Will You Be a Good Mother?

Stellar moms possess five key traits. Learn to cultivate them before you have a bun in the oven.

You no doubt take precautions to ensure you don't become a mother right now, but you may wonder if you have what it takes to be a fab mom later on. Well, there are ways to tell.

"Certain characteristics make a person more likely to be a good parent," explains child psychologist Virginia Shiller, PhD, author of Rewards for Kids! Many women naturally develop these qualities over time, she says. But you can actively awaken them now so they're present should you opt for future mommyhood. We show you how.

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A Strong Intuition
Can you tell if your guy is upset via his body lingo? Do you know when a coworker is stressed by a slight change in her expression? Since infants can't verbalize their feelings, "you'll have to use indirect cues like these to interpret your baby's needs," says Shiller.

Tap in to your intuition by taking a minute to feel people out before they divulge their thoughts, says Los Angeles psychologist Yvonne Thomas, PhD. "You may be surprised by how much your inner voice can reveal." Then, once you're a mom, you'll be picking up the most subtle clues.

Related: Is Stress Making You Bitchy?

A Knack for Nurturing
Women who baby their men and chicks who counsel pals in crises are primed for parenthood. "This demonstrates you're able to comfort others," says Shiller. One way to foster your caretaking side: "If a pal seems down, don't just ask if she's okay," suggests Thomas. "Put your arm around her and help her find a solution."

The Ability to Keep Your Cool
Everyone gets frazzled, but women who rein in their emotions before they freak have a leg up on being terrific moms. "You probably won't take out frustration on your future kids," explains Daniela Montalto, PhD, a developmental psychologist at the New York University Child Study Center.

To train yourself to stay chill, put what's setting you off in perspective. Most triggers aren't worth flipping out over. And when stress bubbles up, have a go-to activity that relaxes you, like hitting the gym, says Thomas.

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A Willingness to Ask for Help
When a job is too big to handle solo, a good mom enlists assistance, says Shiller. So begin reaching out if you're overwhelmed, say by asking your guy to pitch in more around the house.

A Playful Attitude
A vital parenting trait is having fun. "This helps you interact with kids better and become part of their world," says Montalto. If you have trouble getting in touch with your carefree side, "focus on how things feel instead of worrying whether you look silly," says Thomas. "You'll let loose and live in the moment." Just like children do.

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