Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World :: Accepting “Imperfect” Help

Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World | A Simple Haven

Welcome to “Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World,” where Breanne from This Vintage Moment and I explore what it means to live purposefully in a world that bombards us with a million good things.

We’re just two moms on a journey toward being ok with not doing it all and fully embracing the season of life that we’re in–with all of its joys and limitations.

We’ll share about our crafting fails, what we’re currently saying “yes” and “no” to, and the beautiful reality of daily life. Won’t you grab a favorite drink and join us?

Here at ASH, I’ve made it no secret that I’m a recovering perfectionist. I probably mention it once a week.

I like to emphasize the recovering bit because it reminds me that:

a.) perfectionism is something that needs recovering from (because the pursuit of perfection is a recipe for frustration and stress–and if I’m honest? It makes things all about me) and

b.) the “-ing” means it’s an ongoing recovery–I’m still in process, I haven’t arrived, and that’s ok.

I’ll probably always tend toward wanting everything “just so.” But at least I’m in the place where I can (sometimes) catch myself mid-neurotic-pillow-arranging/fancy-dessert-making/fussing- -over-my-kids’-mess and say “Woah, Jenn. What’s the goal here, anyway?”

And if the answer is impressing others or meeting some wacky standard that actually doesn’t line up with my goals/values at all, I can dial things down a bit.

But in this process of recovery, you know what’s been hard accept?

Other people’s help…when it ruffles things that I tend to want “just so.”

Like where I put my kitchen tools, how and when my babies sleep, what my kids eat, etc.

What helped me learn to more readily accept help–especially help that didn’t look exactly as I’d choose? A season of great need.

My son was God’s tool to make me more flexible: an unexpected pregnancy (And a boy?! But I had all the girl stuff already!) that came while preparing for a cross-country move and ended with spending Christmas in the hospital with my newborn–in a town I’d lived in for about three weeks.

With a husband who’d just had double foot surgery and was about to start grad school and a new job. (For fun: picture Hubs in double foot-booties + me at 36 weeks pregnant asking our 20-month-old to bring us more pillows on the couch).

The bottom line? I was in no place to pursue perfectionism. Pursuing survival was more like it.

And it was my need for help that made me realize that “imperfect” help was better than no help.

And really? It wasn’t imperfect anyway. It was just fine. More than fine–it was a gift, something to receive with gratitude, not a critical heart.

I’d rather have to hunt for my can-opener later than not have someone help me with my dishes.

I’d rather have someone feed my kids junky stuff for a day than not have the help with them.

I’d rather someone pack my picture frames in the same box as my clothes and books than not have helping packing.

I realized that if something was a big enough issue to me, I could just respectfully say, “I’d actually prefer if you could do it like this.”

Otherwise, I could just shut my mouth and gratefully accept the help.

(I also realized there weren’t as many “big enough issues” as I’d thought).

Learning to accept help in various forms has been a journey for me. But being able to say “yes” more readily–even if it looks different than what I might prefer–is so freeing for this recovering perfectionist.

Do you struggle with saying “yes” to help?







About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • brenda venable

    woah jenn…………… I still to this day like to have the pillows arranged nicely on the sofa. After all, there are only 3 and some sort of order in my universe is necessary. Did I put the can opener in the wrong place? 🙂
    Your Aunt Virginia went through the same issue and once she fully accepted it, all was well in her universe. It’s an issue of what is important to you, what you can accomplish during each day to make your life/home/family content, safe and healthy. Your journey is going strong, trust me, you are on the right path.

  • I don’t usually have trouble accepting help, but there are a few things I will simply redo once the helper is gone. I’ve been known to refold laundry, and to hover over dish-dryers in order to intercept improperly placed dishes. I never thought of myself as a perfectionist until babies brought a slew of imperfect helpers. This last newborn stage was the first time I forgot to re-check the laundry. Progress?

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