Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I readily admit that I'm a perfectionist. I've always known that I had high standards for myself and I try to stop short of casting those standards onto others. (Those of you who know me well can stop laughing now.)

This past weekend, we had our neighbors over two nights in a row, first for dessert and the next night for games. They are great people and we love spending time with them. After they left on the first night, J. and I were talking about how we should have them over more often.

Later, as I was picking up before bed, I was still thinking about our night. There was a time when we had people over every Thursday for game night. In fact, we had people over a couple of times each week. I realized how much I miss that. Of course, life is different now. We have kids and schedules and blah, blah, blah.

Honestly, the kids and schedule and blah, blah aren't the reason we don't have friends over more often. It's because of my perfectionism. I'm not going to lie and tell you that my house is always perfect and clean. I will tell you that you (or anyone else) will never see it if it's not. Unless I have the time to get things just so, I just can't invite people in to see it. This is where the kids, schedule and blah, blah come in. It's a rare occurrence lately for the house to be perfect and still live life.

What I realized that night was that my perfection is causing us to miss out on spending time with wonderful people that we genuinely like. Not just our neighbors but so many of our other friends also. Because I've been holding on to this idea that in order for people to have fun at our house, there can't be any crumbs under the table or dust on the shelf, we're all missing out on what's most important in life: relationships.

I'm making progress. The second night, I picked up much less before they came over and I even wore my comfy pants while they were here. You know what? They didn't even notice the crumbs under the table and they wore their comfy pants, too. We had even more fun than the first night.

I don't know when I picked up this habit of thinking that things have to be perfect but I'm letting it go. I'm learning that I'm really the only one that cares about dusty shelves. I don't notice it when I visit others and they aren't whipping out the white glove when they visit me. That's not why they're here. It's time for me to stop letting perfection get in the way of living.


  1. We are our own worst critic. We are the only ones who think the house isn't clean enough and in the process, we miss too much. I was the same way, but think I'm doing pretty well with changing. Now, my house looks like people live there and not like a museum.

  2. Oh man, I am soooooooo just like you.

    I'll try to change with you. (but I can't. Can I?)

  3. I read in my bible study this week "Perfectionists always loose." So true. You loose out lots of relationships. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. That Comment was actually from me, not my husband!

  5. Mom was and STILL IS a perfectionist. But I am not. I let my kids mess and then I get up early and try to do what I can. What I can't do waits til tomorrow.

  6. And...
    When I go to someone elses house and they have dishes in the sink and dust on the tables, I feel SO much better about myself (meaning that it happens to all of us, I'm not alone)! We ALL have trouble keeping up, we shouldn't have to compound it by pretending to live in a perfect house everyday!
    Try leaving the dishes in the sink tonight and not making your bed in the morning! ;)

  7. I'm so bad at this, too! I would be mortified for anyone to see our house the way it is 97% of time time - you know, when we're LIVING in it! I've had to let a lot of this (mild?) obsession go since having my daughter. But just this afternoon, I was thinking about cancelling on dinner with a friend because my house is very lived in right now!