Last week, I was listening to my favorite podcast, Dear Sugar, and they brought up the phrase “good enough” in terms of parenting. It’s a topic that they talk about often, how we (mostly as Americans) are obsessed with being “perfect” parents and how trying to attain perfection is, at least, impossible and, at most, destructive (this is my takeaway – they’re much more nuanced and articulate). It is beneficial for all involved – especially for the child! – for us to embrace the idea of simply being good enough. I thought I might try to apply the concept to our professional selves, as well.
My friend is super stressed about her job – she has a new boss who is micromanaging projects that my friend has been managing for over ten years – it is wreaking havoc with her schedule, her self-esteem and professional confidence. We’ve talked a few times about how it may be time to think about doing something else and moving on. Each time, however, she says she has SO much to do and she doesn’t want to do less than her best, and as a result, she has no time to save herself.
My question is why? Why do we feel compelled to be terrific/great/perfect at everything? Why is being a B student such a terrible thing? Another friend has edified me about the 80/20 rule – if we can get to 80%, call it done and stop obsessing about the remaining 20%. I’m not saying we should phone it in, but if I decide to put in 80% of the effort at work, I’ll have another 20% to put towards my son, my husband, self-care, friends, my aging parents, etc. And that 80% isn’t some ordinary 80%, it’s still kickass and worthwhile, it just doesn’t suck the life right out of me leaving nothing left for other things I care about.
I think it would be nice if we changed the dialogue a little bit, or at least the t-shirts:
- World’s Most Okay Mom
- I’m #2
Look, this might not be my best blog post, but I think it is good enough.
P.S. A belated happy birthday shout-out to my childhood friend, Susie…hope your day is beautiful, friend!
– Libby Bingham