But maybe you wonder if you’re getting it right.
Or maybe you worry that you’re not.
In either case, if you’re a mom who thinks about her relationship with her kids, then you can rest assured, you’re already ahead of the game.
Because, believe it or not, while building a loving and authentic relationship with your kids is the foundation of raising good kids who thrive, not every parent is on the same wave length.
Not every parent thinks about how their interactions with their kids are shaping who they become in the future, or thinks about how they can optimize their relationship with their kids’ so they will grow up to be happy, self-assured and resilient adults.
But wait a minute!
What if you’ve reached this point in the article and you’re wondering if, maybe you’re totally failing as a parent because, well, while it resonates with you, you think you’re missing the mark in soooo many ways when it comes to being a calm, present and attentive mom.
If that’s the case, stay with me.
Because whether or not you’ve reached your goals as a parent, if you’re reading this, and you’ve come this far, then you can count yourself in to the group of good moms who are committed to doing their best.
Yeah, that’s right, you get major points for just knowing how important your relationship is with your kids and wanting to build a loving and lasting relationship with them.
But what about all those times when you’re almost certain that you’re blowing it?
You know, those times you’re almost sure that you’re inflicting irreparable wounds on your child’s sense of self?
When you feel inadequate, hopeless and you think you’re failing big time?
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.
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?
(cue a whispering, secretive voice)
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent!
There’s no such thing as getting it right all the time!
I know, you’ve heard that one before.
And maybe you’re like me, and you remind yourself of the fact all the time (like when I drop the ball).
But even though it makes perfect sense (no pun intended), you don’t always believe it.
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 completely transformed the way I see myself and my role as a mother.
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.
In fact, being a good enough mom is actually good for your kids, and here’s why.
There’s no such thing as perfection.
It simply doesn’t exist.
So, when we mess up,
when we lose our cool,
when we say, or do things that we regret,
we are actually giving our kids the opportunity to experience the reality of an imperfect world… through our imperfections.
Because you are the window for your kids into the real world.
Everything they know, understand and believe about the world, and their place in it, comes from you.
So, when your child encounters your imperfections, it’s actually a golden opportunity for them to encounter another important truth: That they too are imperfect and it’s okay.
But in order to turn your mommy-meltdown in to an opportunity for growth and development for your kids, you need to repair the relationship that was ruptured in the wake of your meltdown or your emotional absence.
Because when mommy loses it, or fails in some way,
when mommy reveals the hard-truth that she is not perfect, the child discovers that his world isn’t what he thought it was and he feels scared and unsure.
And unless we make sense of it for them, unless we guide them to understand the unfolding reality, they will be left with strong, unresolved feelings of confusion and insecurity.
So in order to make the most of your imperfections, to transform what seems like a dark cloud in to a warm ray of light which nourishes your child’s growth and development, you need help your kids make sense of this unfolding reality of imperfection and reassure them that even though we are all imperfect, we are all okay.
And that starts with you.
It starts with your understanding and acceptance of the reality of an imperfect world, an imperfect you, and celebrating that being a good enough mother, is, well, great!
Because it means that in spite of your imperfections, you are making a conscious effort to meet your children’s needs most of the time, and at the end of the day, if you try,
if you think about your relationship with your kids and how you can improve your understanding and communication with them, then you can rest assured that your children will not be perfect (because who is!?) but they will grow up knowing that they are valuable because they have a parent who is attentive, sensitive and responsive to their individual experiences, even if you only get it right most of the time.
Want to learn what every parent needs to know to stay calm and raise kids who thrive?