6 Ways to be a better mom

Dec 10, 2009 at 4:14 p.m. ET

No one said motherhood is easy. And while the rewards are enormous (what could be better than hearing those three little words come from your child's mouth?), it's largely a thankless job. But that doesn't mean you don't want to do your very best. Moms everywhere want to be the perfect mother. Relax. No one's perfect. But here are six little ways to get you that much closer to that so-called Supermom status.

Mom tlaking to daughter

Listen to your kids

We mean really listen. Yes, we know that you've heard your child tell you the same story about her best friend's pet frog 46 times, and it got a little redundant on round 3 -- but to her, this is the coolest thing since Dora the Explorer. When she tells a story, engage her and ask her questions.

My Body
  1. Remember to listen. When kids tell stories, they may seem to ramble – but what they are sharing is important to them. Show them it's important to you as well.
  2. Stop trying to achieve perfection. We all want our kids to shine, but unfair expectations will just lead to lowered self-esteem.
  3. Be firm. If your kid wants to do something you do not think is a good idea, say no and stick to it. Wavering just makes them unsure of their boundaries.

Forget the Joneses

We understand the quest for perfection. But don't try to force your child into a mold of unattainable standards just so you can brag about how he mastered the Mandarin language at the age of 3 at your next moms' group. Just be happy that he's happy.

Replenish yourself

Being good to yourself allows you to be better to your kids. So forget mom guilt and go out for dinner with the girls already, or simply allow your hubby to take a shift with the kids while you relax in the bath with a good book. Taking some time for yourself will allow you to restore the energy you need for effective, nurturing motherhood.

Lay down the law

Kids thrive on structure and actually need discipline. So while you may be tempted to simply bribe her with a new doll if she sits nicely in the cart as you shop for groceries, try to instill the importance of being good for goodness' sake. And make sure she understands the consequences if she doesn't follow the rules.

Get involved

While it's important for your children to respect you as their parent, it's also important to have fun with them, too. Want to be a better mom? Be a better kid. Instead of simply sitting on the bench reading the latest Candace Bushnell book while they play at the park, kick off your shoes and help them build a castle in the sand.

Spread the love

No matter what, tell your children that you love them. Every day. Every hour, if you want. Kiss them. Hug them. Compliment and praise them. Confidence and a sense of self are perhaps the greatest gifts moms can give their children. Make sure she knows that she can talk to you about anything -- even if she's only five. She may not have many secrets yet, but you're laying the groundwork for the future. So when she really does need an ear, she'll know she can trust you.