How can you tell if your parenting is good enough?

I was laughing with my husband tonight whilst discussing the daily parenting fails. It’s a regular occurrence. We buoy each other up after another less than perfect parenting day. For example today my eldest has gone to bed with a black eye (bouncy castle related injury) and a grazed elbow (he engaged legs before brain…) But both he and Pud’s went to bed smiling. For me as a parent that’s what counts.

The media is packed with unrealistic view of parenting. You know the ones. Beautiful pristine nurseries (always in bloody white, go figure!) Fantastic photos of families enjoying days out (no sign of whinging or ice cream covered clothes, shoes, ears…) Mum’s and Dads dressed in designer gear, no bags under their eyes or worry lines.  Not so the worlds portrayed by parent bloggers who can, in the search of humour, paint parenting in a light so unfavourable that it’s a surprise people pro-create at all. These honest and witty accounts provide a more realistic view of the highs and lows of parenthood. Although nothing can prepare you for the truth of raising a small human into a reasonable balanced adult. But how do you know if you are doing a good job?

johnhain / Pixabay

When professionals talk about ‘good enough parenting’ they mean you have met a child’s basic needs. Physically and emotionally they are cared for and safe. They aren’t insisting you take them to the zoo, chase them round soft play or shower them with presents. Children need to be loved and for you to be emotionally available to them. They need to be fed and watered (bit like a plant really) they need to be excercised, stimulated and put to bed. A child needs to be kept safe, clean and warm.

Clearly everyone has good and bad parenting days. Those times when everything comes together and great memories are made. Your confidence soars. Give yourself a mini fist bump, you have this parenting shizzle down. Next morning though, the clock has reset. What amazing parenting can you pull out of the bag today? Nope you got nothing have you? Because you can’t be A1 parent 24/7. There are too many variables that cannot be controlled. You’re tired, the kids are tired, the weathers bad and the mother of bad parenting days; you just don’t feel like parenting today! What you really want is to sit on the sofa and watch total shit on TV. No interruptions, no questions, just you and that remote. Don’t worry it doesn’t mean you are a crap parent, it just shows that sometimes we all want to get off the world for a while.

Wokandapix / Pixabay

We get so carried away with making everything perfect all the time. Trying to reach that elusive parenting dream, thrust upon us by advertising. We forget that it’s not the big gestures. It’s that cuddle, that story, that time spent together. Think back to your childhood memories. Was the first thing you thought about a material thing or was it time you spent with your parents?

Of course the days out are fun. As are those times when you provide children with new experiences. But what children want more than anything else is to feel loved and safe. To know that they can come to you, that you will be there for them. Not too busy to listen or too stressed to care. You know your parenting is good enough when that little person kisses you goodnight, snuggles down into his bed and whispers I love you, you are my best friend.

32 thoughts on “How can you tell if your parenting is good enough?

  1. Aww: “I love you, you are my best friend” – I can’t wait until the Popple is old enough to say something like that to me. I often worry about whether or not my parenting is good enough – I suspect I probably fall short most days – but I’m trying my best, which is all I can do. It’s all any of us can do. #EatSleepBlogRT
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Little girls aren’t princessesMy Profile

  2. Such a great post. We really are so hard on ourselves these days especially with so much pressure from external influences such as social media. I am still trying to work on lettin go of the guilt and seeing the positives – the things I have done rather than those I haven’t. Thank you for hosting x #EastSleepBlogRt
    Rebecca Taylor recently posted…Remembering Grandad Two Years On…My Profile

  3. Yes, yes, yes. Love this! No such thing as the perfect parent, just the good enough parent. I have two very tired but happy kids in bed right now. We went to the beach, and they just had fun digging in the sand and jumping in the sea. Then we were naughty and had pizza at the beach too. Pizza that is unhealthy, came from the takeaway and was covered from sand on the beach. They loved it though and have have gone to bed, tired, happy and talking about their amazing picnic tea 🙂 #EatSleepBlogRt
    islandliving365 recently posted…We have a shop!My Profile

  4. I absolutely love this post! It’s completely spot-on! Everyone is allowed down days or find it tough… Parenting is the hardest Job in the world and the media are terrible out for training real life!
    Sorry to hear little man has some bumps and scrapes today, but as you said they both went to bed smiling and that’s all you can ant.
    High-five to you and all the other parents in the world doing the best you can! You are all fantastic! 🙂 xxx

  5. Wow!! It’s like reading my brain!!! So tough on ourselves so much if the time!! Love those days when I feel like I have achieved so much but then to be struck down the next with what sometimes feels like failure but is far from it! 😀 This is a fantastic post!!

