Good Enough Is The New Perfect — Thank Goodness

by CountryFriedMama on May 25, 2011

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This post is part book review, part announcement, part rambling reflection on my mothering experience. Excuse the many digressions that are about to follow.

In less than 48 hours, Miss D. will turn five. The past five years have been wonderful and frustrating and exhausting and hilarious and challenging.

During that time, I have pursued just about every kind of work/family combination possible. I stayed home with her for three months after her birth. Then I went back to work full time as a high school teacher and wrung my hands over the loss of her company all day long.

When she was 10 months old, we moved from Massachusetts to Alabama, where we could afford to live on one paycheck (Country-Fried Daddy’s). Then I started teaching one class online. Then I taught four.

Later, I fell into the best freelance writing gig I could have asked for and worked from home. A few hours a week…a few more hours a week…a few more.

I have reinvented myself a half a dozen times since Miss D. was pushed and prodded and pulled into this world nearly five years ago. I am lucky to have had lots of choices. I know that. I also know that none of them has been perfect. Have they been good enough?

When Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple sent me their book to review two months ago (Has it really been so long? Sorry, ladies!), I fell right into the personal stories of the working women they interviewed. “Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood” is chock full of facts and data about trends in working motherhood, which is what I would expect from two writers with backgrounds in law, teaching and journalism. The part that resonated for me, though, were the personal stories — Becky’s and Hollee’s and the many women with whom they spoke.

I think it was a good time for me to read this book, to see that lots of women find ways to pursue careers that can turn out to be good enough for them and for their families. I read this and realized that if I’m feeling right now like it might be time for a little more career in my life, five years after I walked away from my last one, that is acceptable. I might not see that many other moms around me making that decision, but it is acceptable.

Which brings me to the announcement part of this wordy post. We’re moving. But not to where we have long expected we would go. Country-Fried Daddy got a fabulous academic fellowship that will take us north for 11 months to where the ivy grows on brick, the winter rolls in off the Atlantic Ocean, and the mommies — in far larger numbers — work. It is an amazing opportunity for him. I think it might be a good one for me, as well.

We will trade our sprawling suburban yard for the confines of an overpriced city apartment. Miss D. will go to a fabulous PUBLIC kindergarten on the school bus. The Belle will attend pre-school all day with the children of geniuses and professors. Country-Fried Daddy will spend his time learning and writing and hanging out with interesting people. And I will be minutes away from a bunch of wonderful colleagues with whom I generally only collaborate via e-mail.

It’s an opportune time to re-evaluate what kind of good enough will make a near-perfect work/family balance now.

I recently stumbled across a PSA created by Girl Guides of Canada that is part of the organization’s “I Am A Girl” campaign. In the video, little girls missing their front teeth and wearing pony tails tell the camera, “I don’t have to grow up to be a full-time mother. I don’t have to grow up to be  a full-time career woman. I have to grow up to be both.”

Ouch.

Poor stressed-out Canadian Girl Guides. It can be done, kids. I’m almost certain.

I read about it in a book.

It must be true.

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Trademark your blog name in three easy steps | Country-Fried Mama
June 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Densmore
Twitter: suedensmore
May 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

North? Back in our direction?

Cool.

In every way possible!!

Reply

CountryFriedMama
Twitter: countryfried
May 27, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Yes, ma’am! Was thinking today it would be fun to take the girls to a football game this fall (to see the band, of course). :-D

Reply

Kelly May 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Wow, Rebecca! That sounds really exciting! I guess you never really know what life has in store.

Reply

Bubbe May 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Here’s the big news. If you do it right , you will reinvent yourself till the day you die. Every experience builds on the last one and being a mother makes you better at all of them.

Reply

CountryFriedMama
Twitter: countryfried
May 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

True dat, Mama.

Reply

An Authentic Life
Twitter: KatieWaltersBzn
May 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Ooo, I can’t wait to hear about your new adventure…how fun!

I also appreciate how the career/family balance shifts and changes and bounces around as our needs change as well as those of our little darlings, especially when they aren’t so little anymore (personally speaking!)

Thanks for sharing CFM!!!
KT

Reply

Jana@AnAttitudeAdjustment.com
Twitter: janatude
May 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I’m so excited for you! Hope you enjoy that ivy!

Reply

CountryFriedMama
Twitter: countryfried
May 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I am intimidated by the ivy.

Reply

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