Sunday, January 11, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be A Good Mom?

Submitted for post by SoccerMomof3

I am standing in my kitchen stirring Mac and Cheese for dinner (which is already an hour late) looking around and asking myself...would anyone consider me a good mom? This question comes from many discussion blogs that I found today. (By the way...I wasn't searching for the blogs but for a cheaper calendar like Kate's. While I do like the one she has I AM NOT willing to pay $50.00 for one like hers. I just do it...especially since I am at home right now and we only have one income coming in. But anyway...) They weren't talking about whether Kate is a good mom...but this question that keeps getting people into bitter debates with one another.

I think the main part of this discussion deals with two main sides. One side admires Kate and the other loathes her (or have a strong dislike). As I was reading these comments from others on the board I couldn't understand what made people so fired up until it hit me when I was standing in my kitchen. If there were cameras in my house at that very moment what would people say? (Let me paint a picture)...I am in baggie sweats and a tank top standing in a small kitchen in desperate need of a sweeping and mopping. There is a sink full of dishes overflowing onto the counter. I have grease spilled on my counter from food. There are toys scattered about the living room, kitchen, and dining room. I sigh as for the fourth time in the last 20 minutes my 3 year old ask for a drink. I am trying to help my 5 year old read a book meanwhile my 5 month old is crying for me to nurse him. I am fuming at my husband because we just had a fight over whether the kids should be in the kitchen when I am cooking. I have a load of laundry that needed my attention a while ago. My hair is not done and no I haven't had a chance to bathe today. So what does that say about me? Am I a good mom? What would people think of me if they saw that I lose my temper way more than I should (and way more than Kate I might add), make my kids redo their toy baskets (yes I dump the toys out if they are not in the correct bin). Would people think I am over obsessive about certain things and just plain lazy about others.

Which brings me to the heart of many discussions about Kate. Is is abrasive, OCD behaving b*tch or is she a woman who really is in control (sometimes a bit too much), very organized, and knows how to keep her house in order? Do I admire Kate? I don't know. I watch the show all the time...I am a fan of the show. Do I always agree with how she talks to Jon or what she says about the I am just as guilty of doing that as Kate. I guess I am on the admiring side. Not the get on your knees and worship but a wish I could be at that level admiration. I admire the fact that she has a schedule and ACTUALLY keeps it. (Something I am struggling with and hopefully will get by the end of this month.) I admire that she doesn't procrastinate and gets things done right then and there. (I am a huge procrastinator and I hate that). I love the fact that she is organized. Something I am in the midst of doing. Now can I accomplish everything I just mentioned...sure and then some but its like trying to find the end of a rainbow. I see it but the end is not coming anytime soon. Do I feel the need to worship this but then again there are people out there that do and I tell them go ahead that's just not me.

I really need to know...what constitutes being a good mom? Is Kate a good mom? Am I, are you? What makes you a good mom?

SoccerMomof3 has her own blog called "Jon and Kate Plus 8--A Balanced View"
and you can find it here.


Nina Bell said...

Mom of 27 years here and I still haven't figured that one out. I will have to think about this and weigh in later.

SoccerMomof3 said...

Sorry about the misspellings and missed words. It was late when I wrote it and like Kate says...I was so exhausted.(LOL) But really I was. My apologies to those who do read this.

SamanthaNC said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've often wondered if I would be viewed as a good mom, based on the measuring stick Kate is judged by I suppose not. Afterall I'm not perfect just yet lol, (don't tell my husband bc through many years of skillfull deceit and repetition I've convinced him that I am nothing less).

Many viewers seem to expect perfection, or maybe its that if it isn't the way they would do it then it must be wrong. I think Kate is a great mom, a mother with faults, but a great mom nonethless. Its obvious (to me anyway) that she loves her children and they are well cared for. I see her delight in their budding personalities and their experiences. I'm especially touched by her patience and understanding with Mady's sometimes less than stellar behavior.

I love my child with a passion and fervor that I never knew existed until I became a mother. I'm definitley not perfect but I dearly hope that when she's all grown up she considers me a "good" mom and sees that above all else she was dearly loved, protected, and cared for.

Lizabeth said...

I am not a mother. I have been a nanny, the infant room supervisor at a day care, a babysitter since I was 11, and the loving aunt of one 15 month old who I recently taught how to blow a whistle.

