We have all heard that phrase “don’t be so hard on yourself”. This phrase is truly meant with good intentions, but lot of us act as our own judge, jury, and executioner. We try to be everything to everyone, and if we don’t measure up to our own self-imposed standards, we beat ourselves up. However, here is the thing, our kids need us to be “good enough," and not perfect. In fact, it is preferred.
The term “good enough mother” was created in 1953 by Donald Winnicott, who was a pediatrician and researched parenting practices. He found that children need (non-abusive) parental structure and repair to grow and develop appropriately. Normal, everyday slip ups (like the occasional raised voice) or cereal for dinner actually helps our children navigate in a world that is not perfect. A world where people are people with emotions, and boundaries. Children need to see that parents have limits too, and when they push these limits, we will redirect them in a safe and measured way. If your kids feel safe and loved, you are doing your job.
We have all have seen moms on social media who appear to have it all together. Bento boxes filled with quinoa and organic fruit, rompers and sunhats at the beach, and not a tear in sight. Although, we do not see what is behind the filter. Most of us are guilty of posting our best moments and leaving the worst ones as drafts. It takes considerable effort to be open and honest on social media about all the real-life moments. Moments when kids are cranky, and we need a break. However, those moments are far more important for your child’s development. They need the imperfect, beautifully flawed version of you, not the filtered social media supermom you want to be.
You know when you are on an airplane (when we used to do such things) and they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first? Let’s talk about why. Imagine you are attempting to put on your 3-year old’s oxygen mask, and you have not put on yours. The grim reality is that while they are squirming and screaming and scared, you have both run out of oxygen. The reality is Mom, putting on your oxygen mask will ensue you can wrangle a screaming toddler while breathing safely. This is the only way anyone will make it out alive. You must take care of yourself first. Period! I know you do not want to, and that you are “not supposed to”, but you need to. More importantly, your kids need you to. They also need you to forgive yourself when you hit Mom Guilt Bingo.
So Moms, we see you, we hear you, we are you. And you are good enough!
By: Cassi Whitney