I was having a conversation with my parents the other day about jobs we didn’t like doing. I admitted to a Princess Complex which makes cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors an insult to my very being. This of course, is neither here nor there as I am not a Princess and as yet do not earn enough to justify paying a cleaner (note the ‘as yet’). Both my parents clean toilets with their hands rather than a brush. I can’t even. As for getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing a floor; visions of barefoot women in the kitchen, martyred slaves to their family come unbidden to my mind’s eye. Which is bullshit, sort of. The floor’s dirty, and sometimes it needs more than a mop to clean those grimy corners, right?
My second Dad said that he doesn’t enjoy cleaning the windows – not because he hates the job so much, but because he’s not very good at it. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot get those windows streak free and perfect. He doesn’t have any past life trauma attached to this job, it’s just his inability to achieve perfection that bothers him. I don’t mind cleaning windows – It was my job to clean the windows when I was growing up, and I don’t hold myself up to lofty standards of perfection. If it’s a bit streaky I don’t mind; just as long as it’s better than what it was. I said, “I’m happy with a ‘good enough’ job.”
I could tell this was a slightly horrifying revelation to my perfectionist second Dad – what kind of person is happy with ‘good enough’? A mother of two young children, that’s who :). In order to maintain my sanity, there are areas in my life where I have decided that a ‘good enough’ attitude is just fine – housework is one of them, cooking is another. I have a mostly tidy house and I am known for being a good cook, but I do not bring perfection in to play in these areas – simply because I don’t want to spend the enormous amount of energy necessary to generate that kind of high standard. Relationships are another area where I don’t think aiming towards perfection is useful. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, we’re not perfect. Welcome to being human on Planet Earth.
There are places where I am more naturally geared to strive for perfection however: I hold myself – my code of ethics, my actions and my words up to a high standard, and I expect it of others as well. For me, writing is a wonderful combination of the good-enough (first draft) and then the gradual honing and refining of the editing process, which still doesn’t result in perfection, but a higher standard of good-enough. I also expect a high standard in education, both of myself, my children and the children I work with. It’s not a striving for perfection as such, it is about being the very best person you can be. It’s about not settling for second best anything. Yep, there’s that Princess Complex again. Sometimes it’s useful 🙂
Where in your life do you aim for perfection? When is good-enough just fine?
Sending care packages to far away friends. I have two dear friends that live far away – one in America and one in Sydney. I hardly ever get to see them, but every now and again, something delicious will arrive in the mail from them. My American friend sends me music, chocolates and hand written notes, wrapped up in a travelling emerald green pashmina that we have been passing back and forwards between us ever since she left Australia, three years ago. My Sydney friend sends me surprise presents like a foam roller or meditation tools, like a pillow or incense. I love presents soooo much <3. This week I put together a care package for both of them, packed full of gorgeous gifts I just know they are going to love, and sent it off.
Unexpected sleep overs. The kind where my children get whisked off for an impromptu night away, leaving the Bear and I to our own devices. I cleaned windows, hung washing and vacuumed – and the Princess asked the Bear to clean the bathroom :). We collected kindling together, filling up boxes with twigs, bamboo casings which we use instead of newspaper, and pine cones from across the road at the school. The Bear lit the fire, and I made a cup of tea and curled up on the lounge and watched more Orange is the New Black (I’m onto the second series now) and then finished Alex Miller’s Lovesong (which I loved). Later on, when the Bear came in, I said that this was the most relaxed I had been in months. I couldn’t remember the last non-productive time with no children. Apparently motherhood makes me tense. Who knew?
About the Chicago Referencing System. All of you that have been to university are grinning a little right now and not in a mean way I’m sure. Just like I’m not being mean when I see a mother with an upside down screaming toddler on the supermarket floor and give her a sympathetic grin. It’s a I feel your pain but I am so glad I am done with that part of my life kind of grin. I’m not going to waste time complaining about referencing and academic writing – it is what it is. Referencing is, however, torturous, slow and frustrating, and at times I’m not sure if I’m doing it right. A friend told me yesterday that when one of his mates was at University (as a mature age student) he got so sick of putting together the reference lists that he wrote a piece of software where you type in the details of the book and what system you’re using, and it spits out the correct referencing. He sold it to Southern Cross University. Awesome.
Marking systems and teachers’ expectations. I received two assignments back this week. One, a media assignment worth 25%, I received 80% for, which I was very pleased with. It was interesting to see what she had picked me up for – mostly stylistic errors because I am not familiar with all the rules for academic writing yet. Things like the correct use of italics and bold, never use contractions (I used can’t instead of cannot) and the use of second person (I used your in one part). All good, I won’t do those again. The second assignment was a mini writing assignment worth 5% and I received 75% for it, which was fine.
That’s all from me this week, my friends. I normally write this weekend post over two early mornings, but I needed to finish off an assignment yesterday morning, so I’ve packed all of this into one morning’s work. It’s a bit shorter, but you won’t mind I’m sure. I hope you have a beautiful weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing ❤