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What Makes a Good Mother?

September 14, 2010

A good mother does not yell, is not impatient, and doesn’t utilize fake swear words like, “Flippin’ A.”   

I impatiently yell, “Flippin’ A Maya, knock it off.”  Almost daily. 

A good mother always has hand sanitizer and band-aids handy, and knows exactly how to use a thermometer.   

Despite having it on the shopping list for weeks, the Din Household is currently sans band-aids and hand sanitizer, and 5 years into motherhood I still can’t figure out how to use a thermometer.  Not even a digital one.  

A good mother runs over when her child falls down at the park and always has a band-aid in her back pocket.  

When Maya falls down I usually yell, “Is there blood?” from across the park and if the answer is “no” I go back to reading/chatting on my phone.  And we’ve already addressed the band-aid situation. 

A good mother doesn’t let her kid leave the house without brushing her teeth and she certainly doesn’t let her child wear pajamas to a restaurant.  

All I can say to this one is that you have to pick your battles…trust me on this. 

I do not fit the definition of a traditionally good mother and yet I am still a good mother.  I can state this with confidence because I managed not to lose my mind or my temper today when Maya interrupted yet another one of my phone calls with the most pressing question ever: 

“What happens if you have a baby in your tummy and it throws up?  Where does the barf go?” 

In honor of Maya's 1st day of kindergarten I spared her. Lucky girl.


I know.  I shocked myself too.

74 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 2:52 am

    Kids do say the darndest things…

    No but seriously Ameena. Where DOES the barf go?

    • September 14, 2010 8:44 am

      I told her that babies dont throw up when they are in their mommys tummiesI have no clue if that is true?

  2. September 14, 2010 3:03 am

    HAHA….Okay… What is the answer to her question, anyway?!??!

    • September 14, 2010 8:42 am

      I just said that babies don’t throw up when they are in their mommy’s tummies…I have no clue if that is true but it seemed to satisfy her. For now.

  3. September 14, 2010 3:13 am

    How stinkin cute is she? That would be exactly my “mother list” once I have kids. I can feel it now. Although we may have the best of intentions, sometimes, we just have to stay true to ourselves! 🙂

  4. September 14, 2010 3:15 am

    Oh my God, too funny. I think our writing wit is similar (although I never write like it lately!) – and the fact that you write about Mother-Hood and I don’t.

    And you ARE a good mother!! (LOL – I don’t have kids, but I don’t have Band-aids either…not a good thing when you live alone…nor do I have a flashlight…not a good thing when thunderstorms are quite frequent…hmmm)

  5. September 14, 2010 3:21 am

    Ha– that’s a good question!

    I love the tags for this post 🙂

  6. September 14, 2010 3:28 am

    I don’t know how you do it. Your a mom, fulltime worker, writer, wife, a person all your own….you juggle so much and are genius.

    • September 14, 2010 8:39 am

      Thank you for this…I am going to forward this to my husband who often thinks differently. 🙂 Seriously though, I appreciate the compliment.

  7. September 14, 2010 3:42 am

    i’m so glad that you think you are a good mother. I was worried i was going to have to try to convince you of it, which i would be ready and willing to do, of course, but i’m glad you know it yourself.
    Ah the first day of kindergarten- such a milestone 🙂
    And as for the thermometers- does ANYBODY know how to use them?

  8. September 14, 2010 3:44 am

    LOL!!!! That’s too funny.

  9. September 14, 2010 3:48 am

    A good mother loves her daughter… and that’s the only thing that really matters.

  10. September 14, 2010 3:58 am

    You’re very cute. I know you know you’re a great mom. I’m gonna ask Sophie what she thinks happens to barf when happens in a baby’s tummy and see what she says. I’ll let you know.

    Fyi, hand sanitizer for when you’re outside at the park: good. Too much hand sanitizer around the house: bad. You’re actually better off with good old soap and warm water when it’s available. So see, you are a GREAT mom.

