On Having It All Together
I don’t have it all together. Most days I feel so far from having it all together that the idea is laughable. And yet, my perfectionist self longs for just that and my pride longs for other people to think it.
You’ve all heard the anecdotes of parents explaining to their kids about giving your best effort and that’s all that counts. That kid who says, “But what if my best isn’t good enough?” That’s me. I can feel so defeated before I even start that I don’t try at all.
Needing to be perfect or trying to meet unrealistic personal expectations all to often keeps me from doing the good things I could be doing or, more likely, the simpler version of the grand vision in my head.
Let me tell you some more ways I don’t have it all together:
- Clean laundry often sits in laundry baskets for days because it’s such a drag to put it all away. (In reality it usually takes me about 10 minutes.)
- I dust when I notice surfaces changing colors. (Didn’t that lamp used to be black?)
- Our basement looks like the Room of Requirement/Room of Hidden Things. Seriously, it’s where things go and are never seen again.
- Speaking of the basement, I still have boxes (plural) from college to sort through. Uh, yeah, I graduated over 7 years ago.
- I have struggled for years to have consistent quiet times with God.
- I spend time reading blogs instead of working on my own.
- I cannot for the life of me accurately estimate how long it will take me to do something. I take my best guess, but I’m usually wrong. (Thankfully my husband is much, much better at this than I am. And I have improved slightly in some areas.)
- We bought an IKEA wall shelf years ago and it is still in its wrapping, leaning against the bookcase in the office, waiting to go up on the wall.
I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
God has granted me perspective over the years and this struggle does not have the grip on me it once had. I have been known to say, “Eh, good enough”—and not just when I’m frustrated. Sometimes I have to swallow back the perfectionism and realize that no one else will care or maybe even notice what I am trying so desperately to perfect.
At my first job out of college, my direct supervisor used to tell me to just do a good enough job and hope no one complains. If someone complains, then you can go back and fix it later. That drove me insane! I never did understand him.
Now I’ve been doing this mom thing for over a year, and I’m still trying to figure out a good system for balancing the unending to-do list while keeping my child alive and happy. Shouldn’t I have this on lock-down by now?
Sometimes I still struggle with wanting to be super mom and comparing myself to others who seem to have it all together. But the reality is that no one has it all together. You might think they do, but something you can’t see is getting the shaft or they have a virtual assistant or hire a cleaning service or something. We are all just humans. Flawed. Imperfect. In need of God’s grace.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, I’d be able to hire someone to clean my house for me. (Optimism, perfectionism, and procrastination can be a wicked combination, let me tell you.) I get in over my head and just want to quit. At the same time, some challenges loom so large that I don’t even know where to begin and I quit before I even start.
There are many wise women out there who have great ideas and lots of experience in kid-wrangling and running an efficient household. I am thankful for those who share their knowledge and experiences on the internets with newbies like me.
One of those women is Tsh Oxenreider of SimpleMom.net. Right now I am working my way slowly through her ebook, One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This ebook is great because it simultaneously compiles lots of tips and tricks for simplifying your life (thus giving you more time for the things that really matter) while breaking them up into manageable chunks and checklists. Checklists! Be still my compulsive heart.
So I’m making progress. Slowly figuring out a flexible system that works for me as head housekeeper and cook, bookkeeper, blogger, gardener, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Will I ever have it all together? Nope, but that’s okay.