“Perfect parents don’t exist, but good enough parents do,” experts say
Reminder: “A good enough parent loves her kids but also has a space to hate them. And most especially, she is human and real.”
Parenting is the one arena in which people are pressured to be perfect. Parents are expected to give their children the perfect home, the perfect childhood, the perfect school. And it’s hard to blame society.
After all we all want the best things for our children.
However, this perfectionist mindset can actually harm both parents and children—because there is no such thing as a "perfect parent."
But you can be a good enough parent, which experts say is even better.
According to pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, who had worked with thousands of mothers and babies in the 1950’s, a good enough parent provides both physical and emotional care and security for your child.
A perfect parent makes sacrifices, fails, and learns from their mistakes.
“What encompasses a good enough mother seems to be someone who tries again despite failure—just like all those inspirational memes that flood your Facebook feed every day,” said Sarah Ramsden in her Huffpost Parents story.
The image Donald Winnicott paints isn’t that of a flawless goddess, but more like a weathered warrior.
“She tends her kids with care, effort, patience and love,” Lani Lane says in her Parent Herald story. “She loves her kids but also has a space to hate them. And most especially, she is human and real.”
Parents, particularly moms, should then aim to become good enough parent instead of going to extreme lengths trying to be perfect and fail.
“A good enough mom loves her kids, takes care of them and is trying her best. She tries to find joy in the little things, and keeps going,” says Elisabeth Wilkins, editor of Empowering Parents.
“And you know what? I’m lucky to know a lot of good enough moms, and I’ve found them to be loyal, funny and strong.
“We’re not perfect, and we’re not trying to be.
“We know that parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, and we still show up every day anyway. We may not like our kids’ behavior all the time, but we love them—even when they are at their most unlovable.