In the book Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting the author Renee Syler takes a look at how being a good-enough mum has become the new perfect for those of us who juggle raising children, working, keeping house and having some semblance of a personal life. I most definitely see myself as this kind of mum. I’m okay with pajama days, cereal at lunchtime sometimes, not sewing costumes and not baking. I give my girls lots of love and attention but I just am not a ‘super’ mum.

However, there are those days, where no matter what pep talk I give myself, I feel that I am not a good-enough mother. Today is one of those. My eldest went boating on a lake with a friend and her family and came home with horrible sun burn and felt quite ill last night. She had the shivers and felt dizzy as well as being terribly sore. And to top it all I was on a girls night out and got home to find her feeling so sick.

There the guilt starts. I should not have let her go knowing how easily my kids burn. I didn’t tell her often enough about how often to reapply sunscreen. Did she wear her rashie and use the sun screen? She did – but just didn’t reapply in the 4 hours they were in and out of the water and we live at high altitude so the sun is strong here.

No one ever warns you about how difficult this part of being a parent is. You have to let them go as they grow up but you still are responsible for keeping them safe from harm. I know it’s not really MY fault that she got burnt. I have nagged often enough about sun safety but the guilt remains. Luckily I still have a tub of sudacrem which, for those of you that don’t know it, is sold as a nappy rash cream but is the most wonderful antiseptic healing cream and she’s currently slathered in the stuff. Don’t know if I’ll let her go boating on a lake again though….. and I’m learning that the guilt will always be there.

What do you find difficult to deal with at times as your kids grow older and you have to let them go?

  1. I think that when a woman is blessed with a child she, at the same time is cursed with a feeling called ‘guilt’. No matter what we do we could find something to feel guilty about. My personal guilt is that my children were born very prematurely. I wish that I could have ‘baked’ them a little more and saved them from the suffering of the much needed medical attention they needed but as a result I don’t sweat the small stuff.

  2. Oh I so understand. I am so scared for my boys to become drivers. Have I told them enough times that they can’t text and drive? Drink and drive? Phone and drive? Race? How many times is enough? Did it sink in? Were they listening? And most importantly, do they BELIEVE me?

    You can only do what you can do. Believe me, you think YOU won’t forget the day of the sunburn? I’m guessing SHE will never forget it either. 🙂


    • Aaaarrrrrgggghhhh – don’t remind me that the driving issue will arrive. I am so dreading that one – only 3 years away now – oh crap. And you are right, I really don’t think she’ll forget the sunburn – I haven’t forgotten the sunburn I got around her age….. Thanks for your comment Jill

  3. In current parlance blaming myself for the actions of other’s is called “Doing a Number” on myself. Neglect is being with the person and not caring that they burn. Concern is caring without taking responsibility for the actions or outcome of actions (of the other person). It takes work to learn to separate what we do right from what our minds insist we are doing wrong.

  4. […] second etc. It doesn’t help that the kids are on summer vacation too and that I have the guilt of not ‘entertaining’ them all the time because all I want to do right now is build […]

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