    November 9, 2008 | 9:06 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. It sounds like you are a wonderful mom. Maybe your post will make some of us think about the way we look at other people and the stereotypes we hold.

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