On Being a “Good Enough” Parent
I wish my new-mommy-self had been familiar with the philosophy of the “good enough” mother. Donald Winnicott, a British psychoanalyst coined the term in the 1950′s while studying the interactions of mothers and their infants. He believed mothers did not need to be perfectly attuned to the needs of their child but just “ordinarily devoted” or “good enough”. He explained such a mother strives to protect her child from overwhelming extremes of discomfort or distress.
“Good enough” goes beyond mediocrity. It involves making rational choices when faced with challenges and then striving for improvement. It does not include the compulsive behavior that results when driven toward an illusion of perfection.
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