How to Be a Better Mom in Five Steps

Secret: I’ve been waiting to do that title for months.

You all know me. I joke about how there isn’t one parenting book out there that will teach how to master the art of motherhood in thirteen steps spread out over two weeks with just three hours a day spent at the low cost of $19.95. Nope. Not one. Not one easy program for becoming the perfect mother.

So what’s with the title? What’s with this Be a Better Mom stuff from me?

Well, I’m going to write five ways to be a better mom. But, it’s probably not what you’re thinking it will be. Nope. It’s not about steps. It’s not a program. It’s not going to guarantee that you wake up tomorrow and that your hair is fabulous so you don’t need the shower and that your go-to jeans look killer and your black top doesn’t have spit up stains on the shoulder. Nope. It’s not going to put the dinner in the oven early, nor guarantee that all of your laundry is completed and <gasp> actually put away in drawers. Nope.

These five steps are things you already do. They’re the Being a Mom is Enough steps of motherhood.

Here you go.

1. Stop Comparing. Your kids need you.  You. You’re the perfect mom for those kids of yours. I know sometimes you might not feel like you are or you might even be thinking how in the world you got stuck with such a crazy spitfire of a little human that refuses to ever stay in bed. Yeah. I get that. I’ve had those moments wondering why I’m qualified to teach, to raise, to train, and to be the mom to my kids. But, I’m telling you, that you, right now, are the mom that they need. Not your friend next door. Or the mom at soccer that seems to always always always have it perfectly together while you come racing in with your double stroller late. Again. (That doesn’t matter. You made it there.) Not the mom on facebook with the cool fall craft and clean kitchen.

So, no more comparing. No more thinking that if I was just like her that life would be perfect. Nope. You are their mother. And they need and love you. Even if sometimes they slam the door shut to their rooms and yell I hate you. Even then.

2. Love yourself. Take care of yourself.  I know, kind of weird, right? But, it’s true. You need to take care of you in this motherhood journey as well. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of take care of yourself where you count your shower as your free time. Wait. There are seasons in life where that is free time. New moms – I want you to savor every single shower that you get. Savor. Okay, wait, again. All moms – savor the shower moments – or at least the 48 seconds between knocks and cries for mom.

But, seriously, take time for yourself. And love yourself – value yourself. Cultivate your gifts, your talents, and don’t let them fade away just because you’re mom. Let them grow and let them flourish. It is so good for your kids to see you doing things you love and to take care of yourself. That’s what they need to remember – not a mom who wore herself out completely. Rest is good. Laughter is good. Taking care of yourself is excellent.

3. Don’t expect perfection. From yourself. From your life. From your kids. From your friends. Just don’t expect perfection. Life is so far from perfect, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. In fact, I will argue that because life isn’t perfect that is what makes it most beautiful. The moments where you discover your strength and your bravery and your capacity to love another person aren’t in the moments when everything is smooth sailing. They are in the moments when you surprise yourself with this deep strength tucked inside.

They are in the times when you simply decide to give yourself grace and keep on trying. They’re when you pull up your bootstraps. When you decide that even if it isn’t perfect that life is beautiful. They’re in the simple seconds of breath in between the crazy moments of stress. It’s in simply being a mom and trying again and again and again.

4. Let Your Kids Be Kids. They are kids. They are not mini adults, nor mini-you’s. They are unique, fabulous, challenging at moments, wonderful, crazy, energetic, emotional, crying, laughing, jumping on couches, learning, unbelievably cool, independent people. And right now, they are kids. They are learning what it takes to be adults, they are growing, and they need to be taught.

But they also need to be kids. They need to spend times making messes. Playing with paints. Running outside. Creating. Building. Taking apart. Laughing. Learning. Jumping. Exploring. Reading. They need to be kids. And you can gift them with that space – that wonderful space called childhood that can so easily be sucked out of the everyday by the busy demands of our culture. Let them be kids.


