The Good Enough Mother
“….Embrace the concept of “Good Enough.” Breathe it in, breathe it out. Let it wrap around you and soothe your tired, worried, guilty soul. You will fail your child. You will. It will happen. Some of us do it daily. Some more spectacularly than others. What Winnicott tells us though, assures us from his mid-century psychoanalytic throne, is that it is okay. Everything is going to be okay.” (Sheila Quirke)
With The idea of the “Good Enough Mother” (Donald Winnicot – Pediatrician and Psycho-analyst), I have learnt to be okay with just being “Good Enough”. When my kids were younger, I wanted to be Supermom. Birthday Parties came, they had to be perfect while I iced and decorated Barney Cakes and Goldilocks Cakes, running myself around in circles to make sure I outdid myself. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think my kids even remember. A photo or two have to prompt their memory. What they will remember always, I think, is how I made them feel.
During the week after my eldest, Gideon, was born, I had a nightmare that I bathed my baby and he drowned and I needed to call 911, but couldn’t get the number right. These fears still erupt as I wish and hope I am doing right by my kids and not fail them.
Well I am afraid to say there were times I disappointed them, or wasn’t there, or got angry and said some things I regretted. But this mother and child bond is the most forgiving relationship I know and I now realize it’s ok to be “good enough”. As long as I know that I had more moments of “good”. That my “good” was frequent and consistent enough to create well adjusted kids. In fact not being there all the time, taught them to tap into their own resources and to grow stronger for it.
But here is the key I think… owning up to when I did wrong and being self- aware enough to realize it… and humble enough to admit it. Many times, a simple giving of my time and giving extra attention (always authentic though), would calm them…and calm me… and re-cement the relationship.I do not let my mistakes go by unacknowledged, because I think, this would create doubts and slowly chip away at their self -esteem and ultimately the relationship.
So, I may not be Supermom, but I am ok with it now. I always try my best – even though that means I nag too much. I hope they realize my nagging means I am trying to be the best mom I can be. It means I worry and I care, and no one else in the world will worry and care about them in quite the same way.
To all mothers who want to be in the Supermom category, just know, that mistakes and being “good enough” do not exclude you from being a super mom in your kids’ eyes. Happy Mothers’ Day! Cherish the times together, and cherish being “good enough”!!!
Oh, and remember to tell them you love them… often enough!!! 🙂
As a Life Coach serving Orange County, namely the Irvine, Tustin, Newport Beach and Santa Ana areas, I give support for parents struggling with the challenges of parenting and work related stress.
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