Find Your Parenting Strength, and Be Mediocre at the Rest
Nov 03, 2020
You can’t do it all. You can’t home cook every meal, attend every sporting event, work a full-time job, read to your kids every night, teach them great manners, introduce them to next year’s vocab words, take them to museums, memorize facts about Greek mythology, and tell great stories.
We can only do so much as parents.
So let go of whatever picture you have of the perfect parent. Instead, figure out which aspects you are amazing at, and lean into those.
When you spend time “in your strengths,” you show up as the best version of yourself. You will be happier, more patient, and more relaxed when you are doing things you know you do well and that you enjoy.
Are you really good at telling stories but not so great at roasting chicken?
Are you funny but clueless about soccer and not super interested in learning?
Great at teaching but not so great at throwing birthday parties?
The most fun at taking your kids on adventures but not at all good at doing in-home crafts?
That’s okay. In fact, it’s great. Identify the aspects of parenting you are good at, and spend as much time as possible doing those things. As for the rest, be sure your children are getting their needs met, but cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to be the perfect parent. In fact, you shouldn’t even try to be the perfect parent. Be really good at what you are great at, and allow yourself to be mediocre at the rest.
We love the idea of the “good enough” parent. The phrase "the good enough mother” was coined by the British pediatrician and psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott in his seminal book Playing and Reality.
Winnicott’s revelation was that children actually benefit from their mothers’ failures. We’re obviously not talking about abuse and neglect here. The point is that trying to make your children’s life perfect does them a disservice. Instead, when they are allowed to experience and work their way through life’s inevitable ups and downs, they build resilience.
So, do yourself—and your kids—a favor and aim for “good enough.” And celebrate yourself for those aspects of parenting you enjoy.
What is the aspect of parenting you do best?
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