I am extremely lucky to have four friends going through pregnancies around the same time as I did. The five of us have a group chat in which we exchange everything from news to tips, from joy to tears. I love this group of mine; while tips from parents with little to loads of experience has been precious, there is something about going through the same steps around the same time that is unique and irreplaceable.
The best part is that there is no judgement within this group. We are extremely different women, be it our ages—there is a least a decade separating the youngest one of us from the oldest—or where we live—pretty much all continents are represented in one way or another. We have different ways of doing things, but instead of pitting them one against the other, each person explains why they do something, and the other four glean insights they apply to their own parenting philosophy.
Did I mention how much I love this group?
But funny thing… Despite the love and lack of judgement, I found myself a couple of times wondering if I was doing enough as a mother. These four friends of mine are really impressive and I started at times feeling like I was lagging behind and if I should just forget about how I was going about parenting and adopt their tips and techniques.
I was wondering about this one day, when it suddenly a profound realisation hit me: we were all doing a great job because, at the end of the day, our five babies are developing regularly and such happy babies. Each of the five littles ones are vibrant, laughing, joyful little bundles of energy. Their smiles light up my screen throughout the day—and are proof that, despite the different ways we are doing it, we are all attaining the level, at the very least, of “good parent”.
All of us are putting our family first, making sure that all its members—our husbands, our babies, and ourselves—are thriving. Isn’t that what being a wife, mother, and woman is all about? And aren’t we all achieving it?
Our differences only have to do with culture, our character, our personal circumstances, and our personal preferences. What I do would probably not be good for any of these ladies, and vice-versa.
It sounds very simple and, in the comfort of whatever sitting area you are reading this from, easy to agree with. But in the day-to-day struggles that come with being a good spouse, parent, and person, these simple, basic, and fundamental realities are all too easy to forget: that while we all want what’s best for our children, what’s best for us and ours is not what’s best for everyone else, and vice-versa.
And so, supporting one another looks more like an exchange and exploration of ideas and making sure that they are reflecting the framework of our parenting philosophy. There is a lot that can be done with any said philosophy, and instead of engaging in things like “Mommy Wars”, we should be oh-so-grateful that there is such a broad range of things that we can do to achieve the same purpose: the happiness of each member of our family.
5 thoughts on “A True Measure of Good Parenting”
Yes, I think understanding differences is key, and offering advice and support is helpful, as long as we realize that what works for some families won’t work for others.
You’re so lucky to have a group of friends going through this together. Can you imagine how close they are going to be.
I love that realisation. It is one that we have to keep reminding ourselves of every day. We need to remember it when we are talking and when we are listening.
Oh yes. I remind myself that there must be many different types of good parenting because there are many different types of parents, kids and families! There is no one size fits all best answer. Glad you’ve internalized that wisdom!
There is no perfect definition of good parenting. It’s a learning curve for us most days.. but at the end of the day if the kids are happy and healthy we must be doing something right.
I want to meet your friends they sound awesome!