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Is "good enough" good enough?
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Andrew Adesman, MD posted:
I just read an interesting column on parenting in Newsweek by Julia Baird entitled "Lowering the Bar: When bad mothers give us hope". (http://www.newsweek.com/id/237526

The column raises the question of whether modern-day parents are expecting too much from -- and giving too much of -- themselves. Julia Baird writes: "Today, women no longer need to escape their families to work or be happy -- now they need to escape their own unrealistic expectations of what a good mother is". She continues: "Oddly, the more involved we are, the more guilty we have become".

Baird declares "Its true that the impossible idea of a perfect mother has become a tyranny, and that we refuse shortcuts our grandmothers yearned for. Now that we are allowed to be more than mothers, we wonder if we have the time to be anything but mothers if we are to be truly good".

I suspect this observation or opinion will resonate with some and offend others. What do you think: when it comes to parenting, is "good enough" good enough?
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Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
Good enough. That is a tough thing to accept and even tougher to do.

I tend to think "good enough" when giving up in the birthday party battles. (I gave that up when one of my kids was in preschool and her friend had a "bride" themed party as lavish as any wedding. Seriously.)

Good enough is buying the prepackaged salad for a child's lunch rather than convincing her that homemade salad is yummier. Good enough is realizing that family time doesn't mean going on some exotic or educational day trip every weekend.

But, then Sunday night comes and I wonder-did I do enough with the kids. Is it ok that they spent so much time with each other and not with me? Should I talk more or talk less?

Then there are all the questions that make you wonder if the children will be in therapy for life. Did I do good enough when dealing with custody issues? Do the kids see it as the right thing? Where is the line between hover and independence? Did I not volunteer in class enough?

I tend to feel comfortable with my mothering except when people tell me what a great mom I am. Then I think, they are just paying lip-service. There are those nights though when I feel nothing but mommy guilt or feeling like I SHOULD feel guilty for not doing x, y, or z.

I know there are no perfect mothers. But, most moms try...but where the perfect mom bar is changes all of the time. I do my best to be the perfect mom for that child at that moment-and try to realize that perfection is a long way away.

I wonder though about the other moms (and dads) in this community and elsewhere. Are you proud to be a "slacker mom" or are you totally a "Type-A Mom" or do you fall somewhere in between?
 
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Amelia_WebMD_Staff replied to Louise_WebMD_Staff's response:
I know that I definitely sway back and forth now from "Type-A" to "slacker mom" depending on the week and what we are served. My belief is that parenting is like anything else in life and should be taken in moderation.

The first few years of my daughters life I was a DEFINITE "Type-A" mother to the point where a chunk of my identity vanished. The mother-guilt feeling was overbearing and I thought of time for myself felt as almost selfish or undeserved. Finally, after being around other mothers, families and friends, some of which yelling obnoxiously, "Cut the cord already!!!" I found my happy medium.

Today, I can tell that my daughter is proud that she can accomplish new things on her own and that her mommy has a life and is no longer living through each breath she takes. I now give her the opportunity for independent decisions, yet continue to teach her through my own experiences.

I ask myself, "How awful would my child feel when she messes up if her mother never did?"

Mothers are only human and must do what we can. We can only learn from our mistakes and prized moments, and be there for our children for health and happiness!
 
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An_221910 replied to Amelia_WebMD_Staff's response:
I guess I go from type A mom to slacker mom also depending on what the issue and day of the week lol. I just try to do the best with what I have. I take tips on how to make things easier. I try not to keep on giving to much of myself working a full time job raising two kids switching from boy scouts, basket ball, football, play dates, and their own alone mommy time I think im doing the best I can and thats all we can do right? I do think though mothers of children under a certain age (I say mother because most times they are the primary caregiver) or even single parents should be paid more and not be able to work more than 25 hrs per week I know it may sound unrealistic, but I believe the biggest mistake alot of parents are making is not spending enough time with their children and running themselves raggid working so many hrs and the children just get whats left because without our jobs how do we take care of them? I think this is what the biggest problems are if we had more time to devote to being better parents we possibly could do alot better than the best with what we have.


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