May 12, 2018

Stephanie Rice

Rice Report: What Is a Good Mother, Anyway?

Mother’s Day

I would like to take a moment to wish all the mothers of the world a Happy Mother’s Day!

I would also like to be honest about some things.  I’m not what most would consider a modern mom.  My parenting style is the way it is because I was raised by very strict southern women. Clearly, times have changed drastically, but I have not deviated my parenting to match.

In the Rice family, we believe in boundaries, chores, rules, and punishments. We are also firm believers in the mythical word, manners. My daughter – since she was two – has known the proper answer to the question, “what do you say?”

This year, I will be celebrating my fifth year as a mother and I have mixed feelings about it. This isn’t a happy time of year for everyone, and it’s okay to talk about that.  This year is going to be a bit different for me because I’m not sure if my grandmother will still be here by the time you read this.  I know the impact she has had on my life, every single day, including the way I parent.

Society has placed so much pressure on moms to meet an impossible goal of perfection. When we fail to reach that goal, we beat ourselves up for not being good enough.

Sounds silly, right? And, it is!

I have a news flash for you mommas out there and that’s that none of us are perfect!  While we may parent differently, I am certain all kids have had a meltdown in public or told us ‘no’ when asked to do something.

It’s quite OK to agree to disagree on how we raise our children. Just because one parent is vegan and feeds her children all organic foods and another parent prefers to feed their kids fast food, that does not make one parent better than the other. It makes them different. And one thing we must remember is that we have no idea of the personal struggles of other parents. Could the parent feeding the child fast food opt for a more nutritious meal?  Probably, but what if she is a single mom working multiple jobs?

We need to stop being so hard on each other! Some parents make it a point to showcase what they perceive as ‘wrong’ to other parents, rather than praising the good. What if we decided to say something positive (or, like how I was raised, then don’t say anything at all).  We’re all doing the best we can!

You never know the internal struggles of others. I am certain that their life on social media isn’t all rainbows as they may claim.  Children don’t come with an instruction manual, but if they did, I’m confident it would be very similar to what comes with a 10,000-piece LEGO set!

Call me optimistic, but I like to find the good in people. Several years ago, I decided to cut out anything that brought drama into my life, and that freedom has been incredible. I highly recommend it!  It will reduce the need to be judgmental because you’re not encouraging negativity by accepting it.

Most importantly, stop worrying about what others think and be the best mother YOU know how to be. If you have questions, reach out to another mom. We should be here to help one another through this crazy thing called motherhood. Children may not remember what you got them for their seventh birthday, but I guarantee you they will remember when you danced outside in the rain with them.

Do I have an answer for what makes a good mother?  I sure do…it’s love.

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