The thing I have learned most in working with kids is they need three things to thrive-- love, structure, and security. Who cares if you haven't showered or there is a messy house? Your kids aren't going into the fridge to climb the shelves and get juice for themselves (this time). Who cares if you have a messy house? My mom (who raised 5 kids and now watches my nephew) and I agree that boring women have clean houses.

I think as women especially we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do things better than others expect and to be exactly what we perceive 'good' to be. While I don't have kids, I feel constant pressure from my parents (to find a guy who will marry me and start my own family), from my friends (to talk to them more, spend more time hanging out, and to be more supportive), as well as my boss and coworkers (to do a better job faster and more efficiently).

That is just how I work though-- all of those outside forces close in so that while I don't have 3 little ones and a husband relying on me, I am sitting here this morning after oversleeping (SNL was awesome last night!), in pajamas with messy hair and my glasses on instead of contacts. I have a 15 page paper and 10 minute presentation due in 11 days and have barely started research for it yet. Besides that there is other homework left to do and my email inbox needs to be sifted through before I can find the journal articles I sent myself to print off today. My ex boyfriend wants to get back together but I need time to get through the really emotional task of rebuilding trust before I even think of doing that. I have bills to pay and cleaning to do as well as trying to figure out just what to think about my life.

Honestly, your life seems a lot more manageable than mine to deal with (as usual-- grass is always greener after all)!! There are days where I wish I could fast forward so I was the one at the sink trying to get through the day with 3 little ones, but I know in time that will happen and I'll probably want to be back in my Masters classes days :)!

Maybe that's just it... its not about being 'good' by what the world thinks or even by what you determine to be the right way to act. Its about loving your kids, giving them a home where they are free to be who they were created to be. Being a good mother takes the same skills as being a good person-- lots of hope, plenty of love, a good amount of common sense, and the grace to get through each day.

FIONA said...

I think as long as you put your child's best interests as a priority you will be a great Mom.

That being said, it is certainly not the easiest way to parent, but I don't think being a good parent is an easy job. There are times when it isn't even rewarding. And when does it end? Not sure about that one.

While being a parent has been the greatest accomplishment of my life, it has also brought tears of joy as well as tears of pain.

I truly believe if you want to be a good Mother with all of your heart and soul, you will be.

themrs said...

first of all, soccermom, you ARE a good mom. no, i don't know. but i am a firm believer that God gives children to the people who are meant to be their parents. He chose YOU to raise those kids. i laughed reading your description of your evening because it sounds like my life. i hate for the kids to be in the kitchen while i'm cooking, i don't get to bathe on a regular basis and i live in pj pants. but on the days i'm looking around at my messy house, my unmopped floor, the laundry that has turned into a mountain, i remind myself of one thing: when my kids are grown they will never look back and say "i wish my mom had spent more time cleaning". they will remember all the time i spent with them. our days at the park, reading stories, playing dressup and just hanging out. so if i have to have a disorganized messy house to do those things, then it's worth it. i frequently think that when they're all grown and out of my house, i'll miss the mess a little. my house will most likely be much cleaner but oh so quiet. i think kate does everything she does out of love and a desire to give her kids a good life. i don't agree with her methods frequently, but i understand the motive behind it. i wish (honestly) that they would end the show but i see why they're doing it. if a camera was here to capture my yelling on a bad day and see how filthy my kitchen floor is before i finally mop it they'd need several blogs to discuss it. (of course, that's why i'd not do it :) i spent the first few years of my marriage trying to have the "perfect" house and perfect looking kids and looking good all the time. i was exhausted and defeated because it's a standard i could never live up to. i finally realized, who am i trying to impress? who cares if my son wears his batman costume to the grocery store? who cares if my three year old wants to wear snow boots and a tutu on a sunny day? who cares if they get play doh all over the floor? so now i let them get dirty (hey-theyr'e washable!) and i let them wear what they want unless its an important event. i don't clean my house up until an hour before my husband comes home. i think i'm a good mom. i have many many faults. i'll never be a perfect mom. but i'm doing the best i can do. i hope when my children are grown they will see that!

SoccerMomof3 said...

Thanks themrs. I think you ARE a good mom too.

Lizabeth while I do understand were you are coming from and I too was were you were at one point. I love my kids and my life. I thank God everyday for blessing me with three kids and anymore if he wills it.

With that being said, I don't want people to think that I wrote this to critque my own parenting or to get a pat on the back saying "your doing a good job."

