Home » Self Improvement

Rule 17: Make it Good Enough

Aug 15, 2008
Joan Bounacos has been married to George for over fifteen years. Together they are raising three sons and so far have lived to tell the tale. Joan is a co-founder of ConsumerHelpWeb.com.

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Often the beholder is the same person judging who is and who is not perfect.

You know who I mean: the Mom whose house is always spotless; who wouldn't think of allowing her children to leave for school without a hot, cooked breakfast; who puts the fancy decorations on the homemade goodies she brings for her child's class party, sews her child's costumes for Halloween and the school play by hand, and always makes it look easy.

There are trade-offs for each decision we make, and attempting to out-do "Mrs. Jones" and be a working mother can lead to a stressed out Mom who feels like a failure. I'll never forget the freedom I felt the first time I realized I could buy cupcakes for my son's class on his birthday, and NO ONE CARED that they weren't the homemade ones I had always baked. If I had had the time I would have baked, but that year I just didn't. So I delegated the baking to the grocery store, the kids were still happy, and I didn't stress. They were "good enough."

"Ma Jones" might also require her children's chores to be done perfectly, or she would redo the job herself. I'm enough of a realist to laugh at that expectation, and so I applied the idea of "good enough" to the jobs I expected my boys to accomplish. How is a kid to learn to do it right if Mom always "fixes" things so they are "perfect?" I learned to praise my kids for the mostly made bed, the laundry that somehow ended up in the hamper, the garbage that DID get taken to the curb on the correct night. They knew the job wasn't done perfectly, but in accepting their attempts as good enough (for now), they were given an opportunity to do the best they could, get better as they grew more capable, and understand that Mom sometimes turned a blind eye when they took advantage of this rule.

Before I was a mom, I had a roommate, a single mom with two children who really showed me the meaning of "good enough." Once a week or so, she would come home and fix breakfast for dinner. Eggs, pancakes, and bacon it was delicious and we always ate it up. She would say, "It'll keep body and soul together for another day." It was good enough; her kids were happy eating cereal and toast in the morning; and she was able to enjoy the rest of the night with her kids, not stressing about cooking a "perfect" dinner.

I saw a plaque once that read, "I could be a perfect parent if it weren't for my kids." Well, you have kids, and contrary to your mother-in-law's opinion, they are not perfect. What's more important to you: impressing Mrs. Jones or lowering your standards just enough to be rewarded with time and energy to spend on you and your family?

My mother always said our house was clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. One day your children will be grown and gone, your house will stay clean, your errands done (or maybe not). I know that my kids and I will remember the lesson that unless you can offer perfection, it's unreasonable to demand it in others.

The famous science fiction author Robert Heinlein gave me the motto I raised my children by, "Do not handicap your child by making his life easy." Accept attempts to do better as you would a crushed flower from your child's hand; gracefully, lovingly, and with thanks for trying! To be good enough, as a working mom, is a pretty nice thing.

As excerpted from "42 Rules (tm) for Working Moms" Super Star Press, 2008.
About the Author
Laura Lowell is the executive editor and author of "42 Rules for Working Moms." She has gathered practical advice and information from working moms all over the world to share with others. She lives and works in Silicon Valley with her husband and two girls. http://www.42rules.com/working_moms/index
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 174
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources