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A “good enough” parent is good enough



Go easy on yourself

A “good enough” parent is good enough


Even though we’re all adjusting to various “new normals” of the Covid-19 Pandemic, it’s important for parents in particular to realize everyone is still living through a crisis. Crisis rules are different than non-crisis rules, at least in theory. For example, it’s more okay than ever to not sweat the small stuff, and the small stuff category is now much bigger.

Recognizing this is crucial, especially regarding parenting, because it allows all of us to cut ourselves some slack when we inevitably, and repeatedly, make mistakes or lose patience, responding badly to stress. No one is getting this exactly right, partly because no one knows what “exactly right” means.

Writer and editor Catherine Pearson notes how more than 50 million parents have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic, while millions of parents have left their jobs because it’s their “best” option. Those adverse situations, of course, are on top of life-or-death concerns about one’s own health, and the health – both physical and mental – of loved ones. And then there’s the uncertainty of how long we, as a collective, will be dealing with all of this. No one can give an answer on that.

READ MORE: The isolation of pandemic parenting is unprecedented

This is all very stressful, especially for someone tasked with raising a child. And all of it is transpiring against a backdrop of the most divisive election in recent memory and the pervasiveness of social media bringing us the Big, the Bad and the Ugly. The latter is inherently competitive and deceitful, leading parents to believe others have a better handle on things because that’s what their social media feed communicates.

Pearson has some good advice from psychologist Claire Nicogossian, clinical assistant professor at Brown University and author of Mama, You Are Enough: How to Create Calm, Joy and Confidence Within the Chaos of Motherhood – about how parents can go easier on themselves, in pandemic times and otherwise.

READ MORE: Coping, confidence, and coronavirus

When advising parents to go easy on themselves, Nicogossian uses this metaphor: If you were swimming in an ocean and knew there were sharks all around you, you wouldn’t pause and ask yourself: Am I good swimmer? Am I doing this right? You’d put your head down and swim. You’d do what you needed to do to stay safe.

Additionally, she advises to carve out five minutes a day to give undivided attention, and to be more contemplative about why certain things cause self-critical feelings. Ultimately, she strongly supports giving one’s self a pat on the back for any small victory. 



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