What got me going on this is the fact that everytime someone says Kate is admirable or a good mom for what she is doing people start saying just the opposite. What I wanted to know (especially to those who are moms)why are we putting these standards on oursleves? Why do we jump down another moms throat when she does something that others find condemnable? (I don't know if that is even a word).

Please don't think I am getting on you for not having kids. You have plenty of experience (much more than me when I had my first child), I guess I was just wondering if anyone else ever thought that question.

indianprincess said...

This was my response on soccermomof3's comment section: I feel parenting is not one-size-fits-all. What works for one mom may not work for another or her kids. Feeling secure about your own style actually makes you a better parent when you're not constantly "trying on" other moms' methods thinking they are better. When you're confident and in your parenting, kids know what's expected of them, and they learn to trust you and feel safe and loved. When you go with what you know is right for your child, it will make you the best possible parent. IMO

That being said, mistakes, guilt, and just plain worrying is part of the package with raising children. My kids seem happy so I must be doing something right. The rewards when you get a hug or "I love you mommy" makes it worth everything.

Desben said...

You put into words what I have always felt about Kate. She is a typical mother who if cameras where following us around would catch some of the same seens we witness with her. I remember when my son was that age. I was stressed, laundry up to my ears,trying to get a decent meal on the table. Basically trying to hold it together. We do the best we can to care for our children and sometimes take ourselves off of the priority list. This was 10 yrs ago. Half the time she seems cranky because she is tired and trying to maintain. I admire her for all the effort she puts into keeping things in order with that many kids. I tend to procrastinate also. My son is a teenager now and adore him to pieces. When he was potty training and in the very dependent stage, I was hanging by a thread with my husband lovingly encouraging me. I relate to Kate when my son was that age and support her as a mother. I wish I had sense enough back then to climb out of the laundy basket and have a spa day every now and then like she does. Good for her.

FIONA said...

The Mrs.

What about all those children born to crack addicts, prostitutes?

"but i am a firm believer that God gives children to the people who are meant to be their parents"

Did God give those children to those women too?

Just because you can bear children will not guarantee you will be a good mother-

Saint said...

Thank you, especially the ladies with little ones at home, for sharing your "Am I a good mom?" stories. I love to see a kid in the grocery store with a batman costume on! I had many a day without a shower. I also learned to let it go until about an hour until Daddy got home, so as to time the cleanest part of the day to his arrival.

I second guess myself all the time, and always have. I'm sure the Gosselins do too. I may not agree with all of their decisions, but they probably would say the same for my and mine if they watched me on TV.

marci said...

SoccerMomof3's post reminds me of a series of Oprah episodes from years ago....does anyone else remember this...where the first episode was about moms talking about how hard the job of being a mother was, and, although they loved their kids dearly, putting up the fascade for the world and for themselves of being the "perfect mother" was just too overwhelming.

What followed was an episode featuring a woman/mother who had emialed Oprah after viewing the show and just thought all these women were crazy and that she thought there was NOTHING to complain about in being a mom. On a follow-up show Ophrah and the audience were dumbfounded with this woman's stubborn ascertion that she had not one thing to "complain" about, and that anyone who did "complain" must be a bad mother.

This is what I'm reminded of when I read posts holding Kate (and anyone who can understand her) up to standards no woman/parent could live up to every minute of every day.

I usally dispell the parenting criticisms of Kate...potty training, cleaning habits, disciplining techniques...for the most part as being a difference of opinion, parenting styles.

What I can't excuse away is the insistance that what Kate is doing as a mother is somehow just WRONG.

There are bloggers, posters in the Gosselin blogging world who don't like to be critiqued on their writing styles or opinions on a blog...can you imagine the uproar if one of them was told they were WRONG for said opinions???

To the posters who are VERY sure you know everything wrong with Kate Gosselin (I assume you know who you are):

Take that feeling of outrage about someone telling you how you should conduct yourself/give your opinions on the internet and then apply it to someone coming to you and telling you you're screwing up your children and you're a bad mother/father.

For example: You may not have your life on TV, but I can sure tell by your bitter posts, over-inflated egos and obviously veiled feelings of inadequacy that you MUST BE A TERRIBLE PARENT, AN INADEQUATE WIFE/HUSBAND AND GENERALLY A WASTE OF SPACE.

If you feel insulted by this, I suggest you reassess where your feelings about Kate are coming from.


Thanks for your honesty. It's one of the things I can appreciate in another person, and coming from one mom to another, it's very powerful to lay it all out there.

