Why Are You Waiting For Perfection?

by Katy on September 26, 2013 · 33 comments

I although I am the last person on earth who should be labeled a perfectionist, I still find myself holding back in life because my inner Katy still craves that blue ribbon.

“Look at me, my house is always clean, my kids are straight-A students, my blog publishes daily and I’m the prettiest mom in Mom-Land!



I’m trying to be better about giving time and attention to my friendships. I have a tendency to hole up in the house, and if I’m not careful I can easily go days without any outside interaction. So now that the kids are back into their school routines, I’m working to be deliberate about arranging face-to-face get togethers with my friends.

I spent my morning getting the boys ready for school, and was kind of craving an adult play date. I e-mailed my friend Heather, asking if she had time to get together for a coffee. (Heather is the mother of 14-month-old twin boys, so it’s safe to say that our daily routines require planning if we’re to ever see one another.) Luckily, she quickly replied saying I should come right on over. However I had just dropped the boys at school, and wasn’t quite in full ready-to-meet-the-world mode.

But here’s where my perfection issues come into play. My kitchen was full of dirty dishes, my blog was unwritten; and I had yet to shower, brush my teeth or even put on a bra. My first inclination was to spend the hour or so it would take to address my morning tasks. Because you know, yuck.

Did I take care of all these personal tasks in order to head out with a fully checked-off to-do list?

Hell, no!

I drove my unkempt self across town and rejuvenated my spirit with a satisfying three hour chat/sweet baby session.

And it was perfectly imperfect.

If you’re waiting for perfection before doing what really matters in life, then you’re needlessly holding yourself back. Having a perfectly tidy home and an immaculate appearance are all well and good in theory, but if the lack of either is keeping you from being a full participant in your own life, then something is seriously off balance.

So go ahead and embrace your imperfections. Perfection was always a fallacy anyway.

Do you find that you hesitate to do things because you’re trying to do everything perfectly? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

P.S. I did use Heather’s toothpaste to finger-brush my teeth, as I didn’t want her to pass out.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

JaneUlness September 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I live with my husband , my single parent daughter and a 18 month old. I have two businesses, a job , a blog and try to help people as much as I can. Perfection is not in my vocabulary, just getting to the end of my to do list sick or not so all can handle. LOL. I see people that have immaculate houses, can do hardworking on white pants and still have white pants when their done, not me, I look like I have been rolling on the mud of I clip a few vines! I gave up on perfection a long time ago.


Tonya September 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

This is nearly my favorite thing you have written. Such excellent advice! Thanks!


Jacci September 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I totally agree tonya! I needed to hear this in a big way. Thanks as always Katy!


JOyce September 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Ha! I love it! I also took children to school in that same condition. And there are times I leave the house hoping I don’t see anyone I know. lol. And dust bunnies are permanent residents of my house (two dogs) Thanks for the great post!


Trish September 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

This is a good reminder. I am too apt to opt (!) for perfection. And I also hole up in my house for days.

I have a query, and it is strictly out of curiosity. Why do so many people take their kids to school? Are you in a situation where there are no buses or are they not convenient? A friend told me her kids would be on the bus for more than an hour, so she takes them. I was lucky when I was a kid because I had a pretty easy bus ride to school.


Katy September 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm

My kids could take public transportation, (and often do) but they’re often not ready in time. And frankly, I really enjoy the distraction-free conversations that we have en route. They always take the bus home.

They’ll be off on their own too soon, so I’m treasuring (almost) every moment for now.



LazyretirementgirlJackie September 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

My daughter is a senior in college now, and I still treasure the memories of driving her to high school every morning. Great conversations, good fun, and just quantity time together.


Trish September 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm

how great! I was the youngest of 8, so unfortunately my parents were kinda done with kids by the time I was in high school. Your kids are very lucky.


Heather September 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm

It was great to see you today! Thanks for playing “Catch the Baby” with my wobbly kid. I’ll have my toothpaste ready for the next time you visit.


Katy September 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I’ll have my teeth ready next time anyway. It’s not actually the norm for me so be so unbathed, braless and tooth-fuzzy.



Ellen September 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

it was the visit that was important, not how you were! Friend except for you, not what you haven’t done!


megyn September 26, 2013 at 5:17 pm

This was so, so needed. I tend to be one who won’t let people come over until my house is SPOTLESS…and I mean, scrub off every child print on the wall spotless. I’m trying to get more lax, and it’s helped that I’ve found a great community of moms at my younger son’s co-op preschool. I’ve found that it also helps to find friends who don’t have perfect houses and have people over anyway. It lets me feel far more comfortable to be myself. I’m also trying to stop my perfectionism as our oldest was just diagnosed with OCD, and I’m seeing firsthand how perfectionism is holding him back (like not learning to read because he can’t do it perfectly the first time). Thanks for the timely reminders to tell perfection to f*ck off.


Jean September 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Thank you for reminding all of us what is really important–I needed to hear this!


