With the constant societal messages on how best to ‘do’ mothering and the comparing trap we can often find ourselves in, it can result in self doubt and worry about how we parent.
It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed about what we “should” and “shouldn’t do” and we may begin to judge ourselves quite harshly, which impacts our mental well being. So then we worry about that, and how our frame of mind impacts our child or children.
Coupled with this, mothering can be quite a judgemental space – do you remember that post went around social media a while back where a mother was criticised for her use of a smart phone in a park while her children were playing? I was struck by how critical a lot of the posts were, comments such as “She should be paying attention to her children” and “Parents today, with their faces stuck in smart phones” and similar.
You may have heard of UK psychoanalyst and paediatrician Donald Winnicott, who famously came up with the phrase “the good enough mother”. I love this description! It sounds so much more accurate to me and blows away the perfection ideals that I see so many clients struggle with.
To be “good enough”, Winnicott talked about how the mother answered her baby’s needs, fed and clothed the baby, but was not always able to soothe the baby, or answer it’s every need – and how this was ok. When the mother can’t fix everything for the baby and then the child, every time, in effect this is like an induction to life with its imperfections and messiness, so it is a good thing!
So next time you get bogged down with those shoulds or comparing yourself to how others are doing it, remember you are a “good enough” mum who just by the sheer act of worrying about this, is already showing her love and compassion.