Confessions of a perfectionist, in small business and motherhood.
When did we all become obsessed with the ‘all or nothing’ approach to life, work and motherhood? For me, I think I’ve always been this way. A self-confessed perfectionist, whom has such high expectations on myself, that when I inevitably can’t meet them, end up feeling like I’ve failed, or often, procrastinate until I get another goal to focus on, and so, the cycle continues.
When Jax and I started out with this small business I knew it would be hard work. I knew that the ‘buck would stop with us’ and yet, I still had visions that I would have a very flexible approach to work. Work would fit in with me (and to some extent it does), but not without the worry, anxiety and that feeling in the pit of my stomach on most days that I haven’t quite finished everything. All of those feelings that I used to have in my corporate career around getting everything don are still there. In fact, I think the feelings are heightened, or worse in some way, which is really silly, as one of the reasons that I decided to not re-enter the corporate space was to not have to deal with unrealistic timeframes for delivery - and I wanted to work on my own terms.
Recently, I’ve had to remind myself (with a lot of help from Jacqui - I’m so lucky that I have a wonderful business partner to prod me every now and then) that the goals we set for our business are OUR goals, nobody else’s. And, whilst we are 100% committed to them, if we need to be flexible and delay them, or change the direction - that’s also 100% OK. This is our race. This is our business. We are the boss of us, and outside of under-servicing a client (sacre bleu - aka. will never happen) we’re only accountable to ourselves.
It’s important to remind ourselves that we are only two people. We are the marketing department, the sales department, the financial department and the ‘manage the exhaustive inbox’ department, not to mention our other jobs, mothers and ‘thinkerers’ of all things relating to the household - they refer to this as ‘the mental load’ (relate? listen to this podcast for some assurance). For example, whilst I’m writing this blog post (Update. I didn’t finish this at the time - see below), I’m also boiling water for the pasta, whilst toggling between tabs on my screen to place the online grocery order, whilst remembering that I need to buy a 6 year old birthday present, whilst realising that there is a random piece of lego sitting underneath the couch which belongs to a Lego Ninjago dinosaur set that if not found will mean that in two weeks time when my 6 year old tries to put it together it will be ‘desperate’! Yup, that’s a mental load, and it’s all day, every day.
Some days I nail it. Like yesterday, when I got 2 loads of washing done, my son has eaten spinach at breakfast time (phew. one serve of vegetables already done for the day, now to just think of a suitable snack, lunch & dinner option for the 4 others), I’ve managed to spend 1/2 hour on our socials engaging with other fabulous working mums + the house is not a disaster zone, and the best news of all I washed my hair (and dried it) - all before leaving the house. Other days, we’re picking up Fish & Chips for dinner and I’ve spent half the day staring at my computer screen stuck in a funk that I can’t get out of #procrastinationcentral.
The irony that it has taken me about two weeks to complete this blog post is not lost. Another thing about being a perfectionist is, that we often don’t hit ‘go’ on something for fear that it obviously isn’t perfect, but more often than not, we have a sinking feeling that it’s missing something, and we’d rather wait until that magically appears vs. acknowledging that it might never come.
So, at the risk of this blog post sounding more like a rant, and also a journey of self-discovery into why perhaps I’m in a bit of a creativity funk - I’m going to hit publish. In the hope that some of you ‘perfectionists’ out there will appreciate and relate, and maybe this might just inspire you to put something out there, whether it’s perfect or not!