I'm a working mom...albeit at one of the most flexible jobs in the world...but I definately feel that I have two full-time jobs. The tug-o-war on my time, energy and emotions is constant. My husband is a great help, but I've often said that I could use a wife myself...someone who could do everything I do just as I would do it when I just don't have the time.

Those days of exhaustion and feeling like you'll never catch up have been many in my time as a mother, and I've also been tired in ways I could not imagine before I had kids ***(not that you're not tired now, Liz, but 3:00 a.m. is a painfully different hour to be awake with a crying infant ;) way around it)***

I think the honest moments you and other mothers share, Kate Gosselin included, help us all keep going. Motherhood can be isolating, especially when we feel we can't talk to anyone else about how hard it can be....yes, even complain once in a while.

So, thanks, again. I heard you and I'm glad you said it.

marci said...

On a side note:

A cheer for my BCS National Champions from The Swamp...

It's great -- to be -- a Florida Gator,

I say,

It's great -- to be -- a Florida Gator!!

Alexis and I love our (Florida) Aldergators!!!

Nina Bell said...


Congratulations. Great game

marci said...

Thanks, Nina.

It WAS a great football rocks!

BEE said...


Sounds like we live similar lives!

This is a question that I struggle with on a daily basis! I hold myself to pretty high standards as to what I think a "good mom" is. I often fall short from my expectations which leaves me laying bed at night stricken with Mommy guilt of how I could of done things better. I pray everyday to be and do better!

But over all, yes I think I am a good mom. There is plenty of room to grow and improve on my parenting skills. However, the one thing that holds true, everyday without fail, is that I love my children and ALL that I do is for them!

I think that everyone will have a slightly different opinion on what being a good mom is. For me it isn't about clean floors or even putting on makeup everyday. For me it is my children knowing that I love them and that I am always here for them. Even though I strive for clean floors and putting makeup on makes me feel better!

As far as Kate goes, yes I think she is a good mother. I truly believe that she loves her children and is doing the best she can by them.

However, I do not think that Kate is perfect. Yes, she is organized and follows a routine with her children. Yes, she gets things accomplished. But I don't think she is overly organized...have you ever caught sight of their utensil drawer or their unfinished basement? Have you ever seen her without makeup, yep, have you ever seen her lose her cool, certainly! These are things that keep her relateable!!

What I think goes on in blogland and in "real life" a lot of times is that there is an unspoken age old "Cat fight" amoung women. I think that a lot of us are competive by nature and if we feel that someone does it "better" then us, we then find a shortcoming of theirs and talk trash about them to make ourselves feel better. I think that people either admire Kate and strive to be more organized or timely like she is, or they feel threatened by her and her accomplishments and so feel the need to pick her apart from her haircut to having her children on a reality show.

I played the game too, and it left me empty and full of negativity. I can still be that lady but I truly strive to be different today.

themrs said...

Fiona asked "Did God give those children to those women too?

Just because you can bear children will not guarantee you will be a good mother-"

i agree with you that are many mothers who shouldn't have become mothers. i think that every woman has the potential to be a good mom, it's her choice whether she is or not. and yes, i believe God gave those women their children. and for them it was a chance to change thier lives and make something beautiful from the ashes. but they chose not to. i say that from a place of experience. i was an addict before my first was born. that pregnancy saved my life. i would have been in jail or dead otherwise. that's the path i was on. then i got pregnant and that was the catalyst for me to change. i CHOSE to better myself for the sake of that child. every prostitute, crack addict and otherwise has the same choice.

marci said...


Brava, my dear! Brava!!

SoccerMomof3 said...

ditto!!!! My hats are off to you.

marci said...

Brava, my dear! Brava!!

scarfoot said...

I think as long as you put your child's best interests as a priority you will be a great Mom.

I would agree with this, mostly, but as someone who regularly meets with many, many parents, I can assure you that this is not always the case. Who is to say what the best interests are for a child? For some parents, having their child compete in beauty pageants at a young age is in their best interests - many would disagree. The young man who was just filmed beating up another young man with his father standing on the side yelling "Stomp on his head! Hit his head on the ground" claims that it is important for his son to learn to defend himself. The child who is told from a young age they are fat, and forced to limit their food to avoid being fat when they are actually a healthy weight - that parent does this maintaining that it is in the child's best interest to not get fat.

