Raising a 'Good Enough' Baby

Sasha Brown-Worsham

All of the first-time parents out there striving to make a perfect baby and be perfect parents may want to think again, says Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker.

Trying to raise a perfect baby is futile, because, behavior-wise, babies are pretty craptastic. Howling, vomiting, projectile-shitting—kind of hard to shoot for perfection when you’re doing appalling things like these around the clock. Despite all the media hype about babies, they’re loud, dumb, and grimy to the touch, just one rung on the evolutionary ladder above a common marmoset. I’m speaking from my experience not only as a parent but as a pediatrician. 
And even though his piece is meant as satire, he is correct.

We are trying to be too perfect.

With my first child, I worried about everything. I kept her away from the television (like she never even saw one on) until she was 2, I vowed never to have her hear a raised voice and worked constantly to make sure everything that touched her lips was organic and fresh. I followed every rule to the letter and took classes with her from the time she was five weeks old.

By my second baby, my standards loosened. It is not that I care less about him, but more that I know "perfection" is impossible to achieve.

We all (well, most of us anyway) want the best for our children, but there are times when their needs conflict with our own or when "perfection" is too hard to achieve so at those time, it might be nice to settle for "good enough."

Is my baby warm and comfortable? Is my baby clean? Is my baby well-fed? If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, then you are probably doing just fine.

In 15 years, no one will know if your baby had the right teether or was breastfed or ate all organic. Not all children who get into ivy league schools were raised perfectly and not all children who drop out of high school were neglected or worse. Parenthood is a bit of a crap shoot and the parents who kill themselves to achieve perfection may soon find themselves left holding nothing in their own lives.

Do you ever think of relaxing your standards a bit?



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