I was speaking to a women’s group about leading a healthy life when having balance came up in the conversation. One of the women mentioned that she was struggling to get everything done and do it perfectly.
Yeah, you know I jumped all over that one! Let’s face it: Trying to live up to the P-word can be a no-win proposition. I know from my own experience that doing it all and doing it perfectly is impossible when you are juggling multiple kids, a job, a husband and a house and would still appreciate a minute leftover for yourself.
When my kids were still young, one of my closest neighbors came over to help me get ready for company. We were both in the kitchen, having a good time and making the main course for the dinner. When it came time to add the spices to the dish, I opened my corner cabinet. She watched me reach up and pull out the oregano that I needed to add to the sauce. She began laughing and was finally able to choke out, "I would have never guessed in a million years that your cupboard looked like that."
I had no idea what she was talking about. She proceeded to tell me that she had always believed that every part of my house, inside and out, was perfect. My friend was shocked that my cupboard was so messy, but she admitted that she found me much more likeable once she knew that. I explained my philosophy about cleaning — I believed that as long as my house looked clean on the surface, then my house was just fine. Immaculate closets, drawers and cupboards were just not that important to me. Not much has changed for me since that experience, much to my husband’s dismay.
My point in sharing this story is not to convince you that my philosophy about cleaning is the right way to go in your domestic life. Rather, it’s to share how I found a way to stay sane and emotionally healthy when my life was crazy with too many responsibilities and commitments.
Apparently, I acknowledged at that time in life that it was not realistic to believe that I would be able to complete every task and do it perfectly. Therefore, I knew I had to make compromises and establish my priorities in life. I felt that playing ball in the yard with my sons was more important (and definitely more enjoyable) than making my closets and drawers look perfect. I decided that I would accept this and not beat myself up about it.
Look, I don’t really care if your drawers and closets are bursting with clothes or they are perfectly organized, alphabetized and color-coded. It just doesn’t matter to me. Maybe cleaning is one of your priorities.
I just want to declare, once and for all, that aspiring to a life where every aspect is absolutely perfect is setting you up for failure. Perfection does not guarantee happiness, fulfillment or success in life. What you can anticipate is plenty of stress. Success in life is an individual assessment — only you can decide what it looks like. So face it, girlfriend, life isn’t perfect and neither are you. Decide on what is important to you and then let the perfect thing go once and for all!