  11. September 14, 2010 4:54 am

    Oh, Maya, you are too precious. I never thought much of the “traditional” idea of a perfect mother, and besides, who can be perfect anyway?? I had to giggle when I read the part about “Flippin’ A” – whenever I do something dumb, like stub my toe, I always say “Fudging A!”. One time I said it in the middle of my class, and everyone looked at me as if I’d dropped a REAL F-bomb. Ah, well.

    And who needs bandaids, anyway? Dirt makes us strong! … well, ok, maybe not, but kids are pretty resilient 🙂

  12. September 14, 2010 5:35 am

    Aw Maya is a real cutie! And who wouldnt want to wear pajamas to a restaurant. Lucky girl!

  13. September 14, 2010 5:43 am

    Oh my gosh! That is hilarious. I think that you could write your bestseller based on Maya quotes alone! She is so gorgeous and actually asks really intelligent questions. You know, in my family, the naughtier they are, the smarter they turn out! I was extremely well-behaved, unfortunately :/
    You are an amazing mother and don’t forget it! Think of no hand sanitizer as a chance to build up some immunity!

  14. September 14, 2010 6:11 am

    I’ve had Band-Aid on my shopping list too but I never buy them when I’m at the store because it makes me worry that if I buy one, I’ll have to use it, which means getting hurt sometimes… if I don’t buy one, it’s as if I’m avoiding getting hurt. Twisted form of paranoia?

  15. September 14, 2010 6:20 am

    “Good mothers” are boring and predictable ;-P

  16. Michelle permalink
    September 14, 2010 6:53 am

    Haha I also agree that you must pick your battles…one lesson that I learned while nannying this summer.

  17. September 14, 2010 7:03 am

    That is the funniest question EVER! I hope you are logging these somewhere (oh you ARE…HERE! haha)

    You are an AMAZING Mom. WE do not come in a one size fits all package so no worries. and you DO have to pick your battles…all the time (at least I do) so I hear ya. I have to brush teeth with a snake like death grip on his arms and legs because he simply is not a fan.

    we make a game out of it so he’s not traumatized! haha

    YEAH, first day of school! how exciting!

  18. September 14, 2010 7:15 am

    you are totally an excellent mother! i think that maya is going to totally grow up into an amazing woman because of you. and no i’m not just saying that. if i didn’t think it i wouldn’t take the time to write it out 🙂

    and excellent question maya! hahah. how on earth are you going to answer that?!

  19. September 14, 2010 7:15 am

    Haha, you just made my morning. I can’t wait for your book to come out!

    I think you are a great mother. If I have children, I’m sure I’ll be a lot like you. I’m not exactly the most nurturing person, I’m pretty impatient, and all those “good mother” qualities you listed do not come naturally to me. But if you can do such a wonderful job with Maya, then (hopefully) so can I.

    • September 15, 2010 6:53 pm

      Oh Lauren – you will do better, I promise you that!

  20. September 14, 2010 7:29 am

    The things kids ask! So funny. I love your comical take on motherhood!

  21. September 14, 2010 7:30 am

    oh my goodness. this is great. you are a good mom after all!

  22. September 14, 2010 7:36 am

    so, whats the answer? you should tell her thats where poop comes from….but then she’ll think she has a baby in her tummy. ok not a good answer. my guess is that your answer included the word Flippin-A. lol. you are an amazing mother and mayas childhood will be filled with colorful memories!

  23. September 14, 2010 7:46 am

    You are an excellent mother! I hear you on picking your battles. And the bandaids. We have none…despite the fact M finds a way to fall and scrape her knees every single time we come in from outside.

  24. September 14, 2010 8:27 am

    Brilliant. I love it. A very common refrain in our house after I hear a blood curling scream is ‘are you bleeding?’ No? No band-aid then.’ And my kids are disappointed. Disappointed they haven’t injured themselves enough to gush blood. Band-aids are the holy grail in my house, you gotta earn them.

