Being a good mother isn't easy. Too many mothers of all ages fear they have missed the mark and are critical of their efforts. Some think, "I'm just not the kind of mother I had hoped I would be." The good news is, it's not too late. Even if your children are grown, but especially if some are still at home. If you have a few of them still racing through the house causing their own happy chaos, all the better. There is hope.

You can become the mother you want to be, at any time. The words of George Bernard Shaw ring true. He said, "Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself." Before we get into how you can create the mother you want to be, let's talk about and pat you on the back for the mother you already are.

Ask yourself these questions and for every "yes," give yourself a mental high five.

Do you love your children?

Even though you're frustrated and overwhelmed at times, do you still get up in the morning and meet the basic needs of your children?

Do you see that they get medical help when they need it?

Do you feel sad when they are sad?

When they are having fun, are laughing and enjoying life, does it bring joy to you?

You probably were able to say "yes" to all of these basic questions. If so, you're already on the road to being a loving, caring mother. If you're still feeling inadequate, here are a few suggestions you can work on to step up your motherhood skills a few notches. If you're already doing these, pat yourself on the back again and realize that you're doing a darn good job.

Five suggestions for creating the mother you want to be:

1. Pick out a mother you respect and admire and learn from her. Spend a little time with her asking what she does that might be helpful to you. It's always good to learn from others, particularly those who have been around the block a little longer. Pick her brain for ideas, then use the ones that are a good fit for you. As you talk to this admired mother you'll probably discover that she's had her own struggles that you never dreamed she had. She can tell you how she overcame them, or how she's still working at it. This will give you insight and hope.

2. Decide on one area of improvement you need to make. Let's say it's fixing good meals for your family. Choose one day a week when you will focus on making a new meal that's healthy and delicious; one that the kids will thoroughly enjoy. Go online to find ideas. Pinterest is a great place to search for meal ideas. Or just Google for some good recipes kids will like. Ask other moms what they're fixing for dinner. When you've improved in that area choose another and work on it. One step at a time works best.

3. Help each child know you care more about him or her than about the nitty gritty things moms seem to nag about. Take a minute and tell each child how much you love him. Pick one thing you're really proud of about her and praise her. Fill his heart with the knowledge that his mother really cares about him. It only takes a minute. Spend time with her reading a story; make study time a little more pleasant, or bedtime a little more relaxing and fun. Take a deep breath and enjoy being with your children. When you do a few of these things it will refresh your spirit and bring you more happiness.

4. Set a time for family counsel. That's when parents can focus on what things the whole family needs to do to make life happier at home. When the kids are in on the discussion the results will be much more positive. You might even serve a treat at the end of your family meeting. Do it regularly. Once isn't enough. You will be amazed at how much better your days will go by having these family counsel sessions.

5. Take time to pray about your desires to improve. Then listen to the little thoughts that come into your mind throughout the day as a result of your prayer. God is good at quietly whispering his suggestions into our minds. As part of your prayer, be sure to thank him for the honor of being a mother. Remember he trusts you and will help you.

Being a mother is a glorious gift from God; one that you will cherish more and more throughout your life. Don't let the burdens associated with it take over. Enjoy it without expecting to be the perfect mother. No one is. Enjoy your journey of becoming the mother you want to be.

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