What is perfection?

Like many women, I was raised to believe that I could have it all. My parents told me I could be anything I wanted to be – accomplish great things – and be a wife, mother, sister, friend.

And I believed them.

I watched the younger moms in my neighborhood (including my Aunt Phyl, my across the street neighbor whose children I babysat for, and others) look happy and balanced with exciting careers and families. Honestly? It didn’t look all that hard.

Fine, I was young and naive. How could I have known?

So I grew up, went to college, and started working. I loved my job in advertising and quickly rose in the ranks. And in 1994 (wow, that’s a long time ago!), I was made a partner at Bozell Worldwide. I’d made it! The job was terrific, the people were amazing, and since it was just Andrew and me, it really wasn’t an issue that I worked 60 hour weeks and read trade pubs over the weekend.

In Fall, 1994, I was pregnant. How exciting! Now, I’d have the perfect career, a loving husband, and a cute little munchkin!

I toured daycare facilities and realized that I’d be happier with a nanny coming to the house. It’d be a breeze. So I started interviewing. While I was a little shocked and dismayed by some of the applicants, I found a young woman who seemed a perfect match. She started work when Davis was seven weeks old.

One day, I came home from work to nurse (I lived so close!) and found the nanny out back smoking while Davis was in his crib crying.

You can imagine my dismay.

My next hire was a dream. Jinn was wonderful, loving, sweet. (We’re still in touch! She rocks!) But, still, I cried like a baby when I came home one day and she told me that Davis’ first tooth was coming in. Why didn’t I know? It was so unfair that she made the discovery. And it was that day that I realized that I needed something to change. If I was going to be the mother I wanted to be, I could not be working long, long hours and traveling. So I gave notice and worked for months to make a smooth transition at the firm and then started my own business. The rest, as they say, is history. I have work that makes me happy and fulfilled, but I’m a mother first and foremost. Sure, my kids are teens now and the demands are very different. But I have built a world for myself where I can be their mom and feel great about it.

I just finished reading Good Enough Is the New Perfect by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple.

Oh, how I wish I could have read this years ago! I found real comfort (and did a lot of head-nodding) reading the first hand accounts of some really remarkable women – women who struggled with the same issues, the same struggles, the same frustrations that I did. What amazes me is how isolating it is to be in the throes of trying to balance (what is balance anyway!?). It feels as if no one has ever had to deal with such stress and angst. But it’s not the case!

Reading the stories in the book, I began to evaluate my current choices in a different way. Becky and Hollee talk about moms who think they are “never enough” or “good enough” and you know what? They’re right! They have

“discovered a paradigm shift in motherhood today: more and more mothers are losing their “never enough” attitude and embracing a Good Enough mindset to be happier, more confident and more successful. Filled with inspiring firsthand accounts from working mothers and drawn from the latest research, is a true roadmap for the incredible balancing act we call motherhood.”

So sure, I love research and love that it’s a big part of this book. But the reason I’m glad I read it and the reason my life will be enhanced is because I now know that I am good enough.

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4 thoughts on “What is perfection?

  1. Of course you are. And you didn’t need a book to tell you. Just look at your life and you. You are more than good enough btw.

    1. Mwah! It’s comforting and reassuring to know that the struggles and doubts I’ve had are not unique, though. I’m very happy with my choices and my life!

  2. Sounds like a great read! I also see this constantly in client work, reflected by the oft-repeated, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.” Everything’s a creative process, trying to find a way to balance. Probably the “perfection” idea is more destructive than constructive more often than not. Thanks for sharing and hope you’re up and around!

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