I was able to find some solace in little paperback I’ve been reading called “Good Enough Mothering,” by Elaine Heffner, a psychotherapist and parent educator in New York City and senior lecturer of education in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her blog is full of answers.
“I see mothers trying to be perfect. ‘Good enough’ doesn’t feel good enough. How did that happen?” Heffner writes. “Perhaps, deep down inside we all wish life could have been perfect for us as children, and so we are too ready to agree with our children that we should be able to make life perfect for them. But we can’t — and that makes us feel guilty.”
I am pretty certain that the day I first became a parent, along with those magical mommy instincts that hit my system like a freight train, came a bigger freight train, loaded with guilt.
“Feeling guilty seems to be a normal condition of motherhood. So let me assure you that feeling guilty does not mean you are guilty,” Heffner writes. “Those feelings do not mean you are not doing a good enough job.”
I wish I could have gotten this woman on the phone because I suspect I could talk to her all day. I know I’m gonna have to sit down and finish her book.
Although, I admit, seeing all the books out there on how to do what’s “right” as a parent can make us feel like the ways to do something “wrong” have us beaten before we start.