I recently discovered Guilty Mum‘s brand new blog, which is based on the notion that most mums feel guilty about most things, most of the time. According to one of Guilty Mum’s posts from last month, the top ten reasons for feeling guilty include working/not working, going out/not going out, breastfeeding/not breastfeeding, sending your child to nursery/not sending… You get the picture, we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. But let’s face it, being a parent is tough and although we often complain about being judged by others, we are are own harshest judges. Remember before you had kids? Didn’t you judge that Mum in the supermarket, giving her toddler a chocolate bar just to shut him up? Or that Mum who let her daughter watch TV for over an hour while she chatted on the phone to you? Well, that’s you now, that is. Or maybe not, but my point is that whatever you may have thought you would do as a parent, now that you are one, it’s unlikely you completely measure up to your own high standards of parenthood. So, don’t we all feel a bit guilty then, for just not being perfect?

Well in 1953,¬†paediatrician¬†and psychoanalyst David Winnicot developed a theory called the ‘Good enough Mother.’ I could explain it here, or quote Winnicot himself, but instead I had a look around and found this article by Sheila Quirke (‘Mary Tyler Mom’), which covers it all much more eloquently than I ever could. To sum up, in Sheila’s words:

“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.”

So, in keeping with this theme, I have a challenge for you! List the top five reasons you’re less than perfect. Then – and here’s the hard part – list five reasons why you’re good enough. You can relate the first to the second but you don’t have to, it’s completely up to you. I’ll go first:

I’m not perfect because…

  1. I let Mushroom watch too much TV (more on this in a future post!)
  2. I let Mushroom eat chocolate and sweets occasionally
  3. Mr B and I are not always consistent with discipline
  4. I shower myself before getting Mushroom dressed. Every day. An Aunt commented on this and that’s when the guilt started
  5. If Mushroom cries in the night I bring him into our bed rather than settle him back to sleep, thus teaching him independence. I also cuddle him to sleep almost every night :-/

I’m good enough because…

  1. He doesn’t watch adverts (if I can help it) and I (usually) watch TV with him. Mr B says we don’t watch much TV at all (I’m not sure what his benchmark is though). We have learned a lot of Makaton sign language from watching CBeebies ‘Something Special’ together
  2. He eats much more fruit and veg and is really the least fussy toddler I know when it comes to food. He’ll try anything, even raw lemon (he told me that was ‘hot’! I think he wasn’t keen but he ate it anyway)
  3. Mushroom knows the rules, and when he’s ‘getting away’ with something. Perhaps that’s consistent enough
  4. He (usually) plays happily while I shower, which only takes 5-10 minutes (try telling that to pre-baby me!) and it means I can completely focus on him once I’m dressed. It also helps us get out of the house on time
  5. That’s somewhere between teaching independence and attachment parenting right? So either way I’m halfway ‘right’ (whatever that means). And it’s not every night…

Your turn! Either submit a comment via the box below, or write your own blog and either put the link in a comment, tweet or DM me so I can come over and comment on your blog! If you tweet, please tweet @Mushroomsmum (that’s me!) and @GuiltyMumUK too.