When I first became a mom, my friend Karen gave me Bruno Bettelheim’s book The Good Enough Parent. The concept originated, I believe, with D. W. Winnicott. The heart of the theory is that trying too hard as a parent just mucks things up for the child. Better to be “good enough” and let the child take credit for some of her development.
I embraced the concept of the good-enough parent. Where I have difficulty letting go, is with my writing. But is my desire to make a text perfect, really just a a tactic to keep from ever having to let it go?
Sixty-seven drafts of a poem will eventually see me through to completion. The same sort of obsessive revising with the novel…this is not going so well.
One of my on-going goals (articulated for myself in the last few months) is to be the parent my daughters need at 20, 20, and 14 as they move toward independence. To stop babying them. Along the same lines, I need to very clearly set a goal to let go of my novel.