8 May 2010

Good Enough

Is good enough, well, good enough?

In another life I was a perfectionist. In my career I set myself high standards. I met deadlines. I had a clean house and a tidy garden. I was in control.

Then I had children.

When you have children you can't be a perfectionist. They are actually quite selfish and demanding - who knew?! You are no longer in control of when you eat or sleep. Every time you think you've got a routine they change on you. The old switcheroo.

My house gets cleaned when I notice that it needs doing instead of every day or week. Is this good enough?

My husband is no longer the total focus of my life. Sometimes he isn't even second in my affections, especially in the evenings when I'm on my laptop. This isn't good enough.

I'm rubbish at keeping in touch with my friends, it can take me months to reply to emails. Again, not good enough.

Now to the big question. Am I a good enough mother?

I love my children more than life. I would do anything for them. Am I a natural mother? Am I maternal? I'd like to think so, but I constantly feel that I could do better.

Take food for example. Presley and Cash eat pretty well, but I often hide vegetables in sauces. Even so they don't always have their five-a-day. Sometimes I forget to offer them a drink. Presley won't drink milk from a cup so I give him Coco Pops and he swigs chocolate milk from the cereal bowl. Is this good enough? I think I could do better.

They watch some television. Not much, but more than I would like. I use CBeebies as a babysitter so I can cook their dinner while I drink a hot cup of tea in peace.

I do some cooking and craft activities with the boys, but nowhere near as much as I could. I'm not good with mess and am glad there is a craft table at playgroup. I do spend quite a bit of time just watching them play with their toys. I think it is important that they can amuse themselves and they are playing together more and more, but should I be doing more with them?

I don't take both of them to the park on my own as they both run in different directions, usually towards swinging swings. I feel like I'm letting them down because they were born so close together. I use the age gap as an excuse to stay at home sometimes.

Is this good enough? Am I a good enough mother? Andy thinks so. As far as we can tell, Presley and Cash think so. They are lovely little boys. They are happy, clean and healthy.

Why then am I so hard on myself?

I never think I am good enough, but every day I try to do better. Tomorrow is another day. Perhaps tomorrow I will think I'm good enough.


This post was written for the BMB carnival that is being held on Tuesday at A Place of My Own. All entries must have a song title as the post title. My title is 'Good Enough' by Dodgy.



  1. I think your no different to any other Mother/father out there.We all do the best of our ability but yet we seem to think everyone is doing better.We've set ourselves unachievable standards and expectations that we forget about just having fun.I think you should sit back and look at what you do and not what you don't.

  2. Aly, thank you, that's great advice. I'm too hard on myself. Fun is the new black in this house! :-)

  3. Everyone feels like this, even when they are doing things the kind of way that we would like to... I hope that makes sense!

    Basically even if you don't think you are doing a good enough job you are. Just be there for everyone and love them and that is enough.

    I hope ;)

  4. As far as I can tell we are all the same and if you aren't good enough then neither our we - love Dodgy by the way!

  5. Ah Sandy - we all think like this. Even Gina Ford's mother, on her deathbed, asked 'Was I a good mother? (I've been reading Good Mother, Bad Mother by Gina Ford - it explains a lot).

    You sound like you're doing everything right for your boys. They have a loving happy family. And the Coco Pops and milk slurping - right there with you.

  6. Was interested to read your post as I have been noting stuff down today to write a post and it is all about 'good enough' parenting and today was a revelation that my cleaning/ housekeeping could also be just good enough. I had never applied the phrase to anything other than parenting before but it works for everything. So expect a follow up post to this, I will give you a mention. Seems we were in the same head space today.

    You are definately a good enough parent. I remember when my son was born, and worrying if I played with him enough. I spoke to a HV about it and she replied that any parent who cared enough to question if they were good enough or were doing enough definately were and this has always stayed with me and offered comfort.

    Mich x

  7. I think most of the best learning that our kids do is the none directed kind. By providing them with a safe place to play, learn and explore you are doing the very best by them, in my opinion.

    Its one of the great blessings of two close together, you don't have to do as much entertaining as the parent of a single child would!

  8. There is no one way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.

  9. It sounds to me as if your best is more than good enough. I think all of us beat ourselves up for failing to live up to those perfect mother fantasies we all had before we were faced with the realities of parenting real children.

    I actually wrote a post a while ago with this exact same title, the only difference being that mine had a question mark at the end: http://singleparenthoodbygappy.blogspot.com/2010/03/good-enough.html
    I guess it's a subject close to a lot of our hearts.

  10. You know where i sit on this. All my posts (get confessing, we're doing our best etc) are on this topic. Good enough is soooo good enough, a lot of the time. And then pretty frequently we will surpass ourselves!


  11. I stay at home with my 2 quite often as well - and they have a bigger gap (28 months) so I don't have that excuse! We just like staying at home together and I find them easy to look after at home - plus I like that my kids don't expect an outing every day.

    You sounds like a great mum to me.

  12. I think the fact that you even worries shows you are good enough , the boys are young and it does get better as they get older.

    I still panic a little taken my kids out by myself but its better than last summer, i know now at almost 5 and 3 my eldest two will not run away and its just the 1 year old to run about with. Crafts will get less messier , and the kids entertain themselves more .

    I think we all worry , i never feel good enough for my kids .

  13. Mummy Pippa, I hope so too! I'm sure it is x

    Surprised Zoe, in that case we're all good enough :-)

    Deer Baby, thank you. I'm glad it's not just me with the Coco Pops!

    Mich, I look forward to reading your post. Sensible advice from your HV there x

    Geeky Mummy, it's good to hear that. I hadn't thought about having to entertain just one child! They are playing together more and more now :-)

  14. The Mad House, that's just lovely :-)

    Gappy, I've just read your post, it's fantastic. I too was a brilliant parent... before I had children!!

    Marketing to Milk, it's a recurring theme here too! :-)

    Solveig, thank you. Funnily enough it's me that needs an outing every day!

    Laura, I've been reading your blog for ages and you are a wonderful mum x

  15. I think we are all good enough when we are trying our best.

  16. I have changed from good enough to can I live with it - makes for a much more relaxed life since I can live with far more than I thought!

  17. Capital Mom, you're so right :-)

    Muddling Along Mummy, I like that. Yes, 'I can live with it' is my new housework mantra!


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