Maybe I Don’t Need a Book to be a Better Mom

I do spend a lot of time fretting and worrying about the things that I perceive as “wrong” with my parenting.  Not a day goes by where I don’t take stock of what I’ve done and think about whether I’m doing what it takes to be a better mom.  Some days (like when we go to the library and things fall apart or we go to Strong Start and I nearly have a nervous breakdown), I think that I’m completely and utterly failing.  Other days, I think I’m doing okay… but could still be a better mom if I just tried harder, played with him more, or did some mythical thing that would make me “better.”

(For the record, I don’t give a crap about being better than another mom.  I want to be better than myself.)

I was browsing through stuff on homeschooling (since I don’t plan on having Norton sit in a public classroom all day… that was just a nightmare with my teen because he wasn’t challenged… but that’s the subject of another blog post).  While doing so, I came across a book of toddler activity educational curriculum.  I was intrigued.

After all, sometimes I struggle with knowing what to do to play with Norton (or at least, I think I do) because of his Own Agenda Communication Style.  I started looking around and trying to find that book on Amazon.  If it was any good, maybe it would give me some new ideas for toddler play.  I often feel like I don’t play with him enough even though he certainly doesn’t seem to be showing signs of being ignored.  I’m not sure what my ideas of being a better mom through toddler play are, but it just seems like whatever that happy place of perfect parenting is, it’s more often than I do it.

I sent the link to the husband, and he was unconvinced.

When he came home from work, the house was fairly trashed.  I cleaned Norton’s nursery.  I cleaned the bathroom.  I ran the dishwasher and I did some picking up and vacuuming.  But I spent a fair whack of time just playing with Norton, too.  Beyond the fifteen minute challenge.  We played on on his new pony.  We played peekaboo.  We played ball.  We blew bubbles, and we played with Legos and Little People.

I explained away the messy house (and by messy, I mean “a little cluttered because stuff hasn’t been put away,” not “I should be a guest on Hoarders“) with the fact that I’d spent so much time playing with Norton that I just didn’t bother with much housework.

He looked at me, unconcerned about the lack of cleaning up, and said, “Dear, you don’t need a book on stuff to do with Norton.  You’re already doing stuff with him.  And you don’t need help with being a better mom.”

I nearly teared up a bit when he said this… but maybe he’s right.  Norton had a blast with making the Rice Krispy Pumpkins last weekend.  Maybe if I want to do a really awesome fun toddler activity, I should focus on things that are that hands on and stop seeking some elusive and ill-defined goal on how to be a better mom.  Norton seems to be happy and to know that he’s loved.  Isn’t that the most important thing?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Excellent post. {Though not “the” book I expected to read about! LOL!}

    You are so right. What makes a good mom is her ability to know her kids – to know how they learn best, and then to do it. There will be trial and error. There will be good days and bad. But, putting forth the effort makes it all worthwhile.

    Great post!

  2. Parenting books can be useful. However, you have to take what works for you and your family. Trying to follow the book word for word is impossible at best and crazy at worst! The same applies for any kind of book including books on education. You take what works and discard what doesn’t.

    • Also, your hubby is totally right. Even though I am a librarian and find a lot of good information in books, you can’t let a book tell you whether you are a good mom or not. You’ll know either way! And Norton definitely has a good mom!

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