Cagey shared out this fascinating entry the other day: Perfect: the thief of “good enough”. This is an excerpt:
When you let perfectionism get the best of you, you end up settling for less.
- If you can’t get a full work out at the gym, you won’t exercise at all.
- Because you don’t have the time or energy to scrub the kitchen counters to a spit shine, you’ll just let the day’s dishes pile up.
- Saving for a fully-funded emergency fund feels like it’ll take forever, so why even save your extra 50 bucks a month?
I thought about this entry all weekend. I thought about how proud I am in many areas for not letting perfection screw me up. My house really needed floors cleaned and vacuumed this weekend. I usually try to get that stuff done before family dinner on Sunday so my in-laws come over to a clean home. However, I really wanted to cook a big meal and take the kids to the beach bash so I decided I decided to ditch the floors and just pick up every room: Put toys and clothes where they belong, make beds, take clutter off shelves and counters. I didn’t even come close to perfection in my home this weekend, but it allowed me to also take my kids to the beach bash and also cook some amazing stuff for family dinner.
I weigh my options often for domestic chores and rarely, if ever, perfect anything. Dinner every night — something usually comes out of a can. Sometimes is also usually made fresh from scratch too, but something usually comes out of a can. My floorboards rarely get cleaned by my kitchen counters are almost always clear. Never perfection…but always “good enough.” My domestic life is at a good balance. I don’t always have the time to go to a pool and get swim stuff together and dedicated a huge chunk of my day to swimming – but I take the kids for a quick dip in the fountains which suffices. I may not have the supplies to do a big fancy craft project with the kids, but we sit down and color together for awhile in the afternoons. My motherhood and domestic balance is great…I don’t let the need for perfection rob me. I settle for “good enough” and satisfy more throughout the day than if I struggled for perfection in all my activities.
But exercise and diet? I feel like if I can’t go all out? I won’t do it at all. If I can’t get a full workout/run in – I don’t bother even putting on my shoes. If I can’t eat right the entire week? If I start cheating on Tuesday? I throw the rest of the week out the window and eat cake every night before bed. Struggling for perfection is the main reason why I never ever seem to be able to lose that weight I’m trying to lose. If I can’t do it right? I don’t even try.
There are other small areas in my life, maybe a little bit with savings, maybe a little bit with personal care, that I seem to think if I can only do a little, why bother at all? Mainly it’s the culprit in my exercise/diet life, but it’s something I’ve started thinking about in all areas. If my mind thinks about a task that I want to/need to do – but I think I can’t do that, I don’t have enough time or money – then is there a “good enough” alternative? Maybe I can’t find time for an hour workout, but maybe I could add an extra mile when I walk the dogs? So I ate cake on a Monday night, that doesn’t mean I should throw Tuesday out and eat McDonald’s for breakfast. The week may not end with a perfect food diary, but it will end with a good enough one. And I have never been a perfectionist. A control-freak? Yes. A perfectionist? No. Good Enough has always been Good Enough in many areas of my life. After reading that entry I realized it is the key to a lot of my domestic/maternal successes. So why not adopt it in the other areas?
Or are you okay with good enough? Have you found that sweet spot of contentment, where youâ€™re happy with the day trips to the zoo and museum even though a cruise to a tropical island is really your cup of tea?
I encourage you ‘to make time this weekend to tackle those projects or enjoy little blessings that come your way, even if your life is messy. Spend 10 minutes curled up with a novel when the kids are miraculously quiet. Clear those breakfast dishes and empty the dishwasher, even if you have to leave the kitchen floor unswept. Paint your toenails – your fingernails can wait another day.
I’m going to add an extra mile on a walk today. I’m going to eat well even though it’s a Tuesday and Monday’s food diary is covered with sugar and fat. The playroom, photographed above, will stay trashed. But I might make the kid’s beds. I’m going to try to read 10 pages of a book while the kids nap and I’m going to paint my toenails.