Introducing the good-enough-granny

Donald Woods Winnicott formulated one of the most powerful and comforting
ideas in 20th century psychology – that of the ‘good-enough-mother’ – one
who doesn’t have to be perfect but creates a secure environment by
responding appropriately to the needs of her child. This idea captivated me
a great deal when I was practicing as an educational psychologist at the end
of the 90s, dealing daily with families who often messed up their kids by
‘trying too hard’. After our own kids left home and our eldest presented us
with the first of the next generation, I discovered a whole new persona –
one that hardly had to try at all! Being a granny is the best (as every
grandparent will tell you) – even if the reality of life (we live 6,000
miles away from our grandchildren) means that I am not actually the best
granny on the planet – to be honest, the other granny who lives just as far
away beats me hands down when it comes to being child-friendly. But I am ok
with that. I love the status. I love breaking the stereotypes (yes, Grandpa
really sold his car to buy a motorbike so he can take Granny out on
weekends.) I am not ready for the frail care…. but I would like to be
shocking and wear purple. I learned to ski on my 50th birthday – I am saving
parachuting for my 70th when I can’t do much else. This is NOT as good as it
gets (I am definitely holding out for more) but it’s good-enough for now.

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