with Amy Urquhart
I’m Amy and I’ve spent the last three years trying to strike that perfect balance between being a wife, mom and professional career woman. I’ve decided that I’ll never perfect the art of “having it all”, but this blog is a chronicle of my attempts to continue to do so. I’m a blogger (my personal blog about Canadian home life is Hearts into Home), gardener, college instructor, wife to Graham and mom to Nate. If you’re also a working mom who finds there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I hope you’ll enjoy this column!
Read her blog at Hearts into Home.
I will be the first to admit that I am a perfectionist. But there’s a qualifier: I’m a lazy perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect right off the bat, the first time, without having to spend (waste) more time re-doing anything.
It’s totally unrealistic, and I know it. But there it is.
According to research by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple, authors of “Good Enough Is the New Perfect,” that makes me a “Never Enough.” Their survey of 905 working mothers, all Generations Xers (born between 1965 and 1980), found that perfectionism was “the single greatest roadblock to juggling work and family” and the “constant need to be the best at everything” outweighed everything else, including financial pressures, bad bosses, and husbands who didn’t help out enough around the house.
In fact, according to their book, which is filled with real-life interviews with working moms, “The ‘Never Enoughs’ were six times more likely to describe their approach to juggling work and family as this: ‘I try to be a superstar at work AND at home, even if it kills me’.”
But once I dug deeper into their data, I realized that while my lazy-perfectionist tendencies put me squarely among the “Never Enoughs,” by most other measures I was actually a “Good Enough” — that is, a working mom who tries to allocate her energies toward whatever crisis is peaking at the moment, even if the meltdown is happening at home.
According to Gillespie and Temple, “The ‘Good Enoughs’ were more likely to say: ‘Both family and work are important, and I try to do a relatively decent job at both and accept that I am not perfect’.” How much more likely? Nearly three times more than their “Never Enough” counterparts.
But what’s really stunning is that, in spite of not being willing to risk death to achieve superstar status, the “Good Enoughs” who stayed the course with their careers after having kids were just as likely as the “Never Enoughs” to advance. And that stat held true even for “Good Enoughs” who cut back their hours after their kids came along.
Considering yourself “Good Enough” is not an invitation to settle; it’s the understanding that you have ability to get the important things done.
What do you think you are: A “Good Enough” or a “Never Enough”?
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