Good Enough is Just Fine
I wrote this eons ago, and it surprises me how much it still rings true today, when that preschooler is now a teenager and that newborn is almost there.
If you suffer from perfectionism, then you’ll know what I’m talking about here.
For about three weeks I’ve been staring at a chest of drawers that serves as our family’s craft cabinet. It’s totally disheveled — scrapbook paper rests under a baggie of googly eyes; Christmas ornaments are somehow tucked in amongst the stickers and glitter pens.
I need to go through it and put things in order. A few hours of shuffling and sorting, and the craft supplies would be organized and easy to find.
But I haven’t started the project because the ideal craft cabinet in my head would take an entire afternoon, and a constantly nursing newborn and two preschoolers in the house means I barely get five minutes to focus on anything.
I’ve put it off because if I can’t do it perfectly, I think it’s better not to touch it at all.
It’s ridiculous, really. When I write it out, I realize how childish this thinking is. But there it is… perfectionism freezing me from doing anything at all.
I’m sure none of you can relate, right?
When I let perfectionism get the best of me, I end up settling for less. If I can’t get a full workout at the gym, I just won’t exercise at all. Because I don’t have the time or energy to scrub the kitchen counters to a spit-shine, I often just let the day’s dishes pile up. I can’t really afford a full-scale organic garden in the backyard, so it feels pointless to even bother growing potted herbs from the kitchen window. Saving for a fully-funded emergency fund feels like it’ll take forever, so why even save an extra 50 bucks a month?
Last week my mother-in-law was in town, and she commented on how she almost never sewed when her kids were little because she could never find the time — until she started sewing 15 minutes at a time here and there, randomly throughout the day.
When she told me this, I was looking at my stacks of fabric and uncut patterns behind her. I knew she was right.
How about you? Are there things in your life you’re not enjoying because you can’t dedicate the time you wish you had? Do you have projects left undone, waiting until a perfect storm of time and money crosses your path?
Or do you want to be okay with good enough? Have you found a sweet spot of contentment, where you’re happy with a few hours at your favorite local coffee shop, even though a cruise to a tropical island sounds would be perfect?
I say let’s make time this week to tackle a project and enjoy the small blessings that come our way, even when life is messy.
Spend ten minutes 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.
Me? I’m going to add a few stitches to my daughter’s dress and organize a few craft supplies. I may only get to one drawer, and my son will probably spill lemonade down his pants as soon as I thread the sewing machine.
But that’s okay, because I’m doing something instead of waiting for perfection.
You May Also Like:
Get the weekly email called 5 Quick Things,
where Tsh shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)
You’ll also get an excerpt from her latest book, At Home in the World, a memoir about the school year her family backpacked around the world.