  6. I don’t think as parents we ever feel like we’re doing a good enough job! Isn’t that just a part of parenting though? Like you said, as long as my boys go to bed happy that’s good enough for me! #EatSleepBlogRT

  7. Its nice hearing this from a pro! I am always so guilty if I am providing enough for my son or if I am a good parent especially now that my marriage is breaking. More than anything I am always thinking of my son and I do hope that I am a good parent. #EatSleepBlogRT
    Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope) recently posted…Third WheelMy Profile

  8. I feel like my husband and I were having this conversation just last night! About how our boy is sleeping on the mattress on the floor because it took us a few weeks to pick out a toddler bed and insisted on not sleeping in his crib. If I tell someone that they look at me like I’m a terrible parent. Personally I think he’s happy and safe. I think we have to remind ourselves that we are just doing the best we can. #eatsleepblogRT
    Sarah@teammomlife recently posted…#MySundayPhoto August 14thMy Profile

  9. Such a meaningful post, truly. Parenting, like life, is just no perfect but that doesn’t mean you can’t have perfect moments for of wonderfully imperfect love. #EatSleepBlogRepeat

  10. Ah I needed this today – my daughter was very difficult this afternoon and it felt like we ended up not liking each other very much. But you’ve helped me see the big cuddle and kiss she gave me as I tucked her in is what she’ll remember. #EastSleepBlogRT
    Suzanne recently posted…When parenting gets weird…My Profile

  11. so lovely! I think we need reminders like this that this job is challenging, and we can’t always be perfec.t There’s so much pressure in our society to do everything right, but the main thing is that our kids love us. #ablogginggoodtime

  12. Fab post! I’m not really worried about what other people think of my parenting or what the media says, but then my daughter is 5 now so I think I’ve proved that I’m a good mum! When you have babies though it’s another story, you constantly worry about what you’re doing. I agree that as long as your child is safe and happy you’re doing a great job. #ablogginggoodtime

  13. From being about 15 my big one has been keen to tell me how awful I am. What kind of awful parent doesn’t let he child camp out in the middle of nowhere with friends? What kind of awful parent insists on bedtime and mealtimes? Somehow, when I am “constantly ruining” his life I take comfort in what a good parent I am. It is a tough role. All we can do is our best in any given moment. #ablogginggoodtime

  14. wrote something similar recently. I think that comparisons and social media in general can be good if they are making us try harder, but more often than not it just makes us beat ourselves up. We are all doing the best we can, somedays thats going to have to be good enough
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Show Me The MoneyMy Profile

  15. Yes this is so very true. The media have a lot to answer for putting pressure on Pinterest perfecting parenting and guilting us into cherishing every moment, when really some moments are not to be cherished. The important thing to remember is like you say, make sure they feel loved and safe. Give them your time as best you can and you’ll be doing just fine. Xx #abloggingoodtime
    Tammymum recently posted…#whatwouldyoudo? Holidaying without your kids. To leave or not leave?My Profile

  16. There is no perfect parenting but there certainly is good parenting and I completely agree with you that happy children and for them to know that our love is unconditional is definitely a sign we are doing our job right. We love them and they love us and we will do anything in our power to make them feel loved and happy #ablogginggoodtime

  17. I really love this, Zoe. Such an important message for us all to remember. Sometimes I feel bad that I’m not doing more crafty, sensory play things with my son… but honestly he’s happy as a pig in shit pottering about playing with toys with me occasionally singing nursery rhymes to him 😂 My memories from being a kid are mainly of happy family meals together, reading books together and holidays (that we took once a year) – all things I already do. We never had loads of days out or Pinterest activities but I was still bloody happy!!
    Ellen recently posted…The Battle of the NapMy Profile

  18. I regularly question if I am good enough, especially for my son who has severe learning disabilities and can’t really tell me if he’s happy or not. It’s tough but I think as long as everyone is fed, smiling (occasionally) and giving lots of hugs then all is well 🙂 A xx

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