You may have heard the term “good enough” parenting before, but it’s not always clear what it actually means. And, good enough when we are feeling strong, healthy and in control can look and feel very different from good enough when we are feeling exhausted, stressed or anxious.
“Good enough” parenting recognises the fact that being a parent is an incredibly challenging (though often very rewarding) role and that no one is perfect and gets it right all the time.
It is an acknowledgement that most of us are doing our very best to be the loving, nurturing, secure parents that we know our children need. It is also an acknowledgement that we are only human and sometimes life, whether through illness, relationship difficulties, worry and stress about jobs and money, anxiety or depresses ion, etc. can leave us feeling depleted and really struggling to parent the way that we want.
This is when “good enough” really comes into play, and below are some things to consider when you find yourself in those really difficult parenting moments when you are not sure that you can do it.
Q Give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and let yourself feel your feelings. You aren’t the first parent to feel this way and you won’t be the last. Try to find some time for you—whether that is a bath, a chat on the phone with someone who makes you laugh or an early bed time with a good book
Q Take shortcuts. When you arrive home after a long day, launching into an evening routine of homework, dinner, baths and bedtime may seem insurmountable. Try to break it down in to what must be done, what should be done and what could be done. Set the kids up at the table to get on with some homework, while you chat to them and prepare a simple meal. It’s not for every night, but a simple picnic of sandwiches and fruit while snuggled on the couch might give everyone the break they need
Q Get cosy and cuddle. When you or your children are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, taking some time out for lots of cuddles and down time can make a difference. Making a nest on the couch, cuddling in and watching a movie can give you both lovely time with your children and a chance to relax and unwind
Q Go to Bed. Try to get as much sleep as you can—it makes such a difference to your energy and your ability to manage stress and to make healthy choices
Q Tomorrow is another day. If things didn’t go to plan today, take a deep breath, acknowledge what happened and know that you have another chance tomorrow.
This article was contributed by a member of Parenting Limerick. Parenting Limerick is a network of parenting and family support organisations. For more information on this and other topics go to www.loveparenting.ie.