I used to hate those words. They always seemed like a cop-out.
Then I had three kids. And we bought an apartment building. And got a dog. And I started taking care of my in-laws. And I just couldn’t keep up with my old standards any more. I started to feel inadequate, and beating myself up regularly over the things I couldn’t get done.
But I found a solution. A way out of the self-imposed guilt. I’ve turned over a new leaf.
I’ve embraced mediocrity.
And now, good enough has become . . . Good Enough. Not just a measure of acceptance, but a whole new philosophy for life. A new mantra.
Here are a few excerpts from the Good Enough Manual:
Good Enough Laundry = clean (for the most part). The kid who hasn’t yet gone through puberty may occasionally wear shirts more than once. Folding is optional. And you already know how I feel about sorting socks.
Good Enough Dinner = everyone eats something. Most nights I provide the meal. Most nights we eat together. But if we can’t, we can’t. My children are now old enough to handle sharp knives and prepare food. They know the way to Subway. They won’t go hungry.
Good Enough Housekeeping = a reasonable standard of hygiene in the bathrooms and kitchen. Enough said.
Good Enough Landscaping = the weeds will die once we have a cold snap. Probably. If not, they’ll bloom in the spring and I’ll call it a garden.
I’m no longer envious of my friends with their picture-perfect homes and spotless cars. They can hop in with me and we can go to lunch. Or we can drive out to the lake and eat Cheerios off the back seat. It doesn’t matter to me.
This weekend we’re going to a cross-country meet in Baton Rouge. Instead of rushing home as soon as The Caboose crosses the finish line, we’re going to go visit The Trailblazer at LSU. We’re going to enjoy a little October weather and I’m not going to worry about housework.
When I get home I may print up some membership cards to the Good Enough Club. Who wants one?
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Great great great post! I love the Good Enough in dust. We just need to do what we can, when we can, and know that it’s enough…unless our houses start to look like the houses in Hoarders.
Since I have a two-story house, the upstairs can look like Hoarders, because only we go up there. Minimizes the work! 😉
I’ve done the Febreeze thing too. Didn’t hurt anyone. No one expects you or your home to be perfect. You’re a mom, tending to more important things, like your children. You’ll get to the dusting another time. Don’t sweat it 😉
The problem is… I do sweat it. I need to stop doing that.
MEEEE!!!!!! Please!!!!!! This rocks love!!
Thanks, El. Membership cards will be available online soon! And elections for leadership positions will be held shortly thereafter. Surely you’ve got a little time for that, right?
LOL. I can be chief-complainer in waiting!
I like how you think! FabULOus. I feel better now. X
Hey, Chick! Glad to see you here. And glad you’re feeling better. I aim to please, you know. 🙂
I absolutely love the photos! How brave of you not to leave out the ‘evidence’. We can all relate to you and are breathing a sigh of relief that we are not alone!
*whispers* . . . May I tell you a secret . . . I still haven’t dusted. Now I could sketch the Mona Lisa on that table. Just don’t tell anyone. Then they’ll want to come over and gawk.
So very, very good. Giving everyone else permission to breathe!
Breathing is good, Kasey. Necessary even. And since I’ve given in to Good Enough, I haven’t had a single anxiety attack. I may be on to something.
Story of my life. I would like a card 🙂
They’ll be online by the end of the week, Angie! We’ll all be card-carrying members soon.
Love it! I, too am finally learning how to accept good enough. Thanks for the manual 🙂
Hi, Heather! It’s working out great here, even rubbing off on the kids, which is not necessarily a good thing for my purposes. 🙂
Love. I’m finally starting to understand this whole concept myself, and it feels wonderful. Nicely said!
I resisted it for far too long. The elusive ‘perfection’ I sought was costing me dearly. Now, I feel liberated!
We can only do so much! Got to take time to smell the roses, if you can find them amongst the weeds!
Mary Ann, oddly enough, my roses are thriving! Hurricane Isaac blew off every single bloom, and those things have filled right back up with flowers. Not only have I been outside smelling them, but I cut a few, brought them in, and put them right on that dusty coffee table to enjoy!
So why did it take reading this to convince me that good enough is really just that… good enough?!? It’s been a tough year, and nothing is up to standard, but I’m learning to accept good enough, and starting to embrace it 🙂 Thanks for this!
Ingrid, I’m thrilled for you. I’ve had this concept in the back of my mind for a long time, but didn’t really EMBRACE it until this last very tough year myself. And when things settle down, I make turn the dial back up. Or maybe not. Because enjoying the sunshine is far more satisfying than obsessing over minutiae.
It’s like we are one mind. I just drew on my dust-laden table too 🙂
My bedroom is so dusty I may draw a naughty picture on my husband’s night stand. 😉
This is definitely my philosophy too!!! Great post!
Thanks! I’m glad to hear we have strength in our numbers. Hooray!
The “good enough manual” is completely genius and something I need to remind myself of more often. I’ve been feeling kind of crabby this week about tons of writing stuff, how I wish I could get more done, etc. Well, right now with four little kids 8 and under, “good enough” is going to have to suffice right now in terms of writing production.
Nina, if I had embraced this when my children were as young as yours, I would’ve saved myself a lot of grief and a couple of stomach ulcers. As Renee said below, back in the day we were sold a big bag of suck. We obsessed over the wrong things, and made ourselves sick doing it. I promise you, you won’t look back and regret missing a few deadlines. Spend that time with your kids, and you’ll never be sorry.