5. Celebrate the Little Things. My hashtag that I put on almost every single instagram that I do is about the little things  – find me at finding_joy – and there’s a reason. Life is a collection of these little moments, these snippets of time, that when woven together creates your story, your life, your motherhood journey. It’s easy to constantly look to the next big event as the moment that will make motherhood amazing or your kid’s life fabulous. We all know those moments are fabulous.

But so are the simple moments. Looking at the stars at night and pointing out Orion’s Belt. Letting your three year old dump the powdered cheese into the macaroni noodles and letting them stir. Playing in the sandbox together. Reading books at night. Being a family. Maybe your time is fragmented. Maybe you only have moments at night. Those times matter. Greatly. Your seven year old will remember the extra scoop that you put in the ice cream. Or when you let him stay up fifteen minutes later. It really is the little things.

Five steps.

Here’s the real secret -> You probably already do these things.

Maybe instead of this being a post about being a better mom it’s a post telling you why you’re a fabulous mom.

Onward brave mother. Onward.

Those kids grow. You’re doing fine. One day, one mothering moment, after another.

What things would you add to this list? I’d like to put on there that laundry completed doesn’t matter. And you? 


the, oh so not perfect mom in the trenches with you.

PS – If you want to REALLY know about being a good mom and my thoughts on bravery and how perfectionism kept me stuck for years and how I broke it I’d love for you to read my book.

The Brave Art of Motherhood

Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.


35 Responses to “How to Be a Better Mom in Five Steps”

  1. October 4, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you for this. It is so easy to think that another mother would be better for my child, but that’s not true – or God would have given her to some other mother. Thank you for reminding me of that fact & subsequently giving me courage to just be me, her mother, and trust that God knows best. 🙂 Your blogs are such a blessing! Thank you!!!

    • December 12, 2016

      J_xoxo Reply

      Is nice to see this really because at one point in my life I really thought my kids would be better off without me. That I wasn’t good enough for them that they could have a better mother. 🙁 That’s why it is so important for not only us as mother to take care of our kids but to also take care of ourselfs because our kids needs us and being unhappy depressed is not going to be healthy for no one. I now live each day to better myself for my two beautiful daughters. I can’t picture leaving them the same way my mom did when I was young. I now know how much I suffer from her rejection and absence that I can’t ever imagine putting my daughter’s through that pain. I’m just thankful and always will be for having them in my life. Words can’t describe it but one thing I can say that if your searching up how to be a better mother don’t overwhelm yourself your doing the best you can and that’s what matters that you are looking to see how to improve yourself as a parent. Give yourself a pat in the back because not everyone can take the responsibility of being a mother.🤗🤗❤

    • May 10, 2017

      Amgel Reply

      Thank you that made me cry. I know I am not a perfect mother. I missed out on a lot with my daughter. Always working second shift, always tired, and feeling like others got to raise my daughter more than me. I wasn’t prepared to have her but I want to give her the world and make her strong, independent, kind, smart, and so much more. I’m not as active as I wish I could be. I know one day it will get better. I love you Ezzy bear

  2. October 4, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    This was perfect – exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you for the encouragement and kind reminders to believe in ourselves as mothers!

  3. October 4, 2013

    Amy Purdy Reply

    Great reminders that I needed more than you know today. Thank you for an excellent post!

    • October 6, 2014

      Crystal Reply

      Well said! Every mother should read this regularly. As mom’s you put the needs of everyone else first, but we need remember to take care of us too. To raise a healthy happy family you need to be healthy and happy too! Thanks so much for writing this! I needed it!

  4. October 5, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I miss my kids right now. Am traveling at a work conference. Most attendees at the conference are men. They’re probably wondering what is a woman like me doing 2,000 miles away from her three kids. Fact is I’m lucky to have this job in this economy and this world with three kids who need college and braces and every chance they can get.

  5. October 5, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I miss my kids right now. Am traveling at a work conference. Most attendees at the conference are men. They’re probably wondering what is a woman like me doing 2,000 miles away from her three kids. Fact is I’m lucky to have this job in this economy and this world with three kids who need college and braces and every chance they can get.

