How many of you as kids were punished with doing “chores” or housework?
My mom’s favorite disciplinary tactic was dusting. If you ever saw my house you would know why this was a punishment indeed. My mom, at the height of her Amish country phase, had so many knickknacks sitting around collecting dust that she even hated to do it. Each item had to be carefully dusted, the area around it dusted and then placed back in its original position. When I was done she would walk around and tweak the direction of each tchotchke so it was precisely as it was before. My mother could sit in knee-deep piles of magazines without issue but it made her crazy if a knickknack knack was out-of-place.
Bottom line….my dusting was never good enough.
And the worst part is that every time I need to dust now, I feel like I’m being punished. It’s the one household chore that I struggle to bring myself to do.
Maybe for you it’s the dishes or cleaning out the garage or keeping a tidy bedroom. It’s that one chore that instantly makes you feel like that punished little kid again. And if we can’t do it right, well why even bother?
It’s time to have a heart to heart with our little selves, our inner critic and bring some forgiveness to the situation.
I’m an avid fan of the Fly Lady. I found her around fifteen years ago when I was knee-deep in diapers and legos and desperately trying to have some kind of a system for keeping the chaos at bay. She was the organized mom I never had. Everyday she would tell me in her emails that “I wasn’t behind” and that with continued “baby steps” I would have a system in place. I still use her system to this day.
A few weeks ago she wrote a blog post addressing perfectionism and how so many of us were conditioned early on to feel that our attempts at cleaning and organizing were sub par, a fallacy ingrained in us from years of failed cleaning attempts. Fly Lady said,
“What did we have done to us! What have we done to our children because of that! We have the ability to re-parent ourselves. The hardest part is letting go of our perfectionism is saying “Good Enough” is “Good Enough”! This goes against everything we were taught! Everything we were tortured with and everything we have crammed down our throats from the first day we were born.
Our poor little child within us tried so hard to live up to those unrealistic standards. Even when we did our best it was never “Good Enough”! We may not have been told that in words but their actions would speak much louder than the words that were never said.”
Perfectionism isn’t a good thing. Perfectionism is a mask that we hide behind because we feel inadequate.
There is a huge distinction between being meticulous and being a perfectionist.
It’s important to spend some time seeing the places in your life where you want to do something well and when you want to do something well because you are afraid of being judged.
Let’s give some loving attention to our inner child who was just doing the best they could, forgive ourselves and stop bringing this same criticism to our children and grand children.
Good enough is good enough.