Hollee Schwartz Temple is co-author of Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood (Harlequin Nonfiction, Spring 2011)
My then-kindergartener, Gideon, had seen the idea for “spider cookies” in the magazine, and so there I stood, determined to make “the best” snack for his class. It was all going according to plan until I tried to insert the first pretzel leg into the Oreo spider body, and found that either the pretzel leg or the cookie body cracked when I tried to complete the project. Two hours later, as my husband munched on “spiders” I had rejected as not good enough to serve to the five-year-olds, he wondered out loud whether anyone would even realize that the concoctions — which ultimately took two hours to assemble — were supposed to be spiders!
That was then, and thankfully, over the past three years, I’ve learned to take a fresh new approach to my work/life balance. Through the research my friend Becky and I performed for our new book, Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, I came to discover that attitude is really everything if you want to enjoy the life you’ve been given.
We surveyed 905 American moms born between 1965 and 1980, and were shocked to find that unrelenting perfectionism was the biggest obstacle to achieving success at work and at home. Whoa! We thought it would be inflexible employers or spouses who didn’t contribute enough or financial pressures. So when we learned that we had become our own worst enemies, we knew we had to yell it from the rooftops: Moms, lighten up a little bit and you’ll be happier and more successful!
More successful? That’s right. The moms in our survey who were focused on being “good enough” and happy at work and at home (we call them Good Enoughs) were actually outpacing their Never Enough counterparts in many ways. The Never Enoughs made a bit more money, but the Good Enoughs had better marriage, felt they had made less sacrifices, and were better at taking time for themselves and the things they loved. That was a camp I wanted to join!
So now gaze through my kitchen window once more, just a few months back. I’m scrambling to find a “good enough” snack to send in for Gideon’s holiday party (it’s 8 p.m. and I’m not going to the store or whipping up something from scratch. I’m done with that Never Enough approach.)
I spy a package of already-opened Oreos, and smile when I see that only four are missing. I send the package the next day and get a nice note back from the teacher, thanking me for my contribution!
My evolution from Never Enough to Good Enough is, happily, complete.
Bio: Hollee Schwartz Temple’s new book, Good Enough Is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, is available in bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. Hollee, a mom of two, is a journalist-turned lawyer-turned professor at West Virginia University College of Law. She blogs about work/life balance at http://thenewperfect.com.
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