“If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well.”
Tell me, does this make you cringe? Sometimes it does me and I like things to be done well.
I’m pretty sure this saying has done significant damage to positive homekeeping and homekeepers. Not because it’s wrong. It isn’t wrong. Whoever came up with it may have been genius.
If it’s worth doing at all, it is worth doing well.
How, then, can it be damaging? Because it’s used incorrectly. It’s good advice, but it’s not everything.
This proverb, I believe, was coined to convince people not to be careless and slack~ to do a good job on any task that they thought important enough to undertake. I’m all for that! I don’t think it was ever intended to make people feel guilty because they weren’t doing everything as well as it could possibly be done or ought to be done, or to keep people from undertaking a task unless they knew they could do it perfectly.
The reality is, sometimes we can’t do a good job.
The idea that we shouldn’t do anything that we can’t do “right” is, with all due respect to us perfectionists, nonsense!
Sometimes it may be a good idea to refrain from doing something we aren’t capable of doing adequately, but with most homekeeping tasks even that doesn’t happen. We have to have the courage to do things poorly, sometimes.
Time, money, energy, intelligence, memory, knowledge, experience, skills, materials, tools, physical ability, mental stability and strength, information, emotional condition, cognitive ability, other people, weather, interruptions, priorities, habits, character, other obligations, and more, all affect how well we can perform a task. We don’t have absolute and immediate control over any of these things.
So, I guess we can’t do anything unless everything lines up perfectly. Right?
Uh, no. Somehow I don’t think that would work. The best homekeepers throughout history were not successful because everything lined up.
Please look at this adage through the lens of reality.
If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well. If it’s worth doing well, it may be worth doing poorly if that’s the best you can do.
When it comes to homekeeping, by all means, do your best. Not someone else’s best but YOUR best.
Not your imaginary best.
Not what you wish was your best.
Not what someone else thinks is your best.
Not what ought to be your best.
Not what was your best.
Not what would be your best under other circumstances.
Not what could be your best.
Not what will be your best in the future.
But what is your best.