1| Parent with purpose. Before your baby is born, sit down with your partner and discuss words that you’d like to be able to use to describe your child when he’s an adult. Courageous. Creative. Kind. Then, encourage these qualities from the get-go. If you want your kid to be fearless, you can’t always swoop in to save him when he’s in a pickle. If you want your kid to be kind, show him what that looks like. You are your child’s first, most influential and most treasured teacher. Lead by example to teach him what’s important to you.
2| Adapt. Even if you have it all planned to a T, flexibility is the most lucrative trait of parenting. The only constant in parenthood is that it’s constantly changing. Once you’ve figured out one thing (burping!), something else is waiting just around the corner to make you question your ability—and sanity (teething!). Roll with the punches and know that no matter what that babe is throwing at you, you’ll conquer this, too.
3| Stray from the pack. There’s a new study released on the particulars of parenting every day—trust us, we see them all—but it’s wise to make your own decisions. Try to avoid parenting “on trend.” If an influencer you admire sings the dangers of immunizations, read up on why she believes what she believes—and then read the other side’s argument, too—before making a decision about your child’s health. In our world of information overload, it can be hard to decipher what’s right and what’s wrong. Spoiler alert: There’s rarely a clear line. Just worry about what’s right for you, even if that opinion differs from the majority.
4| Give yourself a break. So, you want to be a good mom? Simply acknowledging that puts you on the right path. Now, acknowledge this: A good mom might not be patient all the time. She might yell. She might not say a word to anyone before she’s downed at least two cups of coffee. She might hire a babysitter once a week just so she can take a nap. There are a million different ways to be a good mom. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be you. Imperfections, anxieties and all, you’re undoubtedly the best mom for your brood
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5| Love. Honestly, it’s just that simple. Loved kids are happy kids. (Until they become teenagers, and then all bets are off—but, luckily, they usually outgrow that tedious phase just like all the others.) The one thing all “good” moms have in common is that they love their kids with their whole heart every single second of every single day. Whether they’re at work, at home, out with the girls or locked in the bathroom crying on the toilet, love is what unites us—and what makes us great.