"The good enough parent, in addition to being convinced that whatever his child does, he does it because at that moment he is convinced this is the best he can do, will also ask himself: "What in the world would make me act as my child acts at this moment? And if I felt forced to act this way, what would make me feel better about it?" – Bruno Bettleheim
Dawn got tagged to list three things she does well as a mom.
She stated there could be "No hemming and hawing, no excuses or defensive explanations. I tag myself and I tag any of y’all who want to play, too."
Here I go.
- I am very focused on my children’s feelings and inner lives. Having had my own so blatantly disregarded as a child and subsequently when I lost my first born to adoption, I am very sensitive to my sons feelings. Additionally, since they are males and their father is a man who struggled with feelings and emotions, I want my sons to be in tune with what they feel and find a way to express that and know that it is OKAY to feel and be angry and sad and happy and glad and so on. I don’t want them all tangled up inside or projecting or transferring or any of those other nasty psycho things. I want them to be equipped with the proper tools to express themselves.
- I encourage and support my children to pursue their interests – and allow them to quit if they change their minds. My oldest son has played soccer and quit after a few years. He has taken years of percussion instruction and recently told me he wants to quit and try something new. I allow them to explore the world and change course as they see fit (see feelings above). My own parents (and even my ex) would force them to "stick with things" and not allow them to quit. I dont understand this. My sons dont quit midstream or when things get hard. They quit when a year is over, a class is over, when they decided something wasn’t for them or when they find a new interest. I see nothing wrong with that. Furthermore, for me to not trust them and their own judgment, would teach them, in my opinion, to not trust themselves.
- I encourage my sons to care about others. Recently, I applied for a volunteer program at a Senior Center. My sons and I will go on weekends to this center and visit with seniors who have been forgotten or discarded by their own families (I know what that feels like). We will play board games, cards, clean rooms and generally socialize with seniors. My oldest son Nik (who is by nature an incredibly caring and sensitive child) thought it was such a great idea and is anxious to go visiting. I also just applied to be a Big Sister. While this has little impact to my sons, I do believe I, as a role model for them, am showing them the value of caring for and helping others. When I discussed it with my oldest son, he was quite interested and ended up saying "Wow, thats cool Mom. I hope you get matched with a Little soon".
I don’t feel that I do anything WRONG per se but I do feel there are things I could do better. However, I work hard at not beating myself up about it. I believe whole heartedly in Winnicotts "good enough mother". I am not smothering and always with them but I am there for their basic needs. Additionally, as they grow, I grow and have to adapt to their changing needs.
Where I feel I fail (but don’t stress too much about it) is that I am not a cookie baking, recipe following, crafty, Halloween costume making mom. At least not all the time. As a single, full time working mom, I cannot be all things to all people. I have accepted that.
I am a good mother. I know that. And while I am proud of that and can confidently state that it is bittersweet.
I would have been a good mother to my daughter too.