Why done really is better than perfect
Done is better than perfect – I used to hate that saying so. It offended me, in the same way packet cake mix offends me. The thought that someone could actually think packet cake mix was an acceptable substitute for a homemade ‘from scratch’ cake. And that someone could settle for ‘done’ when it could be ‘perfect’…? Why would anyone be happy with settling? HOW could anyone accept THAT?
In my last post I talked about the goals I have for this year, and how I was a good girl and actually spent some time planning for the year ahead. Getting a plan together for what I’d IDEALLY like to get done with Wife-made this year. That post was just two weeks ago, folks. Isn’t it funny (NOT haha funny) how much can change in just two short weeks? I’m still learning, after 8 years, that nothing is ever IDEAL when you have kids (let alone four of them!).
I’m now coming to the end of three weeks of sickness in my household. That’s four kids and one husband sick. At the same time. Across weekends and through all three weeks of weekdays. That’s a lot of days of ‘sick’ when you’re the only viable human in the house. And it hasn’t just been a snotty nose, man-flu kind of sick. It’s been glandular fever levels of sick – fevers and shaking, extreme lethargy, vomits, tonsils the size of golf balls… Like I said, lots of sick.
All the while, I’ve had these darn self-imposed business deadlines looming over me, because for once I tried to be organised and plan ahead, and also because I’m trying very hard to make this thing I do actually be a business and not just a ‘hobby’. I have swung on the pendulum of emotions all the way from “I can do this! I’ll just stay up later and catch up! Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride!” to “I can’t do this, my life is so hard, why is it so easy for everyone else, what about meeeeeee, it isn’t fair, I’ve had enough…”. Will somebody please call the WAAAAAAAAAAmbulance?!
When week three of sick arrived I pretty much just stood at the door and waved good-bye to my plans. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu. Adieu, adieu, to that deadline and that deadline and that deadline. (If you’re imagining me singing this while wearing some kind of traditional Austrian outfit made from old curtains, we will be fast friends.) By then reality had come home to roost – 1 person against 5 sick people and a hand-made business is never gonna win a fight.
In saying that, I haven’t completely given up. Not at all. Every spare moment I have had I have been working, and my days have gone somewhat like this. Administer paracetamol. Sew something. Work on my website. Administer ibuprofen. Post on social media. Wipe a bottom. Work on a pattern. Feed a child. Pick up a paintbrush. Check a temperature. Order materials online. And so on and so forth.
It’s only taken me eight years of child rearing, but I’m starting to come to peace with the fact that for now, in the season I’m in, I’m just not going to be able to provide my children with the level of mothering I feel they deserve AND achieve all the business goals I have. Because kids and life like to throw curveballs. (So, it’s out with the kids! Haha! Juuuuuust kidding.) I’ve come to the conclusion that done is better than perfect.
No, instead I’m beginning to see that perfection is over-rated, and to be honest, completely unattainable. My idea of perfection wasn’t ever ACTUALLY perfect anyway, it just ticked the right number of boxes that MY brain deemed ‘acceptable enough’. I have a saying I like to use from time to time. “You don’t become a better mother the more kids you have, your standards just drop significantly”. And without reading too much into it, I think it’s true. I’ve realised, perhaps not just with more kids, but maybe also with age and experience, that there are actually more important things than perfection. And when you realise it’s just your own construct of perfection it’s even easier to let it go, let it go……. (what’s with all the singing?!) because the only person holding you to it, is you!
From now on I’m accepting done. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually better than perfect. Because holding myself to a unattainable level of perfection or accomplishment or achievement or whatever you want to call it, just isn’t healthy. Maybe one day when all my kids are at school and I’ve got a set time each day to pour into my business THEN I’ll be able to up my standards and expect more of myself, but for now, the standard is ‘done’. Because our sanity is more important. So if it means I’m just scraping over the line, at least I’m getting over the line! If my own deadlines aren’t met on time, but it’s done just a bit late, or perhaps not at all for now, well, in the season I’m in today, that’s A.O.K.
And that’s all I’ve been doing these last few weeks. The floors haven’t been cleaned for two weeks, but since we don’t eat off them I’m not too bothered. All the washing is going into the dryer instead of on the line because otherwise it won’t get hung up at all. My husband is making the bed. Oh wait. That doesn’t count cos he does that everyday haha! I DID clean the showers which felt like a HUGE achievement! And even though I’m posting this blog post on a Thursday, when all the research says Tuesday is better, and it’s not a tutorial or anything exciting like that which would be more appealing to my followers, and there’s no pretty picture to punctuate the text… I’m just going to do it and be happy with it. If I can make it to the end of the week with four happy and reasonably healthy kids, then I consider it a job WELL DONE. Not even just done! That’s a ten out of ten! I win the gold medal!
But I have to say, while the standards I’ve held myself to have definitely dropped, I will NEVER EVER EVER come around to packet cake mix 😉