My friends and I have been pondering this for this last few years: am I a good mom?  It came up yesterday or today, but really, we’ve each been thinking about it since we became mothers.  Are we really doing a good job?  By what measure are we doing a good job?  How do we know if we are doing a good job?  Here’s the kicker, what if we’re doing our best, but it’s still not good enough?

I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day beyond wearing green.  I don’t dye the water in our toilet green and tell my kids a leprechaun peed in it. My Elf on the Shelf just sits wherever I remember at 11 PM to put him (or 5 AM).  He doesn’t party with Barbie and Ken.  I rarely, like for birthdays only, cut lunch sandwiches with a cookie cutter.  I have never made pancakes into shapes.  I don’t have daily craft time.  I don’t do flash cards (which is my husband’s measurement of awesome mom).  I won’t home school.  (Shudder)

I don’t beat them.  I don’t deprive them of food (they even have snacks half an hour before dinner!).  I don’t deny them sleep.  I don’t lock them in confined, dark spaces for hours on end.  I have never allowed anyone else to do any of those things.  

I lose my patience and temper.  I give lots of hugs.  I yell.  I kiss tummies.  I turn the tv on when I need quiet time.  I play Candy Land, Memory and Princess Cupcake Tea Party whenever asked (within reason).  I drive miles so James can go to school with his best friend and Ellie can do gymnastics.  

Am I a good mom?  Like everyone else, I am doing the best I can.  I wish I never lost my patience and that we all made Christmas ornaments for our family and friends together.  That is just not realistic.  That’s not me and that’s not them.  If I were a better mom, maybe they would be better kids.  But, they are mostly fun and I think I am mostly fun.  Sometimes they are naughty and sometimes I am angry.  

How do we know if it’s enough?  My measure is if my children are happy, positively contributing members of society.  Of course, I won’t know if I’ve succeeded for years.  That’s probably for the best.  I am not ready to know yet.  If James ends up a drug addict, unable to deal with reality; Ellie is a car thief looking for thrills and not caring about the innocent victims of her crimes; and Katie is a stripper trying to get attention from all the wrong places then I’ll know I’ve failed.  Maybe I’ll shoot for two out of three.