  6. October 5, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    I travel a great deal as well. you are blessed to have a job in this economy. i’ve learned to recognize that traveling doesn’t make my motherhood journey any less – it’s what i do for my kids because i love them .

    bless you.


  7. October 5, 2013

    ~ Jill Reply

    Just be there. In the moment. Too often, we are so worried about what we need to be doing or teaching or thinking or how we need to be shuffling our children to the next activity that we forget to just be there in that moment with them. listening to them. watching them. seeing who they are and admiring their unique abilities and personalities. we miss the moments. they do not repeat. they do not come back. be here. now.

  8. October 6, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    I see my kids wanting their kids to hurry up and do all these things…walk, talk, do this or that and I keep thinking STOP IT! Let them grow at their own pace! Enjoy the time that they can’t walk yet (and can’t get into nearly as much!). Enjoy them right now, where they are! You’ll blink and you’ll be saying this about YOUR grandchildren! I blinked!
    Christ suffered and died so that when suffering is over here we might share eternity with Him! Praying!
    Isaiah 53:7-10: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

  9. October 7, 2013

    Claudia Reply

    The five pointers are great but we need to remember that we are not raising boys or girls we are raising men and women who will one day be fathers and mothers. They will need to be tough enough to survive the tough times and tender enough to care for those who need help. Raise them up in the Lord who can teach them to discern the bad from the good.

  10. October 7, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Christ suffered in our place that we might have the hope of Heaven! Always praying!
    Isaiah 53:11-12 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
    My email address

  11. November 2, 2013

    Darcel {MahoganyWayMama} Reply

    I was just talking to a friend today about #4. Sometimes I forget that my kids are being kids! I’ve made a point to remind myself to calm down and let them be who they are. I get so overwhelmed and caught up in the day to day that I don’t stop to breathe and appreciate them.

  12. November 5, 2013

    bwhoiwant2b Reply

    This is beautiful, and within the first two sentences of step 1, i was in tears. As a single mom, it is very difficut to believe that. Thank you.

  13. May 11, 2014

    Julia Charles Reply

    Thank you for your wonderful posts, one of the things I have done personally in regard to not comparing myself to others is to delete my Facebook account. I was getting sick to death of the snide back handed comments from fellow Mummies who seem to constantly want to compete with each other. My real friends will get in touch via my mobile if they need me. I also don’t want my son to think the only way to communicate with others is by screen.

    My 16 month old is often exhausting but I just couldn’t be without him. Thank you for your wonderfully positive posts

  14. October 5, 2014

    Sally Gardner Reply

    Kids are not able to complete tasks that even you would be pissed off if someone told you to do. It would get done if enthusiasm was enlisted and a helping hand was offered.

  15. And the simple joy of Cabela’s fish tanks to boot?! 🙂 Love this. Your writing is a gift.

  16. October 7, 2014

    Sara Reply

    This goes for daddies, too! He is such a great dad and is so hard on himself because sometimes he brings his bad moods from work home with him. I’m forwarding this to him. Very eloquently put! Thank you

  17. March 29, 2015

    Chelsea Dudley Reply

    After the birth of my son two years ago, I had a rough couple of months thinking that my older sister who is a sahm of 4 children and a good marriage would have been a better fit to parent my baby boy. Having just given birth to my daughter, I have some moments of “i dont deserve them” or “i can’t do this” but ultimately, I know God graced me with these 2 for a reason. I am equipped to do so because HE said so. My sister saw the change in me and told me so after a visit to her home. It definitely encouraged me. As does this blog.

  18. April 22, 2015

    Amber Nedeau Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this. I needed this more than words can describe.

  19. April 24, 2015

    Angela Northington Reply

    This was so timely for me right now
    Thank you

  20. July 1, 2015

    sonya Reply

    Need this today. Tysm. I am a mo. To 4 precious, very active boys.