Hope :) September 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm

YES. I’ve been putting off inviting some friends over to the house because it’s not “Real Simple”-perfect at the moment. We’re certainly not living in squalor — and we have close friends over all the time, and as I survey the scene at the moment, I wouldn’t be dismayed at all for friends to drop in right this second — but newer, less-known friends (whom we’d really love to get to know better)? I haven’t been able to bring myself to invite them! So weird, I know. Thanks for giving me a gentle kick to get over my “Real Simple” dreams and move on back to our imperfect, and wonderful, reality. 🙂


Alison September 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Oooh, thanks for linking to Heather’s blog….


Samantha September 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I love this blog. What a perfect reminder to live in the present! I need a reminder like this.


Vivian September 26, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I battle perfectionism every day. Sometimes I win and just get the job done and other days I don’t. I actually told myself out loud on Wednesday just get the job done out loud. It worked. I too can stay holed up at home if I don’t force myself to take part in outside activities. I’m really pushing myself for the last couple of weeks to get out but the house really deserves more attention. This weekend my husband and I will tackle the house together. Everything is such a fine balance, trade off. Thanks for this blog it was a great reminder and encouragement. Thank goodness for friends and family who don’t care about a person’s present physical state. I would be friendless if this were not the case in my life.


dusty September 27, 2013 at 3:01 am

I can understand what you’re saying about perfection. I too went for years making sure everything was perfect before someone came over to visit. What is happening now, and it’s a good thing, is that the older I get the less I care about it. However, with that being said, I don’t think that showering and brushing your teeth before leaving the house is about being perfect. I think it’s about being clean. It only takes 10 minutes to shower or you could take a hooker bath, but to leave the house without brushing your teeth, you can’t be that pressed for time.


dusty September 27, 2013 at 3:48 am

Sorry I don’t totally agree with you on this one. I can understand the “not trying to be perfect” aspect but I think you should take 10 minutes before you leave the house to wash your pits and brush your teeth. That’s just being presentable and clean.


Katy September 27, 2013 at 6:11 am

I agree with you, but the message to come on over came while I was not at home, (I was driving my son to school) so I would have had to swing back to the house, which would have added an extra hour to process. I normally shower and such after the kids are at school as we only have one bathroom.

And worry not, I didn’t actually smell bad.



Jo@simplybeingmum September 27, 2013 at 4:11 am

Realising perfection doesn’t exist I gave up on the quest a while back. I’m having much more fun now.
Literally it was suffocating me. Not in all things – some things I’ve never really cared about and hence never strode to do my ‘very best’ in but other areas I’d literally plan everything to death, to the point of total inertia.
Easy come, easy go, nowadays – a bit of freewheeling!


Marie September 27, 2013 at 9:20 am

I gave up perfection for Lent when I was 45. It was the only sacrifice I was ever successful at!


Carol September 27, 2013 at 9:29 am

Thanks for the reminder. I have family coming to visit tomorrow and was cleaning my fool head off and decided to take an email break when I came upon your post. Breathe, it reminded me. The guests are there to see you, not your house. Simple, but easy to forget sometimes.


emmer September 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm

or as quilters say: “better finished than perfect.”


Nicole September 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I waffle between “Ta – Done!!” and “Finished is the look I’m going for with this one.”


Kathleen September 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I heard a speaker say, “If you came to see me, come on in. If you came to see my house, please make an appointment.”


Tracy September 30, 2013 at 9:04 am

I love this saying. I think I might actually make a sign and put it on the front door.


Denise September 28, 2013 at 4:40 am

As I’ve become older, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself. I don’t worry as much about everything having to be “perfect” as much anymore, and I find myself being more able to live in the moment. At the end of the day, I’m less tired, I think I’m more enjoyable to be around, and I’m happier with myself since I let go of the quest for perfection.


Katy September 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

I agree with you 100%. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, which is a very freeing mindset.



Tina S. September 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I loved this post. It took me a long time, but I’ve learned to put sanity ahead of perfection. Our condo is usually rather cluttered and could be cleaner, but I’ve learned to accept that it’s a work in progress.

I realized that I was really ok with the situation when my sister came over one day recently and remarked (rather rudely) that she could never live in a place like ours that was not super clean and organized. I calmly told her that I had too much on my plate to keep everything spotless and uncluttered, and that I had decided to not stress about the situation. And that she didn’t have to stay if it made her uncomfortable. (She did stay, and we actually had a nice visit.)


Ann Y. September 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

Thank for the advice…I need to remind myself of that more often ! Getting better about giving up the attempt at perfection….Have to share – about a month ago I noticed the flapper on the ice dispenser in the refrigerator door was leaking air ( wasting energy) and I bought a new flapper on Amazon for 6 bucks in an attempt to avoid a service call. Not a good idea…could not get it to work and put a blip on the panel. The service man had a terrible time fixing it ( made me feel better) and put another blip on the panel – grey blob areas on the black. It could be replaced for 129 bucks, but was just cosmetic. I was good…I told myself I can live with it. But my eye went to it everytime I was in the kitchen. Yesterday, cleaning out the junk drawer found a permanent black marker, thought, what the heck….and IT WORKED. No more gray blob in a field of black. I am so excited I got it to look good and was frugal, too !


Bonnie September 30, 2013 at 8:48 am

Thank you so much for the imperfection post. It really hit home today and made me smile and feel much better about the chicken poo on my shoes here at work! Thank you, thank you.


Katie October 13, 2013 at 6:31 am

Thanks for this, Katy.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: