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The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good OK

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f you’ve been paying attention and/or are stalkingme, you might have noticed a distinct lack of new content around here lately, and you’ve probably concluded that I’ve just been busy/lazy/continuing to use parenthood as a convenient excuse not to adult.

(Shut up, Amber, no one has noticed your lack of posts. Well, other than your parents, obviously. Hi, mum! I’m still alive!)

Actually, though, the reason is even less interesting than any of those options,  because, the truth is, I’ve just been in a complete funk.

It started with my WordPress theme breaking in a small, totally insignificant way, that didn’t have the slightest bearing on how I was actually using it, but which might possibly have caused issues down the line, so which we decided to change, because, future-proofing and all that.

It should only really have taken a day, at most, to change the theme.

Instead, it ended up taking approximately THE REST OF MY FREAKING LIFE. Because, no, people, I am not yet finished: and I’ve started to come to the conclusion that I never WILL be because, no matter how much time I spend on tweaking the blog design, it’s never quite right – and before long, I’d started to feel like I couldn’t possibly put new content onto a site that was anything less than PERFECT.

So, I changed the theme, then I changed it again. Then I changed it a third, fourth and fifth time. Then I changed it back. Then I changed it back AGAIN. Then I cried. Then I went to bed, and, when I got up in the morning, I realised the blog had become a convenient metaphor for my life, and that I now couldn’t do much of ANYTHING, really, until it was PERFECT.
pink slogan sweater with black jeans and pink sneakers

My head feels cluttered by my blog design,” I told Terry, who was stoically helping me in my mission to make my new theme look exactly like my old theme, but also totally different from it. “And I feel like if my blog’s a mess, my life is a mess, too, so, I guess I’ll just keep working on it until it’s absolutely perfect, and then I’ll  be able to get on with my life again.”

But that moment never came – and, instead, I just kept on making changes to the design, then deleting them and starting over. And over, and over, and over.  Finally, in search of inspiration, I started to have a look around at some other blogger’s sites, and that’s when the descent into comparison hell truly began, because, it turned out that every single blogger out there was better than me, in every single way.  I mean, there they were, all of these women young enough to be my daughters (Like, I’d have had to have had them when I was really, really young, obviously, but STILL…), with websites which probably cost more than our car, and which had to have a little “location” setting at the top of each post, so we’d know which exotic location the blogger was writing from THIS week.

And then, there was me, with a temporary homepage which had started to feel suspiciously permanent, and a plastic spoon dangling from my hall ceiling.

It was hard not to draw comparisons, you know?

Now, if I was wise, I’d have left it there. I’d have backed slowly away from the glossy websites, and their perfect owners, and I’d have focused on my OWN blog, rather than on everyone else’s.

But I am not wise.

So, instead, I opened up Instagram.

Yes, I  hate me, too.

Over on Instagram, everyone was onto their fifth holiday of the year, with the exception of the ones who were onto their tenth, and the ones who’d just finished decorating their new mansions, and were waiting for Homes & Gardens to come and photograph them.

One woman had done a flatlay featuring her immaculately dressed baby, sleeping on an artfully-rumpled white sheet, surrounded by rose petals. ROSE PETALS, people. I can’t get Max to lie down right now without a complete meltdown (I’ll leave it up to you to work out whether I’m talking about him or me…), and, even if I did, he’d just try to eat the rose petals. Oh, and he sleeps in a sleeping bag, in a pitch dark room, or he doesn’t sleep at all. So now I feel like I’m letting him down by not having these gorgeous, artistic photos of him: like, what if one day he comes home from school, all, “Where are the photos of me in a milk bath, surrounded by rose petals, mum? All my friends have photos with rose petals?”

I only wanted to change my blog theme. Instead, I ended up questioning my very existence and relevance.

Like, seriously, though, WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ME, I wondered, as I looked at more glossy, expensive websites, filled with professional photos of women who were surely models, living in what appeared to be either boutique hotels or one of the Kardashian’s mansions. And, again, there was I, a middle-aged mum with a house full of IKEA’s finest, and a large collection of stripey jumpers. I mean, don’t get me wrong here: I love my house, I like my life, and I know perfectly well that some people are going to read this post and instantly want to scold me over it, and tell me I have absolutely nothing to feel bad about.

