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When will I feel like a good mother?


Advice Q & A with Melissa Hughes

Perinatal Psychotherapist

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The Q

I have a one year old daughter and though I try to do the right thing by her, I am often left feeling that I could have done a better job. It’s little things like whether I have played the games he likes, interacted with him enough, read him enough books and fed him the right type of food for optimal development? Will these feelings ever end and will I feel like I am a good mother?

The A

I don’t know too many human beings who bring their A-game to the table when dealing with the sleep deprivation that comes with raising children under two. The good news is that as mothers, we do not have to operate at 100% efficiency to produce balanced and healthy children.

Research has proven time and again that we need only be a “good enough mother”. I love this concept and agree whole-heartedly that a mother who is willing and tries, but also gets things wrong is an asset rather than a hindrance in the parenting realm.

As parents we are required to teach our children about disappointment. The first time babies learn about disappointment is when they cry and they are not immediately attended too. It is ok. They will be ok. Unless we are not ok about their disappointment, and then children begin to model our discontent and anxiety.

Another concept that I work with clients on is the idea of infant-led play. This means that you wait and watch your child’s play and join with them. For instance, you may think that Lego blocks are for building, your child may have other ideas. Perhaps his idea with the Lego is to put it piece by piece into the umbrella stand. No less of a game, but perhaps not your first thought.

All in all, you are a Mother who is doing your best. Take the pressure off yourself and work on being just good enough.

Photo credit: Weliveyoung


Advice Q & A with Melissa Hughes. Ask Melissa a question.

Melissa is the Director of Baby and Beyond Parental Counselling. She specialises in prenatal and postnatal counselling: covering issues such as transition to parenting, successfully managing maternity leave, support through postnatal anxiety/depression, antenatal anxiety/depression and relationship issues. Melissa has lectured at Universities across Sydney and contributed as an expert in parenting and relationship articles as well as writing for magazines. Her work in group therapy for postnatal depression was recognised by the Centre for Leadership for Women in 2009 and she continues to facilitate groups on a weekly basis.


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