Good Enough is the New Perfect...Truly!
Growing up I always pictured myself being a career woman. After all, I had movies like “9 to 5” with Dolly Parton and “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith inspire me and visions of shoulder pads and black pumps danced in my head when I thought about what I wanted to be like when “I grew up”.
I also grew up with young parents who attended a college and grad school while raising me and then continuing on to the successful careers they have today. Maybe that’s why I never questioned the fact that I could accomplish that as well when I became mom, because after all, my mom’s example set the stage.
And maybe, just maybe, I’m one of my own worst critics as I constantly find it hard to say “no” to anything and “yes” to everything while giving a 110%. I used to call that being ambitious. But now? I realize I’m being a perfectionist that can never quite live up to that level of perfection I’ve set for myself.
That’s why I love the book “Good Enough is the New Perfect” written by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and my good friend Hollee Schwartz Temple. This is not one of those “you can do it”, “get inspired”, “woo hoo, you go girl!” kind of books. In other words, it’s not a bunch of fluff talking about woman power and giving a bird’s eye view with lots of motivational soundbites. It’s quite the opposite. It’s interviews with some of the most educated, most respected, most powerful women across industries who talk frankly about their families, their careers, and how they manage them in a way that is “good enough” for them.
Let’s be real. Women are uber competitive. And if they’re not before they’re moms, I’m convinced there’s something in that pregnancy hormone that heightens that competitiveness even more. One of my favorite chapters in this book is titled “The New Mommy Wars”. Why? Because they way they explain it is so unbelievably true. In the book, Hollee and Becky define the New Mommy Wars as:
“...a battle that is far more emotional and isolating than a clear-cut debate over working versus staying home. This war is one we fight alone, and mostly with ourselves, as we try to figure out where we fit in.”
They go on to say that at least in the Mommy Wars of the past, we knew that we were choosing one side over another. Now, they explain, we’re finding ourselves “defending one priority one day, and another priority the next.”
I don’t know about you, but this describes perfectly the inner struggle I have all the time. When I’m in the company of different people, but especially through the constant dialogue I have with myself.
There are definitely some days where I’ll find myself comparing myself to other moms who I admire and then start to feel guilty that my house isn’t as clean as theirs or that I don’t spend enough time with my son, or that they are so good at not checking their email every fifteen minutes like I do.
Is this book a crutch for those who want to be lazy or not put their all in everything they do? Ha. Not even close. It basically outlines why there’s “a difference between being the best and doing your best” (I need to seriously write this on post-its and stick in every room in my house) and then provides real examples through countless interviews with different women from different industries who have all had different experiences. What they do have in common though, is that they’ve discovered a way to navigate through their life and career in a way that not only makes them happy but in a lot of cases, even more successful.