6 thoughts on “The Gift of the Good Enough Mother

  • September 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Amen! One of the essay topics on the Common Application for college is to describe a failure that you have experienced and how you handled it. Luckily my daughter has a number of these to choose from. Some, but not all, are thanks to me!

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  • September 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I loved this, Carla. My mom told me that a great therapist gave her the “good enough” advice back in the 70s (or maybe it was 80s). Either way–it stuck with her and I have always liked it too. And not as a way to ask “forgiveness” for imperfection. I think she and I both got/get it in the way you’re intending, too.

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  • May 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Yeah….so well put!

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  • December 27, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Winicott’s theory is so very good. The only place where I personally feel it falls short is in the timing and definition of what exactly is meant by ‘good enough’. During infancy, a mother must strive to meet her infant’s needs consistently. An infant cannot bear much failure on the mother’s part. After the first year, what he terms the mother’s small failures in meeting the child’s needs are learning experiences that are important in keeping him/her from remaining the center of his/her own universe. So, as I see it, there are 2 phases to development which are equally important. The ‘good enough’ of the helpless infant is a bit more demanding than the ‘good enough’ needed by the toddler. And this coincides with his theory of the mother gradually failing to meet the chld’s needs as closely.

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  • September 1, 2018 at 12:19 am

    This article makes me want to shout for joy and do the hula dance if I could! YES! Well done!

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  • March 30, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for this article. I had read Winnocott’s theory in grad school. I had hoped I could offer my pregnant daughter-in-law something other than the underlined and starred pages from the textbook I had kept all these years later ! Your article was perfect, and it introduced me to PsychCentral which I had not been aware of before. Heatfelt thanks again.

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