There are many, many cases in which parents are doing what they believe is in the best interest of their child, but is actually unacceptable (well, according to me, anyway, and I apparently know everything! HA!). I think something that the blog world frequently forgets is that best interests for children are not cut and dry for every child. The "best interests" of a child are important, and personal, and applicable to different situations. The interpretation of these interests generates great differences of opinion, and I believe this is one of the greatest debates about whether the Gosselins are doing the right thing or not. Kate and Jon claim that doing the show is in the best interest of their children, and a quite vocal minority disagrees.

I'm just playing the devil's advocate here!

scarfoot said...

I am not a mother yet, and am really anxious to be a part of that club! However, I work in a position that allows me frequent contact with parents. I see some truly appalling things. There are some really crazy parents out there. I would guess that being a good mom means that you provide them with the stability, nurturing, support and means to help the child be an independent, thoughtful contributor to society. I try to avoid saying what parents should or should not do, because I haven't had a child yet.

I do want you to know that it is obvious when a child has a good parent. I really admire parents who do a fine job. I try to compliment them as much as possible, because parenting is the hardest thing to do, and I believe parents need to be encouraged. Good parents aren't recognized enough. Your job is incredibly important, and I do appreciate all that you do, even if I never meet you.

Saint said...

Well done, themrs, well done. YOU make a GOOD MOTHER (and a darn good poster, too.)



FIONA said...

The Mrs.

I am glad it worked out for you, but I respectfully disagree.

themrs said...

fiona- which part do you disagree with?

marci said...

Scarfoot (and everybody else),

I think there are some fairly obvious examples of bad parenting like the ones you've given that we've all probably seen in real life that we could point to. I think these examples are pretty cut-and-dried and would spark little debate.

I think, equally obvious, the opinions posters have about how the Gosselins parent are not as black or white or, here too, there would be little reason to discuss the issue. So using these pretty blatant examples of bad parenting might be a bit off the mark if you're addressing the "What does it mean to be a good mom" discussion. They're just too far on the other end of the spectrum from a sink full of dirty dishes.

If your point was to discuss about God giving children to the person they were meant for, good or bad, being a misguided notion, I'm on the fence about that one.

Having been on the front line when things have gotten bad enough for a family that a court has to step in and make decisions, let me say, it is always the first effort of the judicial system to help a family get better rather than to tear them apart. Barring putting a child in physical danger (as best a court can do this), a parent is encouraged to the point of no return to improve their behavior or circumstances in order to continue to parent their children.

Yes, courts want to reserve a parent (and child's) legal right to be a family, but because they also believe, if it works out, it's a magical thing.

On the other hand, parents lose their kids all the time, under circumstances which warrant the termination of rights. And I don't think that's always a bad thing....certainly never happy, but not bad.

I do think the lessons we learn when we become parents are many, and often a child's birth is a good catalyst for change. Some people have more to learn than others depending on when parenthood occurs, so maybe they seem further behind on the power curve. But I do believe the possibilty is there for improvement.

Do I think it would be preferable to require people to be educated on parenting and qualify for a parenting license before becoming a parent? Suuuure.

Then again, we've all seen how much a license makes drivers behave themselves on the road and higher education ensures moral behavior in those degreed individuals, right??


nomoredrama said...

I agree that children need structure, support and love...but I'd also add "variety,fun and discipline"

I see countless families and most have out of control children because they are missing 1, 2 or all of these ingredients.

Using the TV as a babysitter, letting kids run wild without boundaries, the "not my kid" mentality are all damaging to kids. By the same token, lack of love or positive regard is equally as damaging and devastating.

One more thing to add: while these things seem simple enough, it is an every day battle to have all (or even some of these things).

themrs said...

NoMo, you are so right. it's a hard balance between fun/seriousness, discipline/letting kids be kids, and all the other aspects of parenting. it's definitely the hardest job i've ever done!(and my career was a casemanager for juvenile felony offenders!) i love that you brought up the "not my kid" syndrome, that is a huge pet peeve of mine! i hope that i'm quite aware of my children's weaknesses:) i would think if anyone would know how much trouble they can be it's me! i'm sure the teachers on this board could write a book about that one!

scarfoot said...

My point was that Fiona said that putting a child's best interest first makes them a good mother. Kate and Jon believe they are considering their children's best interest by doing the show. So, I was trying to hedge around directly asking if that makes her a good mother because that's her belief, or not? But now I guess I might as well ask. So, since she thinks that is in their best interest, does that make her good?

marci said...


