No, I’m not about to tell you that you must try harder. In fact, quite the opposite. I think most of us are trying far too hard, and that isn’t sustainable or healthy for us or our children.
There’s such a strong narrative of striving and self improvement in our culture that settling for just ‘good enough’ might seem a bit defeatist, or even dangerous when it comes to parenting.
Let me reframe this for you. Because being ‘good enough’ IS the ideal when it comes to raising psychologically well adjusted and resilient children. And trying to live up to an image of ‘perfect’ motherhood is the opposite and potentially very damaging, for you and for them.
The concept of ‘good enough’ parenting is derived from the work of Donald Winnicott, a paediatrician and psychoanalyst who first identified this term in 1953.
Winnicott was concerned about the rising influence of so called...
If we are to truly normalise rest, we have to stop shaming mothers for spending time apart from their children.
True rest is not hiding in the bathroom for 5 minutes peace.
True rest enables you to return to those you love feeling restored.
True rest allows you to return to yourself.
Don't hate me, but by the time you read this, I will have been on a mini retreat.
It's something I've done ever since Clem was quite small.
It always enables me to return as a restored, revitalised - and dare I say as someone who believes in 'good enough' - improved version of myself.
I've seen some powerful comments recently on normalising rest. Particularly after this year and a half of the additional stresses of a global pandemic.
But why is it that mothers in particular need permission to do this?
It’s partly because a capitalist society equates worth with productivity.
I've been thinking about why it is so difficult to be kind to ourselves.
I've come to the conclusion that one of the reasons is because we are on a never-ending self improvement treadmill.
There’s a large part of most of us that thinks we should do better, be better people, become better parents.
In that context, being kind to yourself can feel deeply uncomfortable.
It’s like you are slacking off.
You feel like if you ceased to - do all the things, listen to all the podcasts, read all the books, try all the strategies, attend all the programmes - you would have no chance of being that better person.
So you continue to think ‘must try harder’ and ‘could do better’ which are actually subtle - or not so subtle - manifestations of your inner critic.
And yet, interestingly, research (Breines & Chen, 2012) shows that self compassion actually increases motivation
* to make amends when you’ve done something wrong
* to keep trying following an...