The Perfect Mom
Claire Huxtable was a role model for many of us growing up. She was TV’s perfect mom of the 80s.
When I first was introduced to the book, Good Enough is the New Perfect, I had in my mind it would be a manual on how to find your own level of good enough. That there would be lots of practical how-to’s and applications. Upon completing the book, it dawned on me that it was nothing like I thought, yet it still gave me the encouragement and practical advice on how to redefine one’s life and career.
In the New Perfect (my shortened nickname for this book!), Becky and Hollee weave their own personal stories throughout the stories of 90+ women. Their research actually encompassed hundreds of women. The majority of these women had higher education and professional jobs, something at first I didn’t think that myself or other women would necessarily relate to. As I read through their stories though, I found that what these ladies were doing, we could all do. It all comes down to accepting that we do not have to be perfect. That we can create our own definitions of success. Good enough is good enough and each woman, each family, makes the decision on what that good enough is.
The authors do a great job of explaining the history of women working hard to break into the workforce, and the ground that was laid by the generation before the Boomers. The Boomers worked hard to have their careers and prove that they were as capable as men in the workplace. By the time the Generation Xers came along, women were figuring out that maybe they could have it all, but at what cost? Their family, their health, their sanity? It was time to do something different.
Women leaving the workforce to stay home with kids?
Many mothers made the decision to not return to work after the birth of a child, or maybe a second child. Even though these women loved their children, many of them felt as if they had given up an important part of themselves. They didn’t fit in at work, yet they didn’t fit in at home either. This was a very common theme throughout the book, these women felt very alone. Women weren’t talking about these feelings with one another, leaving them feeling even more isolated.
For a number of years there were the Mommy Wars, which is talked about in the book (Chapter 3). The thing is, the Mommy Wars were more about stay-at-home moms versus the working mother. The Wars have subsided a bit, and good thing too. The line between the two sides has gotten very complicated. In reality, there are more options today than ever. In reading the stories of the women in this book, you will see that there is full-time, part-time, flex-time, job sharing, telecommuting, contract work, freelance work, and self-employment, to name just a few of the options.
Defining our own New Perfect
To find and define our new perfect, we have to look at not only the choices that are available, we have to examine what we truly want to do, how we want to spend our time. We have to define our priorities and create our new perfect around those priorities. We have to get creative and find ways to enable our families and our careers to fit together in a way that works for us. It doesn’t matter if it does or doesn’t work for someone else, your family is the one you have to make decisions for.
While technology has made things harder for us in some ways (the expectations of being available and connected are higher, Chapter 6) if we allow it to, technology can open doors for us that have never been available to the generations before us. The use of the internet, smart phones, Skype and more have opened endless possibilities.
While the opportunities are endless, they will not just drop in your lap. The women interviewed in the New Perfect, as well as the authors, Becky and Hollee, had to do a lot of soul searching and research, as well as trying things and failing at them. Sometimes the only way you can find what works is to figure out what doesn’t. Only by digging deeply were they able to arrive at their definition of success and being good enough to satisfy themselves.
Monitor your situation regularly
I also want to add from personal experience, and I am sure the authors would concur, you have to constantly assess how things are going. Not second guess yourself, but if your circumstances change, you may need to alter your plans.
A little bit of my background. I was born in 1965. I am right on the cusp of the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Technically I am GenX but I have always grouped myself with the Boomers because I married and had a child so young, it propelled me into adulthood before my time! I had 4 children early on, the youngest being born when I was 28. I did not have a career; I never really had an opportunity to start one!
One thing I did know, was that I didn’t really want to leave my children full-time. It was important for me to be with them, not always, but a good percentage of time. Even more important to me was flexibility. I needed to be able to change things around if someone got sick or there was something special the school. Having my janitorial service gave me a lot of the flexibility I was seeking. If you go on to read my journey as a work-at-home mom, you will see that I was continuously adapting and adjusting to what worked right for my family at the time, changing careers and starting businesses as was needed.
I truly enjoyed Good Enough is the New Perfect. I feel if women will read it and open their minds to all the possibilities that are available to them, they can come to a solution that works for them. It may not be perfect, but it will good enough for their family! If you visit Hollee and Becky at The New Perfect, you can read an learn more about the featured women in the book!
Click here to purchase your own copy of Good Enough is the New Perfect. It will be available on Amazon any day now!
And if you are seeking and searching and trying to determine just what you really want to do with your life, take a look at my services I provide for Discovering the Real You.