Well, I know this is the general topic...what does it mean to be a good mom...but I swear I've heard your question before.

Something like the ultimate human question...
why are we here? And equally as impossible to answer.

Isn't this why ANY of us have gotten involved in this discussion of the Gosselin show...because we all fall in varying places in the spectrum of how the Gosselins parent?

I think the problem is there is no "one truth," one final answer that will satisfy us all.

Right or wrong?

Good or bad?

These are the extremes.

Real life, and the Gosselins' lives included, falls somewhere in between.

Good of you to ask one of the old standards, though.

indianprincess said...

I think being a mother and or a parent is a balancing act within the diamensions of your own families. I knew a friend who got pregnant when she was 14 years old. Her son just graduted High School last year with honor's. She also finished school and went to University and was able to raise her son with good morals and values. Could we judge her because she was a teenage mother or praise her for raising a will adjusted son under the circumstances?

merryway said...

I tried to think about this today, but the topic was too intense for a Sunday.

Themrs, it's so nice to here a success story. I hope you don't get tired of hearing another “way to go”.

I am all for society to let go of “idealization” of exactly how a mother should be. I have always been a fan of Erma Bombeck for bringing in some reality to the situation in a humorous way. My quip was always try to keep alive until they're eighteen and don't kill them yourself.

I try to be a good mom, it's tough. My grown boys still come to see me and when it's come up, they say I did a good job. I'm glad because I'd like to go back and change the way I did some things.

Soccormomof3, I liked your post. Your house sounds as real as mine. Lol

Rufus said...

I've questioned myself in regards to my mothering skills. I think most women do. I have a 7 year old and a 3 year old (my baby just turned 3! HELP!), both boys.

Okay, now don't laugh at me, but sometimes when I feel like I can't answer one more question, clean one more dish or make one more darn cup of chocolate milk without screaming, I pretend I'm on TV, like Kate. I'm like, "Alright, the cameras are on me. This is going to be shown on national TV. How do you want to come across?" And you know what? It's totally crazy and ridiculous, but it forces me to take a breath, put on a smile and say, "Why yes. I can get you some more milk even though I just got your brother some and put the milk and the chocolate away and came and sat down on the couch." Okay, so I leave the last parts out, but you get the idea.

Honestly though, at the end of the day, I know I must be a good mom. My kids are happy and well taken care of. They are good people who care about and respect others. They are bright, fun and well liked. I can't take all the credit because in our house, parenting is a 50-50 job with my husband, but I feel like I'm doing my part. And if I yell today because someone just refuses to put their coat on, it's okay. It won't be my best moment, but we'll all survive it.

marci said...


I agree with you.

There are a million examples of parents who may have done things the "wrong" way, and their children turn out fine, if not excess in life; as well as a million examples of the picture perfect parents, did everything "right" and their kids end up having a bumpy ride.

I think the point is, there is no magic formula, no parenting manual, that will guarantee everything will turn out perfectly in life.

Apparently the only thing you can do for your kid that can't be questioned or judged is love them.

merryway said...

My quip was always try to keep alive until they're eighteen and don't kill them yourself.
So sorry, my quip was to always to try to keep them alive until they're 18 and don't kill them yourself. :)

Anyone else's kids challenge death repeatedly? I remember once we had just gotten back from camping and we're just starting to unload when the 4 year old was on the monkey bars in the backyard. We saw him every time we carried stuff in and out. Out of the blue he decided to try to walk on top as he had seen his older brother do. He was scraped from his toes to his chin when he hit the ground. They did get more cautious as they got older, but still when I think about all the energy I used to stay a step ahead...I thought I had it down pat with the boys, then I got this little girl. Scared out of my mind as I've been down this road before.

As for needing a shower. I was already “there” last night when the water went off. The landlord so conveniently forgot to tell me. To mention here, I buy around 40 gal of water a month to use for cooking and drinking. (I recycle every one) Betcha ya'll didn't know you were talking to someone who had that kind of money? It came in handy today. But no shower, no meatloaf, no laundry done, no dishes done. I couldn't go out because I look really bad. I mean bad..I'm not that fussy. We made it a very lazy day. So all that stuff will wait, no big deal..but I wouldn't want someone I didn't know to see me and all the undone stuff right now, that's for sure. I here them banging now...maybe I can wash the scum off soon.

scarfoot said...

