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Being A Good Enough Parent

Our children need us to embrace our imperfections and to model to them how to learn and grow through mistakes.

It’s vital to remind ourselves to be a ‘good enough’ parent, not a perfect parent.

This concept of the ‘good enough’ parent emerged from psychoanalyst Donald Witticott’s work and describes how good enough parents do not expect perfection from themselves or their children.

In a culture where mother guilt has become a legacy, it is time to lay down the emotional sticks that generations of mothers have beaten themselves with.

Our brains are hardwired to look for the negative, something that served our caveman ancestors well for survival.

However, in the modern world, this can keep us looping in negative patterns like ruminating in guilt and self-blame.

It’s essential that we transform these default patterns with a more compassionate inner voice because our inner voice will become the internalised voice of our child as they grow.

We can create a blame-free zone in our homes and in our hearts.

World peace begins with the way we talk to ourselves.

We must model to our children how to make repairs and to accept being fully human and imperfect beings.

Let’s open our hearts to a revolution in self-compassionate parenting.

We can learn to turn towards ourselves with warmth, rather than shunning our shadow parts like outcast orphans.

Every parent has experienced moments of acting in ways that are out of alignment with their heart values.

Motherhood is a journey that requires fierce self-compassion and grace to acknowledge we each do the best we can with the resources that we have. This is especially true for mothers healing from their own childhood trauma whilst raising growing humans.

As we evolve through conscious parenting and nervous system healing, we start to feel more in our bodies, which means we also open more to the sadness around what we didn’t know during pregnancy or the early years of parenting.

We must disentangle cultural blame, and rest in the grief in our hearts of wishing that every human had the ideal wiring in childhood. We cannot know what our culture does not teach us. It is also important to differentiate between default patterns of guilt and the healthy guilt of our conscience, as the latter allows us to feel the sadness of how our actions were out of alignment with our values, and to seek to grow and transform through that experience.

Expressing our mourning around past parenting moments is a vital part of healing.

Mourning has such a different quality than shame or default patterns of guilt and beating ourselves up. It allows us to stay connected to the feelings of sadness in our body and to hold ourselves with warmth, which enables our emotions and sensations to move through us.

Can we hold in our hearts the intergenerational wounds that have been handed down and how we are growing alongside our children and healing ourselves as we raise them? 

We all do the best we can with the resources that we have.

Understanding that we carry the cells of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers inside us helps us to create a little more space to hold ourselves with warmth and compassion for the times we were not anchored in our deepest values.

We learn that it is our responsibility to heal our nervous systems and transform inter-generational trauma wounds.

We have an innate capacity to heal and grow and our brains are ever changeable.

We can find safe spaces where we can borrow the calm nervous systems of trusted others and co-regulate to rewire our childhood patterns that weren’t ideal.

We must remind ourselves that we only need to be attuned 33 per cent of the time to our children’s needs to nurture secure attachment. The other 67 per cent is rupture and repair, when we reconnect with our children after the inevitable moments of misattunment and misunderstandings that arise within relationships.

A good enough parent:

·         Welcomes their child’s emotions whilst brining loving limits on behaviour.

·         Looks for the need beneath the behaviour seeking to be met.

·         Seeks to understand and to connect.

·         Holds themselves with gentleness for being fully human and trusts in the healing power of repairs with their child.

·         Keeps their hearts open with empathy and reflection as primary parenting tools.

·         Commits to re-parenting themselves to heal their childhood wounds and grow alongside their children.

The more we allow our emotions to flow through us, the more space and safety we open up inside to be a safe haven for our children.

Our children don’t need us to be perfect.

Perfectionism is contagious and spreads like wildfire down generations and is absorbed by osmosis.

It becomes like a prison of never feeling good enough and always looking outside yourself to find approval.

Embracing our imperfections is an essential legacy we must pass down to our children.

Our cracks are the places where the light enters.

Our children need us to keep showing up and to keep doing the best we can and embrace both the dark and light.

Committing to this inner work as a lifelong practice is the best gift we will ever give them and give the planet.

I am welcoming all parts of you with deep compassion and warmth.