  21. July 4, 2015

    Vicki Burgess Reply

    Thanks! This article is appreciated! I’m a grandmother now, and while reading, I reflected back to a time when my children were very young. Particularly to the time the car broke down, and that was when I used the laundry mat. A working mother, a divorcee’, I learned to avoid letting the situation get the best of me and my family. Thank goodness for CCRE, a lending library of toys, books, where I borrowed a wagon. We loaded it up with a basket full of laundry, walked to the Laundromat, and that time together walking is memorable. That simple time gave us the opportunity to enjoy nature during our walk, get exercise, and really spend time visiting with each other. A hardship turned into a memorable moment in time.

  22. July 7, 2015

    Monica Kirk Reply

    Wonderfully written. Exactly my life evryday. Exactly wut I needed to hear. Sometimes I get caught up in articles on fb on my ph but this is wut keeps me attached to the outside world. My kids keep me busy busy busy!!

  23. July 20, 2015

    vicky Reply

    I’m a sahm of 3 .6 year old and 3 year twins I’m reading your blog I couldn’t hold my self and started crying. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve my kids ,like I’m not fit for them to be a mom.and as I’m reading your post I realize that I could do and I just need to go by these 5 steps.and really live in the moment because I will never get them this small again.thank u

  24. September 4, 2015

    Amy Reply

    Either way I’m still a horrible person and an even worse mother.

  25. November 22, 2015

    Kay Reply

    This was amazing.. Exactly what i needed to end my night .. I have a one year old and another on the way.. This helped me regain my super powers. Thank you!! 😍😘😇💪🙏👪💕💞💖❤

  26. December 21, 2015

    ilene Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your gift of writing with the world. On so many mornings, your post ends up in my news feed….and after reading it, stays in my heart throughout the day making me smile. Never stop doing what you do. Never stop sharing the “realness” that you share so well. Hope you have an amazing day!

  27. January 20, 2016

    Kenne Reply

    Thank you for your blog. I am a new mom to a four month old and lately I’ve been wondering how I can be a better mom to him. This made my night. God bless you and your family 🙂

  28. January 31, 2016

    Brokenmom Reply

    Thank You so much for this, I really needed to hear the end right now in a time of need and comfort. I am always just trying to be the perfect mom for my kids and I feel like a failure especially when low self esteem is a big problem for me and makes me feel bad at everything I do. I do all of those things but I feel like they are never enough. I did give my 7 year old extra time at bed and extra cookies over the weekend but I always feel like that is just something no one will remember. So hearing from someone else that the little things matter really means a lot to me right now. Thank you for helping me see that I AM doing good and I AM the best mother for my boys.

  29. May 26, 2016

    shonice Reply

    its so hard for me to connect with my daughter ,she is not my only child but she is the only one i seem to treat so bad ,i just cant stand her at times,the way she does things or laughs or smiles sometimes ,i do love my daughter and want to be a good mother and friend to her,but whenever i try she just behaves in a way a hate ,i really need help as i dont want my daughter to resent me when she is grown ,it is a daily struggle for me to be close to her or even touch her or just even to have a normal conversation with her without calling her names or screaming or telling her to get away from me ,its really hard because i can see it hurts her but i dont know how to deal with whatever i feel towards her ,please help me or pray for us

  30. August 16, 2016

    Mom of 2 lil sol's Reply

    So needed this today…thank you. I find I’m so hard on my wee ones and I know I’m too hard in myself. Childhood is but a moment in time…not a long time to get it right…long enough to create the right memories! Thank you!!❤️

  31. December 24, 2016

    Lesley Huerta Reply

    The older my little one is the more difficult is to cope with change I give it all i have to make the best but there comes times were i have no more to give i try tho be a great mom for my baby but sometimes i feel like im the worst mother… i know my child loves me and needs me that my main drive my baby, my son, my nanon and no matter what i have to change and give up on the long run will give my satisfaction and the feeling of comfort and of course make my sweet piece of joy the happiest kid.

  32. September 1, 2017

    Chelsea @ Making Manzanita Reply

    I loved this post. I especially liked the step about letting the kids be kids. This is such a helpful read for any mama that is struggling today. In my life, crafting plays a huge role in making me feel like a better mom (although some days I feel like I’ve got the hang of it and others failure begins to creep in….#momlife). I wrote about why crafting will make you a better mom here:

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