The Good Enough Parent

Leighya Richard, licensed psychotherapist specializing in Women's Mental Wellness and Perinatal Mental Health

Good Enough Parent

I am going to reference being a mom throughout this blog but this can apply to multiple situations including work, family of orgin as romantic relationships or even friendship. 

With that disclaimer out the way. Let’s get into one of our greatest fears; doing something to traumatize our child and because we did that thing we are a bad mom. Can I let you in on a secret? Even if you do everything right there is probably something that you will do that will scar your child. Take it from me a trauma therapist, I have folx in my office every week discussing things their parents have said or done that are seemingly benign to anyone else but really impacted him/her in a negative way.  So are the sessions focused on blaming the parents? No, not at all. Are we holding them accountable for their actions? Yes. Are we also recognizing that parents although they seem like superheroes when we are children, they too, are humans and they f up.  Can we all let out a collective sigh and drop your shoulders? Many people are trying to run as far as possible from being like their parents as they remember how they felt and how they are still effected. Add that to the fact that our brain is geared towards potential threats and negativity; here in lies the recipe for Perfectionism especially when it comes to parenting. Here are 3 ways to go from the perfect and exhausted Mama to the good enough and flexible parent.

Self Compassion- Showing kindness to oneself as well as acknowledging our flaws and shortcomings as humans. We are very good at giving others the benefit of the doubt yet when it comes to us we believe we should be the exception to the rule. One way to address this is asking yourself if your good friend was stressed about the night time routine (insert problem you are beating yourself up about) being late; how would you comfort them? I really want you to embody this so starting with body positioning, facial expression, as well as other nonverbal you would use to indicate its ok to make mistakes. Look yourself in the mirror while doing this for an enhanced effect. This practice is two fold 1 )you are speaking to the logical mind through the words 2) you are appealing to your emotional mind through the somatics and the feeling. Of course this will take some practice yet offering yourself some grace and compassion will yield a better result than defaulting to the critic.

Support System- Along the theme of treating yourself like your best friend- shared connection over a similar experience can lessen the demand to be the “Perfect Parent”. Let’s be honest the positive aspects of parenthood are glorified. Yes it is amazing and rewarding as well as being draining and stressful. Having that shared experience validates you and normalizes what is going on. Bonus: You may learn some “cheat codes” to maintain your sanity while raising children. 

Focus on your Strengths- When we value everything, we essentially value nothing.  In our quest to be an amazing parent we want to do all the things. Although the sentiment is nice, we are setting ourselves for failure at the start.  Identify maybe 3-4 things as a parent that are your core standards and non negotiable. Seek to aspire to these values daily. For example, if one values creativity find ways to explore that each day on top of meeting the safety, emotional and physical needs. I guarantee if you narrow down your focus: your confidence will grow and you will feel competent as a parent. Isn’t that the goal?

If you feel you need some additional support  or guidance with any of the above steps reach out for an initial consultation. Let’s lean into the “Good Enough” which will lead you to being best parent for your child.

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