Maybe you wonder if you’re getting it right. And maybe you worry that you’re not. In either case, if you’re a mom who thinks about her relationship with her kids, and looks for ways to improve her self-understanding and her communication with them, then you can rest assured; you’re already ahead of the game.
Because, believe it or not, not every parent is conscious about his or her parenting.
Not every parent thinks about how their interactions with their kids are shaping who they become in the future, or thinking about how they can optimize their relationship with their kids’ so they will grow up to be happy, self-assured and resilient adults.
But let’s say you’re not one of those parents. Let’s say you’ve reached this point in the article and you’re feeling anxious and insecure; wondering if you’re totally failing as a parent because, well, those words just did not reflect your approach to parenting.
If that’s the case, you can rest assured. Because whether or not you consciously contemplate your relationship with your kids, if you’re reading this, and you’ve come this far, then you can count yourself in the group of good moms who are committed to doing their best.
But what about all those times when you’re almost certain that you’re blowing it?
Like you’re inflicting irreparable wounds on your child’s sense of self?
When you feel inadequate, hopeless, like a huge failure?
Because I know that I’m not alone in those moments. I know, and am comforted by the fact, that there are moms out there, just like me, who feel overwhelmed and disconnected at times, and who lose it on their kids as a result.
So if you’re like me, here’s a little secret to help you overcome your self-doubt and insecurities when you can’t help but wonder if you’re getting it right:
Are you ready for this one?
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent!
I know, you’ve heard that before.
It makes perfect sense.
I tell myself that all the time.
But even though it makes sense intellectually, you don’t always feel like it’s true.
There are times when you think you’re the exception and you’re doing a botch job! So, allow me to introduce you to a phrase coined by physician and psychoanalyst Donal Winnicott, that has changed the way I see myself as a mother and has empowered me in my relationship with my kids. It’s called The Good Enough Mother.
You like that?
It’s not about getting it right all the time. It’s about getting it right most of the time. And knowing what to do when you miss it.
In my experience as a mother, and a psychologist, I’ve come to recognize that good enough parenting is, well, good enough. What that means is that all of us are going to miss our children’s needs, not just sometimes, but time and again.
Welcome to the club.
But if you meet your children’s needs enough of the time, the results will be happier, healthier, more secure children, and parents too.
If you try. If you think about your relationship with your kids and how you can improve your understanding and communication with them, then I can confidently say, you are a good enough mom and you can rest assured that your children will not be perfect (because who is!? and who needs to be anyways?!) but they will grow up knowing that they are valuable, because they have a parent who values them enough to try to recognize and meet their needs. Even if you only get it right most of the time.
Liba Lurie is a licensed psychologist in private practice and creator of www.motherhoodinthemaking.com, a project that offers guidance and support to parents who feel overwhelmed and out of balance regain their sense of calm, control and connection to themselves and their kids so that they can enjoy raising kids who thrive. Liba can be reached at www.libalurie.com