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This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day so I’ve been asking myself, “What are the traits of a good mother?” I’m sure we all have ideas of what the top qualities are for mothers. I know what mine are but was curious what others think, so I polled a few friends to see what they would say. They were eager to share and responded quickly. Several had similar answers but some were unique, just as all of our mothers. It is difficult to narrow down the qualities of a good mother. It would be easier to list 100 traits but here, I have compiled a list of 10 qualities of a good mother (in no particular order).
1. GOOD MOTHERS ARE LOVING
This seems to be a universal choice when asked about good mother qualities. Some say a good mother demonstrates unconditional love, others say sacrificial love. All agree it is LOVE that sets good mothers above others.
Unconditional love trumps disappointment. It stands above hurt and heartache. It reaches beyond any circumstance or emotion that may try to sabotage it. Sacrificial love is putting your children and their needs ahead of your own. A sacrificial mother is one who rises early and stays up late in order to accomplish all she deems necessary in loving others. A good mother will sacrifice sleep, a hot meal, the last cinnamon roll, or new clothes to be able to give to her child. In extreme cases, a good mother will sacrifice her very life for her children. Learn about your child’s Love Language in this great resource.
2. GOOD MOTHERS ARE NON-JUDGMENTAL
This is a quality that could be lumped together with unconditional love but I felt it was important to list it separately. It could go without saying that we all want our mothers to accept us as we are and not judge us as their children. However, I think this quality can be applied to others as well. When we bring home a friend who is a different color or is gay or doesn’t look just like us or dress just like us, we want our mothers to accept them and not judge them or judge us for being friends with them. A good mother is accepting of all people including herself. Check out this adorable children’s book about self-acceptance that I read to my daughters.
3. GOOD MOTHERS ARE NURTURING, INVOLVED & AWARE
Most of us would agree it is a mother’s job to care for her children. From the very beginning, a child is dependent on its mother for sustenance. As the child grows it is nurtured along by parents. Let me just say, I believe fathers should be completely involved in their children’s lives as well but that is another article. A good mother is always aware of where her child is and what they are doing. She is involved in their lives and knows who their friends are. If she’s fortunate, her children bring their friends to her house because it is a loving, judgment-free environment. A mother who is nurturing will look for ways to champion her children. She helps them develop into people of good character teaching them to care about others along the way.
4. GOOD MOTHERS ARE GOOD LISTENERS
In order to be a good listener, a mother has to be available so that her child will be able to talk to her. As she demonstrates unconditional love and availability she can discover her child’s heart and learn what inspires them or what scares them. Sometimes being a good listener means being able to listen past the anger or frustration your child may be experiencing. Or maybe it is hard for them to articulate their feelings so listening requires opening your heart to their heart so you can truly understand.
5. GOOD MOTHERS ARE STRONG
Physical strength is important for mothers especially when our children are young and may require chasing or corraling. It’s important to stay physically fit and mobile to ensure a long and healthy life. However, physical strength and even good health are not guaranteed. I believe mental and emotional strength and stability are even more important than physical strength.
I’m talking about things we have control over like our outlook on life, whether we are positive or negative, whether or not we take responsibility for our actions. A good mother can point out positive things in a negative situation. Good mothers use their strength to be stable and dependable rather than wishy-washy or flaky. She knows the struggle is real but can see how it is also temporary and she can overcome the challenges to experience joy and freedom.
6. GOOD MOTHERS MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY
I grew up in a time when mothers didn’t focus on self-care. It is a fairly new concept in our modern society. My grandmothers stayed at home and took care of their husbands and children. My mother worked full-time and took care of her husband and children. In those days, focusing on self-care would have been viewed as selfishness. Of course, you would hear of mothers who “went off the rails” every once in a while too. Perhaps if self-care had been a priority they would’ve been able to handle things better.
What do I mean by making self-care a priority? I’m talking about a mom who understands that if she is physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, she will be better able to handle life and all its complexities. A good mother will take time for physical fitness to keep her body and mind strong and fit. She will make personal development a part of her life so as she is always stimulating her mind in learning and developing her personal character, she is able to pass on knowledge and self-awareness to her children.
A good mother understands how important peace and tranquility are to her emotional stability so she will schedule regular activities like yoga, meditation or journaling. She may opt for non-activities like less screen time or reading a good book, to encourage that. She also knows that good interaction with family and friends is vital so she nurtures and develops those relationships.
7. GOOD MOTHERS ARE FORGIVING
To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw or mistake. It is also defined as canceling a debt or pardoning someone. Alexander Pope is credited with saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” It has been said that harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.
Good mothers don’t hold grudges or harbor unforgiveness because they understand how important it is to forgive others and keep short accounts in her relationships. In this life, there is no escaping heartache and disappointment. Everyone experiences hurt in some way, whether physical, mental or emotional. But what we do with that hurt will determine our future happiness. A good mother will forgive an offense or a flaw knowing she will keep herself free from bitterness and discontent by doing so. If this is an area you struggle with, this book might help.
8. GOOD MOTHERS HAVE A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
As children, we are ultra-focused on the here and now. Everything revolves around us and our little world. This is especially true in a teenagers life! A good mother is able to see the big picture and keeps it in mind when making decisions for her children. She has a plan for the future of her family and a plan for each of her children. Even though she is faced with daily battles she must overcome, a good mother will keep her children on a path moving forward with goals and dreams for the future in mind. She helps her children discover and work toward their dreams. She doesn’t dwell on the past or its failures but focuses forward to new achievements and victories.
9. GOOD MOTHERS HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
Does having a good sense of humor mean you can tell a good joke or do a great stand-up comedy routine? It might, but for the purpose of this article, a good sense of humor means a mother can laugh at herself as well as the circumstances of life. She is able to see situations from all angles and finds humor in the odd things that happen. A good mother doesn’t take herself too seriously nor does she get upset if others do. She is fun to be around because she finds humor in everyday life and is able to laugh wholeheartedly.
10. GOOD MOTHERS ARE GOOD ROLE MODELS
A good mother understands that her children (and others) are always watching her and learning how to “do life” from her. Her children are taking in every action, every reaction, every word, every expression, and every habit as she navigates life.
Each of the previous 9 qualities in this list is modeled in a positive way by a mother who understands the power of mentoring. Every time she chooses acceptance over judgment, forgiveness instead of bitterness, listening rather than lecturing, she is role modeling what it means to be a good mother and a good human being.
As I said, it is difficult to name only 10 qualities in this list. Some of the honorable mentions from my survey are truthful, patient, humble, compassionate, protective, enduring, faith-filled and passionate. Perhaps you have other traits that mean more to you. I’d love to hear your list so let me know in the comments.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to my Mom, Anita, my Mother-in-Law, Kathy and my Step-Mom, Fay. I love you and thank you for being good mothers and grandmothers.