Marci, I didn't realize we weren't supposed to use "old standard" questions in this dicussion that is, by nature, vague. I didn't even know it was an old standard. I just found it curious that Fiona generally seems to have a low opinion of Kate, so I wanted to know her thoughts (and the thoughts of others) in regards to her statement about a good mother being one that keeps the child's best interest at heart. Sorry I brought up something that evidently has been talked through too much.

And thanks for the pat on the head and the wink! ;)

themrs said...

merryway- i have a child who likes to get into life threatening situations. i swear that will be the one who puts me over the edge. he figured out how to get out the house at two! he preferred to do so while everyone else was sleeping. no lock or gate could contain him. he also liked to jump out of his second story window to go play with his friends. he started that at three. i always say if i can keep him alive till adulthood i'll consider it a success

marci said...

Sorry, Scarfoot,

I'm feeling a little too sassy today, I guess.

No harm meant.

indianprincess said...

themrs: I have an almost 4 year old who right now I'm thinking of putting her in a bubble. Nothing has stopped this kid from figuring out all safety latches, gates, electrical sockets and I'm hoping she will survive until adulthood. I'm not ready to raise a

Theresa said...

Samantha NC January 11, 2009 7:11 AM

Great post! I feel the exact same way.

Marci and Scarfoot--you're right...what works for one mom doesn't exactly work for another.

Congrats themrs. for turning your life around.

I guess we can all come to the conclusion that nobody should be judged on their parenting skills, especially the lady who's on an edited tv show. You may not agree with what Kate does, but she does it out of the love for her children and wanting the best for them.

If someone took a snapshot of what we moms did today,it may look horrible to say, Nancy in Michigan. Yet, there were circumstances that only you and your family experienced that made the day super despite any blowups, yet Nancy thinks you're a horrible mom because you lost your cool, or so she firmly believes because she saw the snapshot.

scarfoot said...

No problem, Marci! I just didn't want you to think I'm some sort of troll coming over to stir up trouble.

marci said...


Troll? No way!

Sometimes I just get on a roll and, when I do, the brakes don't work as well.

Again, hope you don't feel run over! :(

Mom said...

When I was pregnant with my little one, my mom told me that when the baby is born and I lay eyes on him/her, I will feel more love for this little person than I ever knew my heart could give. She was right.

All those un-showered days and sleepless nights - so worth it. The sleep deprivation alone can make any new mom nuts - literally nuts. I remember asking my best friend (in tears) "how much longer until I can sleep for an hour or two?" LOL.

I do the best I can. I want him to be happy, but not spoiled. To be sensitive, but strong. To laugh at the littlest things and cry whenever he needs to. I make mistakes. I learn from them. The best thing about making a mistake is you can always have a "do-over." And, tomorrow is another day.

Yes, this is my little dude who will be two later this month!

Anya said...

scarfoot said..."My point was that Fiona said that putting a child's best interest first makes them a good mother. Kate and Jon believe they are considering their children's best interest by doing the show. So, I was trying to hedge around directly asking if that makes her a good mother because that's her belief, or not? But now I guess I might as well ask. So, since she thinks that is in their best interest, does that make her good?"

If blogging in the Gosselin world has taught me any valuable lessons, it's to be generally more tolerant and less judgy about how others choose to raise *their* kids. As long as the child receives plenty of love, some structure is provided and their physical and health needs are met, I am going to step away and not form harsh opinions about less important ancillary issues.

Scarfoot, I would say, yes, that does make Kate a good mother.

Mary said...

I haven't figured it out really either Nina Bell. All I can say for sure is that on some days I might have been an absolutely terrific mom and other days I think I was/am a good mom. Then there are the days I was tired and in a bad mood and or pushed to the limit and I look back at those days the most!
I have even asked my kids if they remember certain things and to my surprise they don't. Sometimes what I focus on and think was a big deal, was not a big deal to them. Lesson for me.

Right now, looking at my 26 year old sons and how they continue to want to talk to me and to visit us, I can honestly say that loving my kids more than my own breath helped me to be a better mom than I ever thought I could be. It's not just the laundry, the cooking, the driving, the watching of the sports games or helping with the homework. It's more the long talks and chats, the allowing one to stay up who likes being a night owl and having alone time to let him talk about anything at all. It's about playing board games over and over and telling them how terrific they are and preparing them for the future by always talking to them. It's about handling the negative moments like the first time you knew they had a drink(s). Supporting them through a bad time when they felt upset about a grade, a game, an unkind word said by another. Loving my kids unconditionally and always hugging and kissing them and laughing with them is what I hope they will always remember.

