The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The
If you’ve been paying attention and/or are stalking me, 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.
“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.