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These Days I Try to Strive for “Good Enough”

on February 22, 2012

I by no means have the answers to how to keep the machine that is my household well-oiled or expertly cleaned 100% of the time.  This morning, I woke early to get some grocery shopping in before taking my daughter to an early morning free kids movie.  I had to go to multiple stores and get gas, which put me with enough time to unload the groceries and dress and feed the kid before heading out.  I left all of the beds unmade, dishes in the sink, and laundry half finished.  I did feel a twinge of guilt that I didn’t have everything entirely together and that my house resembled a small wattage bomb going off in each room, but I knew spending time with my daughter and her grandpa were more important than making sure my house looked perfect before I left.

Striving for perfection has been an aim of mine my entire life—for some reason.  The need for things to be just so and done better than expected is not really something I learned.  I’ve been like this since I was a kid.  Just ask my mom about how organized my room was when I was younger.  It is definitely not something I picked up as an adult.  I have learned though, that there is a balance between things being clean and letting cleaning be the thing.  If my daughter’s stuffed animals are all lined up sleeping on a body pillow on her floor all week, what’s the harm?  If the laundry sits in the basket an extra day without getting put away, but I get some quality cuddle time in with one of my loves instead—the day goes on and is much better for the personal interaction than there being perfect order.

As a working mom (at least during the school year), mother of a preschooler, and taker on of many side projects library related, my brain is often full of the many things that need to get done on the work, professional, or home front.  In the recent past, this would overwhelm my memory to the point where I would start a project and get interrupted by other things often enough that I forgot what I was doing in the first place—until in a flash of panic it would come back to me.  Or I would go to the store and buy many things we could use but not the thing I went to the store to get to begin with.  My brain was full.  Overloaded.  Overtaxed.  There are only so many things you can juggle before all the balls get dropped—at least some of the time.

I knew I needed a change.  But how?  One thing that really helped was reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It is currently in paperback and not too expensive to snatch up.  The things that have stuck with me most about the book is about how to be happier in the life you currently have, to be true to yourself, and to give yourself a good platform to jump off from by focusing on the things that matter most in your life.  I plan to blog more about Gretchen and her wisdom at another time—but for now, I recommend going out and picking up the book!

To start my transformation, I knew I needed to do something to give myself a better plan to manage the daily and weekly responsibilities of life in general.  Also, very important to achieving my goals was to focus on the things that really matter—my family, the things that make me feel like me, and my professional aims.  This was a very lengthy process—and still ongoing—many of the steps I will talk about here with you.  Much of my zen these days has come from de-cluttering our life, setting goals and plans, keeping track of tasks better (mainly by not relying on the forest of post-it notes that used to litter my desk)), and doing the things that make me smile.

Don’t be fooled, I probably still clean way more than necessary—but I’ve definitely tried to take it down a notch.  Mainly, I have learned that sometimes good enough is better than perfect.  Allowing yourself to be good enough in some areas gives you the ability to truly enjoy or excel in others.


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