Being a mom is exhausting. Being a good mom is the toughest work on the planet because it has so many implications for the entire family and for the entire lifetime of our kids. Every family has it's own dynamics and so I don't think it is fair or possible to measure the job I do by other mothers and what they do. If I did that I would go nuts thinking I really failed in the mom department. On some days you can't win in this job. Maybe that's why I don't loathe Kate. I know I have the potential to be a good mom, but was I always? Absolutely not. With time, I have become a much better mom. I think most women do. But just as you catch up with your child and things seem to be going OK then they go and get another year older on you and an entire new set of issues and parenting challenges comes up. I agree with Lizabeth. Love, love, love is the big ingredient. The pressure to do the right thing all the time is huge. Parenting is frightening while you are in the middle of it and you just have to keep doing it better everyday in some small way. I learned from many, many mistakes and I try to cut other moms lots of slack and not judge harshly.

So I can't answer the real question about what it means to be a good mom because I am still trying to be that. I hope I will always be trying.

Oh! Huge one for me as a mom: saying I'm sorry, I was wrong. I have done that. Even when they were little. I apologized to my kids. I was and am an imperfect mom but I love them more than I thought was possible. Maybe that has to be enough and the rest is just cream?

Mary said...

A special message to themrs-from another woman and a mom, I am so proud of you. So incredibly proud.

Guinevere said...

Great piece. I think what I notice with Kate Gosselin (and in general in our society) is the incredible judgment that women come in for in mothering - usually from other women. It starts when they are pregnant, for heaven's sake, and then continues as soon as the baby is born - are you breastfeeding? are you staying home with the child? do you let the child sleep in the bed with you? do you let the child cry it out or do you comfort them? There is almost nothing you can do that *someone* won't criticize.

I agree with indianprincess that there is more than one way to parent, and more than one way to mother. Every mother, practically is a good mother sometimes and a bad mother at other times. I think the key is to be a good mother most of the time, but no one is perfect and you are going to make mistakes.

I abhor the whole concept of a "super-mom" because it seems so competitive. There is no ranking for mothers like there is for tennis players or golfers. It's not a competitive sport. We as women internalize so many of the criticisms we receive and if anything I think one of the ways to strive to be a better mother is to stop that. Stop letting yourself be beaten down by people who just want to judge you to make themselves feel better (easier said than done, I know).

FIONA said...


I don't think that Kate or Jon put their children's best interests first...if they did, they wouldn't have a reality TV show. That is it for me, plain and simple.

I think Jon and Kate put their own interests first.

BEE said...


Your comment is SO right on and exactly what I was trying to say!

The competitive judgment that women place on other women is incredible! I don't understand it exactly and I have played that game myself! Why do we treat one another like that? I just hate it!

MrsRef said...

Giving birth does not make someone a good mother. I know this from personal experience. My kids are grown and overall I think I have been a flawed but good mother. I have raised three children to be productive, God fearing, law-abiding, respectful members of society. I think in the end, that is what matters, not whether you feed your children organic, buy the best clothing, take extravangant vacations, etc. My children were and are loved and they always knew that. One of the problems here is that Kate is marketed as a "super-mom" and frankly I don't see it. I don't think such a thing/person exists.

VOR said...

Well I'm late to the party :)

I would never want anyone to video me and showcase my mothering "skills". I can hear it now - her house is a mess, she spends too much time on the computer, she's not always nice to my kids/husband..... BUT - I think I am a good mom, on the things that I think are most important like listening/talking to kids or helping develop independent adults.

The judgment around Kate is incredible! I try really hard not to judge moms. I learned my lesson with my third kid - good parenting does not necessarily mean well-behaved kids. Truly, it doesn't! FYI-after 15 years of parenting it is getting better!

I think the over-the-top hatred of Kate is based on sexism, gender role bias and jealousy. Why don't the other reality moms come under the microscope like Kate or get slammed for exploitation?

Saint said...

I agree that Kate isn't a supermom. She seems to be marketed that way by these magazines that the family shows up on, I guess to attract readers. She's an unusual mom, in that she had six babies at once- rare. But supermom? Not really. I think she makes mistakes, like the average mom. But I do have to say this for her: she has denied being a supermom or someone to be admired on TV several times that I have seen. So in fairness to her, it's others saying that about her.