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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.
Then and there, Rene decided she wanted to pull back the curtain and expose the myths about modern motherhood; it’s both terribly rewarding and ridiculously stressful, exhilarating and exhausting, fun and frustrating. She now spends her time running www.goodenoughmother.com, a leading community for moms who understand the challenges of kids who think they know everything but won’t eat anything, neighbors for whom failure is not an option and mothers-in-law who just KNOW you’re doing it wrong.
Good Enough Mother at its core is not about being a lazy parent. It is about doing your best and understanding your best will have to do! Rene was fed up watching women self-flagellate over the most innocuous of mistakes, running themselves ragged trying to keep up with society’s perception of what makes a good mother. Of course the people short changed in this were the kids, and themselves. Rene, AKA, the head GEM, wants women to understand how to separate what they should really worry about from what should wash off in the shower.
Years ago, when Rene’s children were young, her son developed a love of all things camouflage. Every morning, he would wriggle out of the camouflage sheets on the bed and hop into camouflage shorts with a matching camouflage t-shirt. He would eat breakfast, while Rene packed his lunch in, you guessed it, a camouflage lunchbox. There were people who questioned why but Rene never did. You see, she understood, even early on, that Cole’s love of camouflage has nothing to do with her parenting skills and everything to do with his fashion sense. She felt it was important for her son to exercise a bit of control over his own life and his wardrobe was a harmless place for him to do that. To this day, as long as it is age and weather appropriate GEM says little about her kids’ clothes.
Sometimes the path of least resistance works well. Obviously this changes when there is potential for bodily harm, but outside of that, what’s wrong with breaking the rules every now and again? Has staying up past bedtime, every once in a while, really hurt kids? How about breakfast for dinner or desert before the main course? Not every night but once in a blue moon. Shaking things up a bit is good for them AND us.
Good Enough Mother® is not only about parenting for those for whom it really matters (kids, not neighbors, friends, mothers-in-law, etc) but also taking time for us. It is not a crime to put you first once in a while. How on earth can you take care of all of these people who came crashing into your life, if you are a mental, physical and emotional wreck? The answer is you cannot.
Rene is “the leading expert in the non-expert movement” and since the publication of her book Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting, she speaks extensively on, and is often sought after, as a commentator on motherhood issues. She lives in Westchester, New York with her husband and two children. Though she loves them dearly, she regularly tries to ditch them all in order to spend quality time by herself. For that she offers no apology.