    And on the bright side my kids want them so bad I think I’ll use them as stocking stuffers this Christmas and let them have one day free from the ‘no blood’ rule.

  25. Leslie permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:29 am

    ROFLMAO, Ameena! Maya’s last quote could be a tagline for a book. Choosing one’s battle is an excellent life lesson for anyone to learn. As for pj’s at the restaurant, well, I know that you’re not a fan of Lady GaGa, but she has definitely expanded a gal’s sartorial choices for public outings. Back in the day Madonna work her undies on the outside starting a new trend.

    Madonna >>>> Lady GaGa >>>>> Maya ?

    P.S. When I was at Gelson’s in Century City recently, I saw a woman shopping in a “housecoat” and rather comfy shoes. Trust me, Maya’s trend will catch on.

  26. September 14, 2010 8:34 am

    Ha, Maya’s question is hilarious. And, actually, my pregnant sister and I were just talking about the same thing. Obviously, her thought process is very advanced 😉
    This post is exactly what needs to go in your book 🙂

  27. September 14, 2010 8:43 am

    love this post! i am the exact same way with Olivia.. seriously! maybe with a little more love for acting like a fool in front of the kids.. and my love for kids shows and movies (Sunny with a Chance anyone??) LOL

    a few of my friends are helicopter moms and they are suffering dearly for it. kids bounce back from minor things.. a spill on a bike or a drop of blood will not make them go to therapy or scar them for life.. and besides.. I feel good about my mothering skills more and more when I read the news about other parents..

    wasn’t it chris rock who said its a father’s job to keep his daughter off the pole??? i figure as long as my daughter is living a morally good life and is not using drugs or committing felonies, i have done my job – even if she is a little annoying.. LOL

  28. September 14, 2010 8:47 am

    Oh–that is seriously a really great question! Where does it go? Lol

  29. September 14, 2010 8:50 am

    As a mom myself, I definitely can relate to everything you just mentioned. Sometimes I feel like, in order to be a great mom we almost have to have the ability to mind read cause we all know kids definitely say the darndest things, ask the most unanswerable questions and do the most unpredictable things. Admidst all their craziness, we have to remember at the end of the day that we really ARE great moms, cause who else can go through that with another person and still love them unconditionally? Like I’ve said before, Maya’s smiles speaks a thousand words.

    Hope Maya had a great first day of kindergarten!

  30. Leah @ Why Deprive? permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:09 am

    haha they were talking about the questions kids ask on the radio this morning. That would EASILY have been the best one!
    And I agree, I have no doubt that you are an excellent mother.

  31. September 14, 2010 9:52 am

    That is a really good question on Maya’s part…
    I think you are an amazing mother!!!

  32. September 14, 2010 10:52 am

    Well actually, yeah, where does it go? I’m going to have to ask my hubbs that question (he’s a doctor, he will know).
    *kisses* HH

  33. lowandbhold permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:49 am

    You’re hilarious! Good mothers come in all shapes and sizes. My mom never had bandaids. It’s not as common as you’d think 🙂

  34. September 14, 2010 12:02 pm

    There are days when I wish I could wear pajamas to a restaurant. And really, where does the barf go? Judging from the number of people leaving comments and wondering the same thing, it’s clear Maya just asks what we’ve all been wanting to know all along 😉

  35. highonhealthy permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:29 pm

    Those things make a good mother? Kind of seems like they make a boring mother too. The way you mother is so much more interesting.

  36. September 14, 2010 12:30 pm

    Your posts never fail to make me smile! I nearly started laughing at Maya’s interrupting question which would have been bad considering I am reading this during class (I know, bad Liz). Wonderful post!

  37. September 14, 2010 12:40 pm

    Hehe, you crack me up! Of COURSE you’re a wonderful mother!!!!! 🙂 That question is hilarious… I wonder what kind of funny questions I’ll be getting one day from my little boy, haha! 😉

  38. September 14, 2010 12:40 pm

    Oh my! That is quite the question. Did she just get over a bout of vomiting? Because seriously, sounds like something my son (who just started Kinder too) would ask after getting sick!

