If you think you're doing a lousy job, that's probably the best indicator that you're actually doing just fine!
Iím no different to any other mother; I second-guess myself, I doubt myself, and I wonder constantly if Iím doing a good enough job.
Itís a common concern for any mother, whether you have a newborn or whether your children are all grown up (or anywhere in between): ďAm I doing my best?Ē.
The following signs will be particularly relevant if you have other factors to deal with such as a family breakup, postnatal depression, financial stressÖ
1. Your children know who you are.
Your child may cry incessantly, your child may tell you they hate you, your child may throw tantrumsÖ but do they respond to you?
In between the tears, do they relax when you hug them? Do they smile when you talk to them? Do they look your way when they hear your voice?
If your child responds to you, if they recognise you as their mother Ė youíre doing a good job.
2. Theyíre happy to see you.
You may have had the worst night ever with your child, and they may have cried non-stop, but do they seem happy to see you when they wake up in the morning?
Your child may have thrown the biggest tantrum in the shop because they didnít get what they want, but if they get separated from you Ė are they happy when you find them?
Your child may have acted embarrassed because you kissed them on the forehead when you dropped them off at school, but do they hug you at night before they go to bed?
If your child seems happy to see you, youíre doing a good job.
3. Do you make time for your child?
Do you make room in your schedule to spend quality time with your child regularly? Do you put tasks aside in order to make time for your children? Are there dishes on the sink because you chose to read a bedtime story to your child instead? Is the washing piling up because you chose to take your child to the park? Is your child comfortable with talking to you about what bothers them? Do they bring their artwork to you with pride?
If so, youíre doing a good job.
4. Your child is healthy.
This point refers to neurotypical and physically-typical children. If your child is not typical, your health professional can help you to assess their development and progress.
Is your child reaching their milestones according to their potential? Are they putting on weight and growing? Are they interested in trying new things? Are they confident?
If your child is growing well both physically and mentally, then youíre doing a good job.
5. You feel like youíre doing a lousy job.
If you care enough to worry about whether youíre doing a good enough job, then youíre doing a good job. You care. Youíre going to make mistakes and you wonít get everything right, but youíre doing your best and youíre thinking about the wellbeing of your child.
Parenting is the hardest job anyone can do, and it doesnít come with a manual. Itís made harder because no two children are the same and each child has their own needs and wants and challenges, and there are so many different ways to address those needs and wants and challenges, and they change along the way anyway.
If you think youíre doing a lousy job, thatís probably the best indicator that youíre actually doing just fine!
My son was a very fussy baby. He only settled when he was being held, he didnít nap for very long during the day, he was very uncomfortable after a feed (more so in the evening) and he never slept through the night.