And I don’t. I know that.

The thing is, though, sometimes it’s hard not to play the comparison game, and I realise this is a complete #BLOGGERPROBLEM, but I suspect that if you are a blogger – or any kind of content creator, basically – you probably know all too well that unique frustration that comes with knowing exactly what you want to do, but lacking the skill/time to actually do it. In my case, that frustration ended up becoming completely paralysing, because I got it into my head that if I could just get my website to look exactly the way I wanted it, somehow everything else in my life would just drop into place, too. Which, SPOILER ALERT, no, it probably wouldn’t, would it?

All of which is to say that I haven’t updated my blog lately because I’ve been too busy tinkering with the layout, and having a short, but intense, identity crisis.

I’m over it now.

Well, at least, I HOPE I am: because, what I’ve learned from this week is that the perfect isn’t just the enemy of the good – it’s also the enemy of the “OK,” and the “it’ll have to do”. I could literally – LITERALLY – spend the rest of my life trying to achieve perfection, and I STILL wouldn’t manage it, because there will always, always, be new heights to scale, and new challenges to master.

And that’s kind of cool, really.

More importantly, though, I have 25 unfinished posts in my drafts folder (That’s not an exaggeration, by the way – it’s literally 25 posts…), and they’re not going to get written while I sit here changing my font every five minutes, are they?

So: the site has had a change of theme (Or, at least, the homepage has – the rest is still pretty much the same…), but it’s still not even close to being finished, so I’m going to ask you kindly to refrain from listing all of the things that are currently wrong with it, or telling me how much you preferred the old theme, because, a) I know, and I’m working on it, I promise, and, b) Me too, kinda, but it’s not coming back.

I am, though. Back, I mean.

So… let’s do this.

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14 Comments
  • Belinda
    October 22, 2018

    Oh, Amber it’s like you have been reading my thoughts, I sat last night as I have for several days on and off trying to create a website look similar to yours, trust me I’m NOT trying to copy you but for the few years I have been blogging or rather trying to be a good blogger I have switched themes on WordPress so many times. I try to work out how can I have a lovely clean white page which I assume after reading your blog is a homepage, but how on earth do I get that look? I’m probably not making any sense here but I think you’ll get the jest of what I’m trying to say. (I hope) I’ve loved your website since I came across it not so long ago, I looked at it and thought this woman has got it right and that’s how mine should look. Anyways I’m an amateur compared to you so forgive me for waffling on. Oh, and did I mention I’m a friend of Lila and John? John actually came and stayed at my home in Wales on holiday about twenty five years ago, with his friend (My Cousin) Anyway I don’t want to bore you with all the details. I clearly have a lot still to learn 🤔 In a world were creating a nice white clean crisp website is so expensive I would be ever so grateful for any tips. I do pay for my website and planning to upgade but it doesn’t look like I can find that almost perfect look., or perhaps it’s just me who doesn’t have the necessary skills for the graphics needed. Hope this message finds you, Terry and Max well x

    • Amber
      October 22, 2018

      Ah, what a small world! I just saw John and Lila yesterday – I’ll have to tell to check out your blog! I’m not sure how useful this will be, but I have a post on blog design here:

      https://foreveramber.co.uk/blog-design-tips/

      and there’s one on choosing a theme here:

      https://foreveramber.co.uk/how-to-choose-a-theme-for-your-blog

      I’m probably not the best person to be giving advice on this, though, given that I’ve spent the entire morning making tiny changes to my homepage again 😉

      • Belinda
        October 22, 2018

        Thank you kindly Amber I’ll check them out. John will know me as Ann McCool tell him Roddy’s Cousin x

  • Jennifer
    October 22, 2018

    Hang in there through this. I had an identity crisis in August. Horrible and paralyzing. (And people just do not understand)
    I wish you peace and warmth around you.

