Let’s do it all imperfectly*: a manifesto

Dear Home-Ec101,

I’m going crazy, my house is a wreck, my kids are a mess, my job is in shambles, I’m broke. I feel like I’m failing adulthood miserably, can you help?



WinkIvy says:

Boy, do I ever hear ya. I’ve been exactly where you’re at. We women have so many hats we need to wear. We’re mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, employees, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, housekeepers, caretakers, and at night (and sometimes in the afternoon) we’re expected to take off all those hats and then put on our sex kitten hats. It’s no wonder women go crazy with frightening regularity.

I’m here to tell you that unless you happen to be a Stepford wife, you cannot do it all. Oh, you can run a scam to make people think you’re “doing it all”, but every single extremely successful woman I know has some type of Achilles’ heel.

The problem is, we let it eat at us. And it makes it very easy to slip into a rut of not just not getting it all done, but not getting *anything* done. The first thing you have to do is slip out of that mindset that you’re going to do it all. Instead, you’re going to do as much as you can. And you’re not going to do everything perfectly.

You have to punch your inner perfectionist in the nose and suck it up, dig in, and get to work on changing the things you don’t like about your life. Some things are easier to change than others.

I used to fight depression, and my mother would always tell me, “If you would only get your house cleaned up, you would feel so much better.” It never ceased to make me angry- the root of my problem was that I was broke and had no career going, not that my house was dirty.

Finally, I started focusing on the things I could control. One of those things was keeping my house somewhat clean. I’ll admit, my house is not spotless and never will be, but that’s part of the charm, I think.

When I started focusing on what I could control, I became much happier and good things began to slide my way almost immediately. Believe in yourself, and do what you can. That’s all we really can do. We don’t have to be Bree VanDeKamp or Stepford wives to be successful people.

*Title shamlessly stolen from Ani DiFranco’s song Imperfectly, and also the title of a friend of mine’s blog.


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  4. Carye on March 12, 2007 at 11:00 am

    I’m late in reading, but this is the single-best thing on the whole site. Giving ourselves permission to be imperfect, and just BE. Bravo!

  5. […] far as the realtor and our house?  Today is the day to follow our manifesto and be imperfect.  The house can wait, my child needs to be held.  Even if things are out of […]

  6. Kathy T. on March 6, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    I love you guys! You make me happy.

  7. garnet on March 6, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Today I am going to imperfectly straighten up my bedroom. Thanks for the permission to be imperfect.

  8. knitaddict on March 6, 2007 at 9:32 am

    That is so true Ivy…controlling what you CAN control is KEY! I remember after I had my daughter I went through a little postpartum blues. I had to have emergency surgery when she was 2 weeks old…so I couldn’t hold her for several weeks. I just concentrated on what I could do…how many new moms can proudly welcome guests into their house? Man, it was SO clean, what I couldn’t do myself, I delegated to my husband…and I was SO hormonal, he was AFRAID to defy me! But, it really helped me pull myself out of my funk…good advice Ivy!

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