I have a confession: I used to be a massive perfectionist.
To a certain extent, I still am, but I’m learning.
I'm learning that sometimes you have to do brave things that make you nervous even if it's not perfect, at least you'll be doing it.
I’m learning that children won’t remember the mess but they will remember the fun. They won’t remember if their play food was made of felt and stitched together by hand or if it’s balled up tissue paper, but they will remember ‘cooking’ you a delicious meal.
I’m learning that ‘there is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good one,’ (quote by Jill Churchill.)
I'm learning that people aren't perfect, and that's OK.
We're not meant to be. I'm not meant to be perfect. You're not meant to be perfect. Once you realise that and can be honest about it, life is so much easier.
Trying to put on a front is exhausting, and trying to make everything perfect is overwhelming. I'm not saying that striving for perfection is always a negative of course. You want to put forward your best work, you want your website to look amazing, you want that pitch to be perfect, you want your house to be tidy. That's OK, but when the fear of something not being perfect starts to hold you back or takes you away from doing the things you love, it can become crippling, leaving you in a constant state of overwhelm.
For the first few months after Ollie was born, I would wake up early, sometimes as early as 4 am, just to clean the house, never wanting it to get messy (impossible with a 2 and half-year-old) and feeling like I had to be in a constant state of happiness with my gorgeous bundle of joy. I can look back now and see how unhealthy that was.
I used to think that anything I made for or did with the kids would have to be perfect. I would plan for ages to make something that would need loads of time and skill. I would pin things onto my Pinterest board and wish that I had the time to make all of it. I would buy everything I needed and then find myself with no time to do it, and when I did have a minute free time that was the last thing I wanted to do and it was so buried underneath everything else that it all sat there gathering dust.
Then one day I was chatting to someone about it, and she said something simple but profound:
‘Kids don’t care if it's not perfect’
Why had I never thought of this before? I had all these ideas but no time on my own to make them, and no patience to do them with kids around. What if it was more simple. Surely just as much fun could be had with simpler crafts, recipes, DIY’s and trips out?
So that is what I am doing. And it is SO much more fun not having to try to make everything perfect.
Cake tastes just as good if it doesn't look beautiful.
I’m not there yet, I’m still striving for a beautiful Instagram feed, and I pin all the beautiful things on my Pinterest boards, but ultimately if there is something I would love to do but I am not doing it because of the time it takes, or for fear of it not being done the ‘right’ way, then I am looking for ways to make it quicker and simpler or just being brave and doing it anyway. It might not look quite the same, but at least I will have done it.
So, if you're feeling overwhelmed with life, whether it's work, your business or your home life, I would say to you 'banish the perfect' and this quote from Sheryl Sandberg.
"Done is better than perfect."
I have lots more coming on how to beat feeling overwhelmed in various aspects of your life, whether it's work, home, kids. What would you like to hear?