The Gift of a Good Enough Mother

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Do you feel like a good mum?  Direct question ehh! 

Most of the mums I speak with often share a fear that they’re not a good enough mum. They know that they’re trying their best and working damn hard to be a good mum. But deep down that have a fear that they’re not good enough.

  • “I feel guilty that I’m not able to pick my child up from school everyday”
  • “I let my child have too much screen time just to get some jobs done around the house”
  • “I let them eat too many treats”
  • “I’m juggling too much and sometimes stressed when I’m with them.”

You get it – the list goes on.  Most of us are holding unreasonable expectations on the kind of the mother that we should be.  And our culture fuels this fear. You’ve only got to see the amount of mum shaming that exists on social media to feel these unreasonable expectations! The truth is that too many of us are trying to be the perfect mum.  

But what if I told you that you’re a better mum for not being perfect?

What if I told you research shows that failing our children in manageable ways (not major ways like abuse or neglect) actually benefits them?  Rather than being a perfect mother, being a good enough mother is what they need.

The phrase “good enough mother” was first coined in 1953 by Donald Winnicott, a British pediatrician and psychoanalyst. Winnicott specialised in relationships between parents and children.  He observed thousands of babies and their mothers, and he discovered that babies and children actually benefit when their mothers fail them in these manageable ways. 

He believed that the way to be a good mother is to be a good enough mother. Children need their mum (or primary caretaker) to fail them in tolerable ways on a regular basis so they can learn to live in an imperfect world!  How amazing is that?!

By us NOT being perfect we help our children to thrive as they grow up.

So if you’re getting stuck in that unhelpful trap of trying to be a perfect mum I hope this insight helps.  

Remember you’re already a good enough mum.  You’re already enough.  

Image by shanghaistoneman from Pixabay


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