    I agree, you must choose your battles… I’m pretty lax about PJs in public. Hey, sometimes you just gotta give!

    Your writing is hilarious, I love it!

  39. Med permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:12 pm

    Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard when I read that question!!!! That is such a gross thought! Her mind works in mysterious ways.

  40. September 14, 2010 1:25 pm

    Hey Ameena! Too funny. You know, I have no idea what makes a good, well rounded mother. I just have a small list of things in my mind that I remember my and other parents in the neighborhood doing when I was young that I will never, ever do (smile)!
    Oh, and Maya’s question is indicative of a very….creative mind. She’s too funny.
    p.s. I love white rice too. I like brown also, but there’s nothing like white basmati or jasmine rice. Nothing;)!

  41. September 14, 2010 1:32 pm

    oh, that made me laugh! you are a good mother, at least as far as i’m concerned!

  42. September 14, 2010 2:16 pm

    Smile. Thanks for making me laugh before a LONG 3 hour graduate seminar. I needed this. I’m sending my blog to my sister (and her best friend). They are both wonderful mothers who manage to let go of all the pressure to be perfect and to just live. You are a great mother, love!

  43. September 14, 2010 4:07 pm

    Lol, how funny! Great question though…Maya is really intuitive to ask that! 🙂

  44. September 14, 2010 4:13 pm

    It wasn’t until I hit the wonderful world of Cheffing that I found bandaids came in all these wonderful fluro colours, I vaguely remember bandages for the serious cuts that deserved stitches but I do believe I can hold my hand on my heart & say “Hey, I turned out OK without Yogi Bear bandaids” (as she breathes a great sigh of relief because seriously when I was growing up I really didn’t think I’d survive without bandaids sporting cute cuddly bears n the like. Just goes to show…!

  45. September 14, 2010 4:22 pm

    hahah you are a good mother cause you say NO. I’m sure living in LA you see how saying yes all the time can turn out. Happy first day of school maya and happy freedom to you Ameena

  46. September 14, 2010 4:45 pm

    Is there blood? hahaha

  47. September 14, 2010 4:56 pm

    She is so insightful with her questions. What a clever daughter you have.

    My 3yr old niece ask me “why the sky was blue?” I said because it’s a reflection of the ocean. Good enough right? lol!

    You are going to have your handful Ameena.

  48. September 14, 2010 4:59 pm

    I think I was probably one of those kids who asked my mom that question. While she was on the phone. I like to think it helped my mom gain “character” and helped develop my inquisitive nature. So, on Maya’s behalf, I thank you for your patience 🙂

  49. September 14, 2010 8:35 pm

    You know what I love about this? She knows the word “barf”!

    And my son ALWAYS brushes his teeth before we go ANYWHERE! Ha ha.

    The “is there blood” one cracked me up!When my son & his cousins are playing together, we always tell them “don’t come and get us unless there’s blood or somebody is dying”. We are only partly kidding 😉

  50. September 14, 2010 9:24 pm

    Ha, your a good mother because you actually take maya to the park. My mom was great, but most of time she just gave me a dollar and told me to chase the ice cream truck or go to park by my self if I so wished. Then again, those were the days where car phones were a big deal so an iphone to play with was not a possibility.

  51. September 15, 2010 5:07 am

    ha, your posts crack me up! what a great question 🙂

  52. September 15, 2010 5:26 am

    As a doc in pediatrics, I have to say what makes a good parent?
    One that that is a “learner of your child”

    You definitely are. What works, what doesn’t, and constantly shifting, praying, accepting, and looking foward.

  53. September 15, 2010 10:17 am

    How did Maya come up with questions like that? She is a smart young lady. I think I flunk a good mother test based on the first statement. Did not know it was going to be so challenging being a mother! I am going to meditate often.

  54. September 15, 2010 12:53 pm

    haha. you make me smile!

