I found myself replying to a friend (who had declared themself fed up with reading “mums advice” from “people who think they know it all and that they are perfect”), with something that, on reflection, felt perhaps it may be helpful to also share here so here it is:
“Winnicott the shit out of parenthood. Relax, Be a gem…..a “good enough mother” or father or parent or however you identity (Winnicott coined that phrase in 1953 when primary caregivers were more often than not the child’s mother. Happily now things have moved on with co-parenting the norm).
Perfection means you send your child out into the world naked, without the protection of knowing adults make mistakes, things go wrong, that they (as a child) can speak up in response and be heard, that apologies can be made, soothing offered and, having learned that such moments of let down are possible / WILL happen, have learned too that, whilst such moments are horrible, they will pass, they are survivable, that they (the child) can survive it, survive disappointment and being let down and in so doing develop resilience, assertiveness, learn from you how sooth and thereby how to do it for themselves, to self-sooth, as well as developing “this is horrid and I will be able to get myself through it, I am a good, worthy and capable person and I have the support of friends and family when I need to call upon it” good self esteem xx”
I would add that, for me (and in the context of pretty much any relationship: friend, partner, child), the perfect relationship is one where the imperfections are handled well.
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