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Thursday, March 11, 2010

A good relationship with Annika is my "good enough"

Over the weekend I met with my Personal Renewal Group to discuss this month's topic: Good is good enough.

I hastily read the chapter the day before our meeting. It did not resonate with me in the slightest, so I skipped all the questions and journaling exercises. The author was talking about her perfectionist attitudes about always wanting more. Never being satisfied with what was already good in her life.

As I sat listening to my friends talk about how they were hard on themselves, I realized I had misinterpreted the chapter.

In the chapter, the author talks about how she was always wanting more, more, more. How she never felt like she had done enough for a client and always thought the next thing would make her life better.

I am not that much of a perfectionist, so I didn't think the chapter applied to me. I didn't get it.

What it was saying, as my lovely friends explained to me, was: My good is good enough. If something in my life that I have labeled as good, is good, then all is well with the world.

I realized I needed to define my good enough so that when I'm getting down on myself for not having things as I would like them, I have something to fall back on.

Right now my good enough is just having a good relationship with my child. I have other goals for the future, but right now my goal is to set a secure base for Annika as she grows up.

I forget that sometimes and I get irritated that I can't get other things done. Sometimes Annika wants sooo much attention, just sending a quick e-mail or cooking an easy dinner can be an hour-long task.

This week Annika has been sick and it's been like that times 100. The clinging toddler was really starting to get to me.

Then I remembered that I needed to look at what was good today, right now.

Right now I have a good relationship with my daughter. The reason I chose the path I'm on right now is because I wanted that.

My other goals are on my priority list, but I only have a set amount of time to build my daughter up, construct a good relationship with her, and give her a secure base to hold on to when she approaches the world on her own.

So we left the house, and instead of gritting my teeth, I sang a song, I made faces at her in the mirror. I took her to the park. We played and ate. And when she insisted that she did not want to leave the park even though she was bleary-eyed and yawning, instead of getting angry, I held her close and whispered in her ear as I walked quickly to the car. There have been way too many screaming and struggling trips to the car lately.

So what's my good enough? It's always changing. I realize that. But for right now, today and tomorrow and then next couple of years, my good enough is to have a thriving and healthy relationship with my daughter. It's hard for me because I didn't/don't have that. I don't have a good model. So I need constant reminders and I have to read a lot of books to help me along this path.

As she gets older and more independent, I'll have time for other things.

But for now, that's my good enough. The rest of the world can wait. Every day when I get up and I spend time with Annika I remind myself that I'm doing this for a reason.

What's your good enough?


  1. Did I ever tell you about the movie "How to cook your life?" When you are chopping the onions chop the onions. When you are washing the dishes, wash the dishes. Do not think about what else needs to be done or how long it is taking. There is a peace in concentrating on the task at hand.
    My good enough is that I am raising my kids the best way I know how. And while I am raising them, I am raising them. I am not chastising myself for not losing the 10 lbs of baby weight, not fretting over my university degree that isn't being put to use, or any of the other million things I could feel like were passing me by while I am mommy. I think you are right. Once you make a choice, you should stick with it, do your best and never look back.
    "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. " — Maya Angelou

  2. Hey Tareeshia, Yes, I remember talking about this movie. I agree that life is best enjoyed when you think about what you are doing instead of what needs to be done.

    I love that quote too. :)

    I like to break down even more and just think, "do better." Sometimes instead of trying to do our best if can just do better, that's enough.

    This makes me think of our dictionary days. :)

  3. Wow, what group is this??? I was going to say "great post," but now I'm going to say "great conversation," especially as I feel I'm joining in it, even if it's just in my head! I've been thinking about these ideas a lot, including how to cur my own damn perfectionist tendencies [really? you don't have these? that's awesome]now that I have a 10-month-old.

    Thanks for the terrific post!

  4. Hey Connie! You are welcome! Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    A PRG is a small group of women that form to go through the book: A Mother's Guide to Self Renewal, by Renee Trudeau. If you click on the links in the post that will get you to the website and the book on Amazon.

    I don't have perfectionist tendencies because I'm lazy and for the most part if I can get my own stuff done, the rest of the world be damned. I realize that this is an attitude that most women don't have. Honestly, sometimes it gets me in more trouble than it's worth. LOL


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