Motherhood: 5 Common Mistakes (2 Seen In Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds”)

(Issue 33)

By Diane Gold

The nurturing qualities of Motherhood are resident in all of us, whether we are male or female, whether we have our own children or whether we know this feeling from supporting friends, loved ones, students, elders, juniors, or even, ourselves. It is a vast combination of traits including these that we utilize throughout our lives. They are inherent in us, some more than others. Therefore, whether we actually have children or whether we are supportive of those around us, motherhood is universal. Plus, everyone has a mother.

Let’s talk about actual mothers and how, except in extremely rare cases, we all want our daughters to thrive. We make sacrifices for their comfort, and we put them first. And, speaking personally, the privilege of motherhood is unfathomably great, and those of us in the position are uber fortunate.

In tough times, it seems, when we are out of money, love, support, time, companionship, stability, nourishment, partnership; it turns out that good mothers can become controlling, desperate, belligerent, overcome, high-strung, unbalanced, even abusive. The very daughter we love more than anything in the world, the one for whom we set out to provide food, shelter, comfort and protection becomes the one who gets the brunt of our frustration.

Stuffed PuppyOur daughters are deeply affected by our actions and attitude. They know it when we cherish them above all else, and they know when we are led astray.

Just the other evening, I saw Tyler Perry’s movie, Good Deeds. Two of the characters are moms, one, an unmarried janitor and mom of a 6-year-old, newly evicted from her apartment, who is at her wit’s end needing to hide her homelessness from children’s services. The other mom, who married into wealth, expects her Ivy League son’s behavior to mirror the stereotypical Ivy League country club lifestyle. The fact that the boundaries placed on him removes his spontaneity is lost to her. The fact that he is the good son who does what others expect of him at the expense of himself is not on her radar.

Both these moms truly want the best for their children but have lost sight of what is right as they get caught up in various issues that make us human. In one case poverty, in the other case, riches, blind both moms from seeing the effect their actions have on their children.

The reason I bring up this movie is that it portrays certain mistakes we make as moms that, if we heard others talk about, we would click our tongues against our teeth in disgust and say,

“Doesn’t she know better?”

Even though we might cruise by either of these scenarios at some point.

The truth is we all do our best, or what we see as best at the time. We are not machines, and hindsight is 20/20.


It is easy to understand how we want to protect our daughters. There are many stories about moms who keep a very tight rein on their daughters. In some countries, daughters are chaperoned until the day they get married.

What this can cause is the inability for our daughter to make personal decisions for herself since someone has always made them for her.

So many daughters run their moms. We see this more in Western society as many moms want to give their daughters the freedom they didn’t have or want companions who like them rather than daughters who need guidance.

This lack of discipline does not offer daughters the experience of understanding the importance of boundaries and may impair decision making abilities.


In order to prepare our daughters for school, business, government involvement, community; we are supposed to give them life internships. They need to take care of their everyday living in  ways that will develop their independence.

Whether we assign our daughters chores at 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11; we are doing a good thing. Sometimes, because we want to be in a higher class than we were raised, we don’t dole out chores. Other times, in order to create infrastructure for the future of our daughters or because we were raised to let children be children and never had a chore; we burden them with too much.


As sorry as I am to admit, I gave too much time to the needs of my live-in male partner which gave too little consideration for the needs of my daughter. Fortunately for her, my ex-husband, her father, with whom she lived most of the time, ALWAYS kept perspective on time spent with her.

This behavior is one of the worst things I have ever done in my life.

It was not like the time I left my daughter sleeping in her carseat, locked in the car, in the bank parking lot when I went into the suburban bank in New York, and forgot she was there for 2 minutes. Back then, I thought that was the worst thing I had done, but it wasn’t intentional, and everything was OK. No, the behavior I am talking about was deliberately spending time with the man of the house when I should have been reading a good night story to my daughter.

I will speak more on this in my book URGES when it is finished.

There is no use in regret, and it’s usually freeing to acknowledge our actions. I am working on self-forgiveness in this department and think my daughter forgives me, too. But behavior such as this leaves lasting impact on our daughters.


In modern society, the role of our daughter is not as cut and dry as it was 100 years ago. It is common knowledge that our daughters will be gurus, CEOs, single by choice, President or all of the above.

Each family has its own way of discussing what is expected. There is much evidence that we, as mothers, must be sensitive to the dreams of our daughter so that she feels comfortable to flourish in her own way, not ours.


Reaching Out


Often times, we, as moms, don’t reach out in our own crisis. (Can you hear the SuperMom music?) We are often ready to lend a hand, but we work on handling our burdens ourselves. This runs the gamut from working on some emotional problem, the dire circumstances surrounding just having been evicted (as in Tyler Perry’s movie) or what to do with our problems with our daughter.

We want to teach our daughters how important it is to reach out, trust others, deserve comfort. We must do this by example.


There is a fine line between how much is too much or how little is too little. As mentioned before, we do what we think is best at the time. We also do what we can. If we have an emotionally healthy relationship, we can confer with our partner and flesh out mistakes before they happen. If we go it alone, our days are probably very busy making one plus one equal two.

The rules of motherhood cannot be written down because there are human dynamics in every situation. If the book says to give our daughters enough freedom so that they will feel relaxed enough to confide in us, the book cannot force this confidence and it cannot frame the freedom we allow.

If our circumstances are falling apart and we forget to consider our daughters carefully enough, disaster might strike.

If we are too involved in impressing our fellow Senators at a dinner, and we forget to structure life for our daughters carefully enough, we could be as negatively impacted as the previous example.

Do we give up when we make a mistake? No. We work at becoming better, stronger, more forgiving and more humble. When we look back, it seems impossible that we could have made such poor choices. We go on.

We do our best in motherhood. It’s important to keep our training wheels on, even if we think we are masters. We can usually become better equipped, even though our grandmothers’ way has much merit.

With new technology and environment, we have new circumstances into which to become sensitive. We can create second lives in virtual realities; we carry extra body weight; we stop eating the usual way and have not enough body weight and a whole lot more issues that are common to the past 25 years.

As our humanity evolves, we must be aware of what our daughters are exposed to. This might affect our mothering. We can never become too experienced and there is always something to learn. And hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes.


We welcome your comments below.


Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Moms For Healthy Daughters, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music, fitness and stress expert and a dedicated mom. She has made many mistakes as a mom, and works to understand what methods can help others avoid the same ones. She says,

“By sharing with each other, we get a chance to purge ourselves. We also get the opportunity to help someone else who might see the light through our mistakes. This is also a path on the road to forgiving ourselves.”

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