Friday, July 15, 2016


Where: A pub outside London
When:  This week
Who:    Five women, who had 0-3 children
Why:    Because women share

The plates had been cleared away and we waited for the dessert we all said we weren't having but temptation was too great.

After many subjects the topic turned to being a good mother, what makes a good mother.

None of us were bad mothers in the sense that we physically or mentally abused our children, but there was a feeling that we hadn't done all we could to be "good" mothers.

But what is a good mother?

Can anyone be a truly good mother? 

Motherhood is a lifetime job with different skills required. Some women are better with babies, some do well with teens. There are helicopter mothers who hover and free range mothers who let their children roam. Some mothers are good at letting go of their older children while others hold too tight hurting the offspring's entry into adulthood.

Motherhood includes guilt. I still feel badly my daughter had to discontinue gymnastics because I couldn't take time off from work to get her to the sessions. Or the day when I called her a baby, offending her strong sense of dignity. And that I didn't understand how she felt about the division between her father and me at Christmas. I won't include the rest of the long, long list.

Sometimes the quality of mothering depends on the personality of the child. I have musician friends who felt they failed when their child became an accountant. I have friends that would be equally shocked if their child (horror of horrors) wanted to be a musician.

It would have been interesting if our children were at a separate table discussing us. Years ago, a group of us in our 40s were discussing on-going problems with our moms (I won the most unmotherly mother when I said at the end of a wonderful Thanksgiving she'd prepared, she handed my brother, my daughter and me a bill.)

For the first time we came to the realization we could be the subject of mother problems if our children were talking about us. None of us wanted to know what they said but at the same time we did want to know.

One thing was clear. We had all wanted to be good mothers. None of knew exactly what that was. All of us tried but lived with the limitations of every day life.

1 comment:

Marina Sofia said...

That really spoke to me because - surprise, surprise! - I feel guilty all the time about being a nagging, boring, insensitive, too sensitive, too close, too distant etc. etc. mother.