  55. September 15, 2010 1:17 pm

    I was late to my first day of Kindergarten. My parents could not even be on time for that. SIGH

  56. September 15, 2010 1:48 pm

    can i admit that i think children ask the questions that make adults laugh yet secretly wonder “wait, i actually dont know, where the hell does barf go!!” hahaha ❤

    you taught maya well 😉


  57. Kath (Eating for Living) permalink
    September 15, 2010 3:28 pm

    LOL. Kids and putting questions …

  58. September 15, 2010 5:36 pm

    Ok I love this. I am so not this mother. I pretty much nodded my head to everything you said, especially the part about getting hurt and judging the seriousness by whether or not it’s bleeding. That’s totally the barometer in our house as well.

  59. September 15, 2010 7:30 pm

    haha.. where do kids get that stuff? I’m sure kindergarten will be a good mini vacation for you. She’s such a cutie patootie.

  60. September 15, 2010 9:17 pm

    Maya asks the darndest questions. I love her.

    Oh, and in response to this: “A good mother runs over when her child falls down at the park and always has a band-aid in her back pocket. ”

    NO FREAKING WAY!!! The reason I always HATE asian babies is because they always expect someone to pick them up and fuss over them when they fall. For god’s sake, you didn’t even hurt yourself. You’re just crying like crazy because you want someone to notice you, like they always do. NO.

    Sorry, that made me sound like a bitch, but I was always impressed by American (sorry to generalize) babies who just pick themselves up when they fall.

  61. September 16, 2010 6:10 am

    I love the standards for a good mother. In reality, everyone is different and the behaviors that make some a good mother may be different for everyone, and everyone’s child is different so the rules change at that point. Situations will always be different, but I do think you mailed it with your closing argument here as to why you are in fact a good mother. Where did she ever come up with that question, LOL!

  62. September 16, 2010 10:22 am

    Agree. We have to pick our battles. Several times I have said to my husband, you have to look at the bigger picture, some things are just not worth it. 🙂

  63. September 16, 2010 12:57 pm

    My mother would just put me in a pack-n-play, shove it in front of the TV, turn it on, and leave me there all day. You’re doing a great job!

  64. September 16, 2010 1:17 pm

    i sometimes wonder what kind of mother i’ll end up to be, i think i might steal that dont-run-over-unless-its-bleeding tactic:) my husband says when he was a kid, if he hurt himself his dad would never say “are you okay?” -he’d say “good one, hey?!!” and slap him on the back. lol…ya gotta toughin’ those rug rats up! 😛

  65. September 16, 2010 3:28 pm

    Oh goodness… the things kids say these days. hahaha… You are a good mother and keep at it.

  66. September 16, 2010 7:40 pm

    You. Are. Hilarious. IDk I think you are raising Maya to be independent and to take care of herself. That’s so cool. I wish my parents had been more hands-off!!!

  67. September 16, 2010 8:53 pm

    I FREAKIN LOVE MAYA! Uh oh, would a good mother grab my IP address and sick Child Protection on me for saying that?

    Haha, you’re an awesome mother. Your girl’s smart questions proves that you keep her mind open, and that’s a quality of only the most excellent mothers.

  68. September 18, 2010 6:52 pm

    I am laughing so hard I am having trouble leaving a comment…All I can say is thank goodness that the log in is auto 🙂 I am pretty much that kind of Mom too. Mine are grown now, in fact my oldest is a partner on our blog…So it works 🙂 A good Mom if one who cares even about the crazy little things, and you are a great Mom…

  69. October 17, 2010 4:05 pm

    meh, those moms are all raising wussies who will never be able to do anything on their own! and let yourself off the hook for the hand sanitizer. i’d never put it on myself or any friend/kid. i don’t even use antibacterial soap – just regular soap! never gotten sick less 🙂

  70. November 1, 2010 12:22 pm

    from that list of good mother quotes…i think i m a horrible mother and from now on should carry band aids in my……pocket? =S

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