KIDS vote: What is your best quality?


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We talk a lot about the mothering attributes we want to develop, but now it’s time to reflect on what our kids want us to develop–or better yet, the qualities they already recognize and appreciate in us! Perhaps this small survey will provide valuable insight into what matters most to our children. 

So think about it, or just ask them to tell you, so you can enlighten all of us:

What would your kids say is your best quality as a mom?


  1. saren says

    I asked my 5-year-old twins what I’m good at as a mom.  Silas’s answers: “You like it when I give you lots of hugs and you tuck me in bed and that’s all.”  Oliver’s answers: “You let me play on your phone and on your computer sometimes.  You got me this Spiderman costume. (He’s wearing the costume right now).  You help us write notes to people when we want to spell something and read stories with us and .  Can we have story time now?”  I guess in their book, good mothering is all about letting your kids get their way (infrequently enough that it feels special), helping them with what they want to do, and lots of hugs and snuggles.  Better go do story time!

  2. Shawna says

    My kids would concur with your kids, Saren. They are thrilled when I do their bidding. When I asked Ben (5) what he liked best, he said, “I like it when you draw with me.” Drawing is something I do, but I wouldn’t call it a “quality.” So I’m still thinking about it–I’ll have to figure out what their favorite quality of mine is, since I’m not sure they even understand what a “quality” is!

  3. Tiffany says

    I asked my two oldest (11 and 8) this question while my 8 year old was stuck at the table a half hour past dinnertime, because he wouldn’t eat his dinner.  So… his first response was, “I like it when you fix dinners I like.”  But then when prompted to continue he said, “I like that you do treasure hunts after school for us and go on bike rides with me.”  “And I’ll really like you if you don’t make me eat this,” he concluded. 

    My 11 year old said, “I like that we do family carnivals and you actually like to be with us.  You don’t say “Go away and leave me alone” that often.

    I agree with Saren too, frequently, good mothering to our children is often about getting what they want and doing what they like… So I really appreciated this Mother’s day when one of my children wrote in a letter to me, “I really like that you teach us to work, and that we can’t always get what we want.” 

    Motherhood…learning as we go…

  4. Tiffany says

    Hey Shawna-

    I think really, our family carnivals are a combination of ‘being cheap,’ and it is easier to stay home where a baby can be in bed, rather than wrestle five kids in a public place… That being said, here are a couple links that give a little insight to our family carnivals-


    We try to do one every couple of months, they are really quite spontaneous, and each kid loves coming up with an activity.

    As for the treasure hunt, I do one maybe 3-4 times a month.  I hang a ‘clue’ on the pantry door when they get home from school and they have to figure out my drawings (I am an awful artist)  or written clues.  I take them upstairs/downstairs 4-5 times and then there will be something at the end.  Sometimes it will be a donut, maybe new flip-flops, candy,  dollar store item or even their after-school snack.  The last ‘clue’ is always in a ‘funny to kids’ place.  (Afterall, a plate of cookies on the toilet seat is always very funny when you’re a child…) 

    Try either sometime, I’m sure your kids will love it.

  5. Shawna says

    Thanks for the great ideas! I like those little things that make a big impression on the kids: “My mom is the BEST!”

  6. Lindsay says

    Oh ladies, those are some good ideas. I asked my kids this question today in the car, and my five year old said she liked when I read to her. I gave a little fist pump in the air, because that is something I’ve tried really hard to do again this week and she noticed. My three year old said she likes when I tuck her in at night. She HAS to be tucked in. I think she loves all the attention and love I give her. It’s tough being the middle child and that is her extra special time all to herself. I’ve also been reading them each their own individual stories before naps and bedtime. I crawl into bed with them and they love it. Especially my oldest, because I get myself up into her top bunk to do it.

    I also had to give myself credit yesterday for stopping to enjoy the moment and do something out of the ordinarry. We’ve all heard that quote about “enjoying the doing more than the getting it done.” We were all out doing errands and on the way home I stopped by a horse stable that we always pass and asked if my girls could look around for a bit. They thought is was really neat, but then my two year old discovered she was deathly afraid of horses and clung to me with her life and screamed the whole time. The excursion might have been cut short do to said child, but it was definately a serendipitous moment for us and I was happy that I took the time and effort to do it.  I think those are the things that make me feel like a good mom.

  7. Shawna says

    OK, I’ve been thinking more about various qualities that a mother could possibly have: Kindness, patience, diligence, organization, intelligence… In each case, I would have to say, “I am still working on it!”–and/or my kids wouldn’t really notice that I’m exceptional at any of those. While those are all qualities I want to have and be recognized (by my kids) for, the kids are with me all the time, and they observe my failings not infrequently.

    That said, the one thing that they seem to appreciate (maybe without knowing it) is that I can offer them a kid-friendly explanation on just about any subject. It amazes me sometimes, how challenging/possible/fun it is to boil things down to kid level, and see the world in a whole different way. The teaching aspect of parenting is one of my favorites, and it’s at least one area in which I could say I’m doing well!

  8. April Perry says

    I asked my children what they like about me, and they said, “You love us and take care of us.”  At first, I was a little discouraged by that because that kind of thing is a “given” in my book.  Of COURSE moms love and take care of their children.  But shouldn’t they say that I’m really fun or that I teach them new things or that I make them feel like a million bucks?  The more I thought about it, though, the more grateful I felt that they COULD say that I love and care for them.  Because it isn’t a “given” in the world.  I might not be the most fun mom or the most creative mom or the most intelligent mom in the world, but if my children feel loved and cared for, that’s a great thing.

  9. Shawna says

    April, I think it is so sweet that your children recognize and appreciate the ways that you “love and take care of them.” I wish that my kids would recognize that as something I do. (I like to think I’m doing a fine job, so they just take it for granted–as opposed to I’m not doing a good enough job so they can’t attribute it to me). Still, I think being able to recognize the basic, steady work that you do from day to day shows you must have emotionally brilliant children!

  10. April Perry says

    Shawna, I think the appreciation comes as they get older.  Little children tend to only think of themselves, but the older children are finally able to look at their parents and think, “Hey, it takes a lot of work to raise me!”  Now I can look at my parents and write volumes about all they did for me, but back then, it was just “par for the course.”  You’re doing GREAT.

  11. lauraf says

    These are great comments, I agree that very young children are more work, and “fun” activities like treasure hunts and carnivals might come when they get older, I am very much looking forward to engaging in these sorts of things with my children. I have two with very different personalities (one and three years old), I find it difficult to engage both at the same time, I am hoping that when the “baby” gets older, we will all be able to play more games together.

  12. Emily says

    Though at 23 months my little guy is much more likely to say what he DOESN’T like (“No like it, Mommy!”), I can tell the quality of mine that he likes most is my sense of adventure. He loves it when we go off the bike path and blaze a trail down to the river where he can throw rocks and watch the splash. Or when I let him run the aisles of the farmers market and choose the booths where HE wants to stop and explore (the ginger snap baker is a favorite).

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