I have to admit I’m a bit of an over thinker. My husband makes fun of me because at any point in time I have plans A,B, and C depending on the scenarios for the near and distant future. He is more of a let’s see how things go person and does not fully appreciate my need to plan and analyze. (I like to blame him for our oldest child being a bit of a worrier but perhaps she does get some of that from me too…)
At the end of the day, a week, year, or at milestones, I find myself analyzing what went well and often thinking of what I should have done differently. The truth is though, that as parents, most of the time we really are doing the best we can at that moment. Of course looking back there are things we would do differently but is that really realistic to beat ourselves up over? And yet I still do.
I was recently comforted by a training I went to for supporting parents in healthy attachments with their children. Unfortunately, as someone who has spent years working in child and family services and early intervention, I have a long list of the things I want to do “right” as a mom. I am well aware of the developmental stages and when my children need extra support. I cannot pretend to not know too much screen time is not good for them. Many days I do not meet my high standards for what I expect myself to do as a parent. In this training however, they talked about how research had shown if we can parent “good enough” thirty percent of the time, we can raise healthy, well adjusted and securely attached children. (You can read more about that here). This comes at a relief to me. Thirty percent is not so bad. I can do that!
Strangely enough, the recent 2018 Boston marathon and its unusual finish, it has left me thinking about my good enough parenting. See here for the .Unusual 2018 Boston marathon winner
The male winner was a Japanese businessman and second place female runner was a nurse who trained after her 12 hour shifts. This was her second marathon.
Essentially, they were ordinary people who did an extraordinary thing. I’m pretty sure that nurse went to the marathon planning to do her best, her “good enough.” She went home an elite athlete. I thought about what these two unusual winners had in common. This year was one of the worst yet in history for weather. Freezing rain. Athletes dropping out mid-race due to hypothermia. How did these two seemingly unprepared people make it? They both knew how to work hard. They both knew what it’s like not to give up when something is tough. To give it their best, no matter what.
Some days parenting feels tough. I can’t see the finish line and I think I’m not doing all that great. So I do the best I can for that day, that week, that stage. My hope is that the good enough moments will add up to an epic finish. One day I will be able to look back and be amazed at how we got to the end of this marathon.
There is always going to be bumps along the way, and many days I will feel unprepared. The good news is, we don’t need to be elite parents to do an incredible job. With a lot of love and a lot of perseverance, I think we are going to be OK.