As the woman who used to work as a professional organizer and who is doing a major overhaul of her blog, that is essentially the new message: life doesn’t fit in a file folder.
But I digress.
I think all of us 40-something-aged women got sold a big bag of suck. We read all those magazines and went to colleges that told us we could be sexy AND get a man AND work AND be mothers AND decorate our homes AND keep our lawns manicured…hell, we could grow our own vegetables.
It ain’t so.
Something has to give.
Life is Good is a lie.
Cute stuff, but it’s not true.
Life is Good Enough is real.
Slap that on some merchandise and you’ve got 1.7 bajillion dollars, right there.
C’est magnifique! We are all perfectly imperfect. And it’s okay.
Amen, sister! That whole thing was a crock. That whole ‘yuppie’ party was fun while it lasted, but pulling that off with three kids and aging parents was nothing but a dream.
Oh, how I wish I could go back and tell young me to relax. Have less, do more. Work less, love more. Need less, be more.
But, alas, that is not amongst the possible, so I’ll have to carry on from this point forward with that attitude instead. Big lessons learned in the last year.
I want one! I’m already a member, but I want one! I ABSOLUTELY love the pics-but especially the dusty table one. Amen and Amen. You rock, Lisha, and thanks for sharing the light. 🙂 XOXO-SWM
I’m so glad you’re in the club, SWM! I can’t even imagine pulling off this gig single. My husband spent a year in Iraq, and it just about did me in. Kudos to you for getting your priorities in order and enjoying life!
MEEEEEEE! I think accepting “good enough” is such a gift we give ourselves and our families! In fact, I’ll take 3 membership cards so that when my girls can join now and (hopefully) avoid the wasted years of perfectionism I was trapped in for so long. Being “good enough” is severely under-rated!
Have a fabulous fall weekend! I have no doubts it will bring far greater rewards than a dusted table. 😉
BTW–when is your trip? (I’m not jealous, but I do want to live vicariously through you!)
Three cards, coming up! Your girls are so lucky to have a Good Enough mentor in their mother. What a great package!
My trip starts in nine days! I’m dragging my mini-laptop, so I’ll be blogging along the way. I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl thinking about it. 🙂
Love it, especially “Good Enough Dinner.” I’ve always been determined to avoid the “everyone eating at different times” thing, but this year the Maiden’s dance schedule has thrown a wrench into that. I’m slowly accepting that on Tuesdays, the Maiden eats in the studio and the Man eats at home and I eat an energy bar in the car on the way there. LOL! We have whatever we can grab, and it’s fine! We have six other days to try and get it right 🙂
That Maiden of yours is a lucky girl!
Emerson (my favorite author) said, “We do what we must, and call it by the best names we can.”
What’s been missing among us is the ability to recognize the difference between doing what we must and doing what we want. Sanity lies in the middle, I think.
Hahaha! Welcome to my club! By all means, send me a membership card. I’ve been living here for a few years. Only for me, it means “whatever the housekeeper does is good enough.” And “Pulled out of the dryer and hung up is good enough. If you don’t think so, there’s the iron.” And “I’ll mess with the garden if it brings me pleasure. If you see a way to improve on it, be my guest.” Fortunately, my husband is of the opinion that if there is dinner on the table, that’s good enough. I think I’ll keep him. 🙂
Remind me about the membership cards after I get back from Paris. Because right now my mind is only on getting out of here!!
When I was in nursing school (with 2 young ones at home) one of my nursing instructors told me that dust was a ‘protective coating’ and I quickly adopted that philosophy! It was also at that time that I resolved my questionable views of ‘bag salad’! My views on cleaning the outsides of the windows on my house came courtesy of my M-I-L, she always said, “What God puts on, God can take off”! I’ve been a card toting member of your ‘Good Enough’ club for years!:-)
Protective coating… I like that. I’ve waited long enough that it now looks like part of my Halloween decorations. If only Christmas decor incorporated dust then I’d have a really good thing going.
Send me a card! 3 sons all out of the house has cut down on a lot of housework, however the 7 dogs and new lab puppy (who is a pack rat) are making up for it. Vacuuming/Sweeping once a week is the new norm!
7 dogs? I would give up. I have 1, and he rules the roost!
Amen, sister. I wrote about this, too. (I’m not accusing you of plagiarism, I’m bonding, baby.) At some point we have to embrace the dust and give ourselves a damn break.
New to the blog, I dig it.
Solidarity, my sister! Your post was fantastic! Great minds really do think alike.
I definitely want a card to this club!! I laughed when I saw the smiley face in the dust. That’s one area where I constantly have guilt. The dust here is terrible, and I let it go all the time because I’m just too busy to get to it. From now on, whenever that guilt creeps in, I’m going to put a smiley face in the dust!
Guilt sucks. Smileys do not. There. Problem solved.
The family is far better with a little clutter than with a mother suffering under the gloom of self-imposed guilt. Guilt trips always end up in misery. So glad you have cancelled that trip!
Well said. What’s that saying?, “if Mom’s not happy no one is happy”.
I have indeed cancelled the guilt trip and planned one much better!
I do! I do! Have a great weekend, Lisha! The fun stuff gets all the Better Than Good Enough mojo.
The fun stuff has been even more fun without the looming guilt! Thanks for requesting membership in The Club. Membership cards will get made… someday. 🙂