Part 4 - The good enough parenting

Updated: Mar 17

Welcome back to parenting series, part 4 where we will discuss an amazing concept called good enough parenting.


(A gentle reminder who might have just landed here, I have covered some ground already in part 1 and part 2 and part 3 that you might want to check first)



Now we "know" a lot of information from the previous posts; from child development to attachment theory and parenting styles.


We are ready to tackle all parenting problems and become the parent of the year!

Well, not exactly.


Knowing stuff is one thing and applying some of it to real life is another. We are aiming here for the latter.


I can hear you saying, "How do we do that?"


How do we figure out to use information for unique needs of your child?

How do we approach this challenging and joyful journey, how can we grow as a parent alongside our kid?


Great questions.



The good enough parent to the rescue

Being a parent... means asking a lot of questions, with getting minimal (if any...) answers.


Sometimes being a parent can also feel so overwhelming. A lot of times, actually.


When we become a parent, we have already carried so many other roles.

Daughter, scientist, immigrant, wife, mental health advocate, healthy eater and regular exerciser... to name a few for me.


Once I added the mother to my list, everything fall apart. I felt like lost. Sucked by quick sand truthfully. (Later I learned that there was actually a word for this phenomenon: The matrescence; the identity shift that women face as they become mothers.)


The Mother, I felt as if, was demanding all my time and energy from me. and I was failing miserably.



When we become a parent, especially mothers, we already have so many balls in the air. And society is not helping. Classic gender roles require mothers place to be home. No matter how egalitarian household you have built, you may have find yourself slipping to old gender roles when you have a baby.


No matter how much blessed you are with a supportive understanding partner, you may still find yourselves in THE MOTHER persona, unconsciously trying to be everything for everyone. A Marty.


How can we realize all these theories and make the best choices for our baby/kid everyday while keeping your marriage alive, staying healthy (not eating junk) , thriving on your career (or just surviving for a while)...


Tough one, huh?


And not matter how much and how hard we try, mother shaming is everywhere. Read my post on being a working mother here, to feel the heat. (I am sure every mother out there have their own version of this story. )


So what do we do? How do we become perfect parents?


We basically have to stop trying to become the BEST/PERFECT mother.

The good news is that there is not such thing being the BEST mother. That thing doesn't exist.


We can hopefully find some solace by embracing this revolutionary concept called the good enough parent.




What is good enough parenting and why it is so important?


The good enough parent concept is derived by D. W. Winnicott who describes specifically "good enough mother" as someone who is highly attuned and empathetic of her baby's needs and prioritizing and addressing needs of the infant.


If this sentence "The high attunement and empathetic care of the good enough mother" reminds you some concepts we discussed from Part 3 - Parenting psychoeducation / Attachment Theory and Parenting Styles . You are not imagining. You are indeed a good reader.


These are the characteristics of the good enough mother and necessary skills for building a secure attachment.


In his book, Good enough parent: A Book on Child-Rearing, Bruno Bettelheim also discuss the same concept.


I read this book as I was expecting my daughter and what stuck with me to this date is that Bettelheim did not give parents set of rules for raising children. On the contrary, he suggest that as parents we shall not look for continuous advice* & guidance from other people. He tries to make parents develop their own insights in order to attune to the child's unique needs and understand their children's behavior. (Talk about empowerment!)


He mentions that the most important resources for understanding your child is not your doctor, is not your mother, is not your friend, is not another mother, is not a book out there.


Basically, you have to stop looking for wisdom OUTSIDE.


Its already in you. You are the parent your child needs.