Parents are liable to pursue perfection, in themselves as much as in their offspring. But in a 1953 BBC radio lecture, Donald Winnicott, a distinguished paediatrician, psychoanalyst and broadcaster, popularised the idea of ‘the good enough mother’. Winnicott tried to reassure women that they did not have to be perfect parents. He wrote about how ordinary mothers would feel not only love, but also moments of hate towards their babies. He wanted to do justice to the complex chemistry of emotion between mother and baby, and to recognise the vital importance of their relationship: a relationship that was good, not only for mother and baby, but for a democratic society.