  • Steph
    October 22, 2018

    Ah that crippling search for perfection, I know it only too well! It holds me back at work no end and is the main reason my blog and my Instagram account remain firmly in the realms of amateur. I regularly think to myself, ‘Gosh, if I put a little time and money in ands some advice I might be able to make this kinda good!’ and then my brain goes into panic mode at the thought and I back away slowly, because I’d rather not do it than do it badly! Maybe one day. Anyway, I’ve always found your blog and your accounts hugely inspiring, because as much as they always look beautifully curated and glossy to me, your writing shows that you are a real person managing a real life with real problems and it’s so endearing – you have such a lovely style and your honesty is so valuable to you readers, countless times has one of your posts made me feel better or more confident about something because they remind me that I’m not that weird, singular person that doesn’t find life effortless – most of us don’t! I know it doesn’t help the thoughts go away but I wouldn’t want you to be impossibly perfect, I like you just the way you are (oh god… that just got really creepy sounding! Sorry!)

  • Emerald
    October 22, 2018

    Change is good. 😊 Great new theme, it looks very grown-up. And those 27 posts aren’t unfinished – well they are, but they’re future posts. So that’s brilliant because a lot of your content is nearly complete. 😄

    I follow a lot of artists and stained artists on IG and much of the work in phenomenal. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes I look at their layouts and think “yikes, mine’s a mess!” And of course, there are some beautiful, minimal blogs out there which I love; all muted colours, but that wouldn’t necessarily be right for me or my content.

    I would be lost without WP and Pipdig!

  • May
    October 22, 2018

    Oh the constant search for perfection, I know that struggle all too well. I’m not a blogger but it affects the way I do my homework, the way I take notes, the way I try to act around others… This is definitely a very relatable post for perfectionists, bloggers or not.
    For what it’s worth, I really like the new theme

  • Myra
    October 22, 2018

    Will you hate me if I said I laughed all the way through this post? I’m sorry you are stuck and frustrated, but you write so well and with great humourous. I’m sure you’ll get it fixed soon.

  • Anita
    October 22, 2018

    I did notice. But from your Insta Stories I learned that you were working on your theme, so I waited patiently for new posts. I did, however, notice the changes that happened to your site and was like: “Of course Amber manages to change her theme to look even better than it did before. Should I take notes for my own blog? Probably…” So, while I perfectly well understand your struggle (I mean, ‘perfect’ is indeed the enemy of completing anything… My mantra is: “Done is better than perfect”, and so I try to be done and move on), just know that others look to you the same as you look to the other ‘perfect’ bloggers. 😊 The instagram account for my blog, for example, is currently in a rut, because how can I ever compete with all those perfect accounts…? 🙃

  • Lila Athanaselis
    October 22, 2018

    As long as you can post up blog posts who cares about what it looks like?
    Imagine how many people are wishing they could have your blog and are jealous of the content 😳

    I am only ever here for the content, maybe because it’s on mobile view I don’t notice anything else, plain old pictures of your family, and your lovely home 🏡

    No need for change, just keep being you and churning out your amazing blog posts, and we will be happy, as will any new readers, who will appreciate your refreshing style ❤️

  • Sharon
    October 22, 2018

    But you know what, none of those other bloogers make me smile as much as you do. You have a fantastic way with words. This killed me: “And then, there was me, with a temporary homepage which had started to feel suspiciously permanent, and a plastic spoon dangling from my hall ceiling.” Your content is interesting to read and I think your website always looks fresh. It’s one of the few I read these days.

  • Annie
    October 23, 2018

    Ooh I felt compelled to comment. I have found that my perfectionist tendencies have massively increased since becoming a mum – i think it’s cause of the sh*tshow that is dealing with babies and young children that I HAVE to have the rest of my life in PERFECT order and thus I also get hung up on the most minute of details. You’re not alone!

  • Justina
    October 25, 2018

    Just here to say that “Middle aged mum with lots of stripey jumpers” is my favorite kind of blog. You’re the blog I read when I’m down and I need to laugh or when I need a good dose of real talk. Also where I cry and feel like someone else gets it. Thank you for sharing about the down times and I hope your funk doesn’t last too long.

  • catherine
    November 1, 2018

    You make me laugh so much. Thank you.

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