Wednesday, 22 February 2012

When Your Best Is Just Not Good Enough

When once asked by one of my children what you should do if your best just isn't good enough, I replied that you should say bollocks to those who don't think you are good enough and carry on doing exactly what you're doing regardless.  Sage advice I thought and congratulated myself on my words of wisdom.

However, I have been contemplating whether or not this is actually right.  Is just doing your best really enough?  Or should we be honest enough about our limitations to see that sometimes we simply aren't good enough for the job in hand and concede defeat.  Should we take the pressure off ourselves and pass the challenge on to someone better equipped?

What about when the thing that you are doing is really important?  What about if it is a matter of life and death and your best attempts fall short?  If 'your best' really isn't good enough, how do you reconcile the fact that you are letting someone down or causing potential harm? Would it better to not try at all?

Suppose a plumber did his best, but still flooded your house?  Or an inexperienced, sleep deprived junior doctor nicked an artery during surgery?  Or a hairdresser, who in spite of trying her very best, managed to botch your cut and colour leaving you looking like a clown?  Does the fact that they 'did their best' really help the situation?

We live in a target and results led society.  Children are continually tested in schools, they are judged, they are  made to sit exams, they are expected to reach a minimum requirement by the end of their education.  If their best doesn't meet this criteria they are deemed to have failed.  In the workplace we are given targets which need to be met.  Pay rises, promotions or potential redundancies rely on these targets.  Like it or not, we are constantly put in situations where we have to perform.  Failure to do so, however hard we may have tried, is going to have repurcussions.

I think that this also applies to a certain extent to the art of parenting.  I define myself first and foremost as being a mother.  Motherhood takes precedent over all my other roles and I feel it is the most important thing I've ever done and will continue to do.  I try with every molecule of my being to make my children happy in all aspects of their lives.  I strive to be the one who can help them overcome all their obstacles.  I try to empower them to find the solutions to their problems.  I want to be the one who can fix anything that they need fixing.

Unfortunately, sometimes I can't 'fix' things.  Realistically, there will always be problems that are beyond my control.  It is human nature to feel somehow to blame if anything goes wrong, even if it is completely out of our control.  As a mother we have to juggle so many balls at once.  When one of those balls is dropped should we feel guilty or blame ourselves?  The logical side of me says no, of course we shouldn't, but the emotional side starts doubting my abilities and my worthiness of being a mother.  Maternal guilt is a powerful thing!

 The universe blessed me with five amazing, inspiring and incredible children.  I hope I'll be 'good enough' to allow them to realise their true potential.  I hope they'll grow up knowing how loved, adored and cherished they are, and how they really are the centre of my universe.  I hope they will learn from me, but make their own choices, forging their own path into the world.  And if there are some things that I can't fix for them myself...I will be honest enough to face up to my limitations and admit that I can't simply wave a magic wand and make everything better for them.  But I'll be resourceful enough to find someone better equipped who can help...and that's my promise to my babies!

Maybe it's admitting that we're sometimes 'not good enough' that makes us so much better than we think we are!


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