When ‘Good Enough’ Becomes Great

When I was a young mom, one of favorite mantras was “It’s good enough.” Making the school lunches for the kids, I’d wonder if that little bag of gummy fruit snacks could pass as a fruit serving. Hmm. I don’t have any fruit, so you know what? It’s good enough.

The one-ply toilet paper is way cheaper than the name brand. Sold. Good enough.

My morning bed-head looked like a rats nest and a tumbleweed had a love child. Grabbing a rubber band for a quick pony tail, I’d check the mirror and think, “Good enough.”

My two-year-old dresses herself, deciding to go through her day in size eighteen month sweatpants and a clashing shirt (worn backwards for just a touch of toddler flair). Buckling her into the car seat for a trip to Grandma’s I sigh… Oh well, it’s good enough.

Oh sure, I’d dream of perfection. Things like two-ply toilet paper, soft beachy waves and a child who looked like she stepped out of a Baby Gap ad. But now that I have the benefit of some years and a little more wisdom, I have something to say to my younger self.

“You know what? Every time you consoled yourself with saying ‘It’s good enough’, you were wrong. It wasn’t just good enough. What you did? It was great.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have giggled my way through Target or the grocery store, checking out the get-ups on the toddler to eight-year-old set. Oh my Lord, is it entertaining. Cowboy boots and feather boas. Ninja turtles and light sabers. And of course the classic that never gets old, the little one who dressed ‘all by myself’ today, accompanied by the mom who is brave enough to just let it fly. Those moms made a loving choice to support their independent children.

I always told my husband in our early married days that I’d know when we’d arrived at financial stability. On that happy day, we’d be able to ditch the generic toilet paper (yes Virginia, there was such a thing as ‘generic toilet paper’) for Charmin, and we’d stop buying so many vegetables in a can.


That day did eventually come and it was a definite milestone. But it didn’t make our choices before that any better than the the new ones. We always made loving choices, and that’s what made it perfect.

Today, when I look at my life and the choices I make, I can feel like I did when I was raising my children. Well…They’re good enough. Certainly not great.

When I feel like that, I’ll look back on my younger days, when chaos ran the house, and my checkbook was lean. I didn’t see it then, but life was great. Those memories help me to understand that ‘great’ is never found in perfection. Great is discovered in all the parents and grandparents who make the best decisions they can everyday.

The smiles that result from the love in those choices change everything from ‘good enough’ to great.

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64 thoughts on “When ‘Good Enough’ Becomes Great

  1. “…great’ is never found in perfection.”

    Amen to that, Ceil!

    I gotta say, though, that tie-dyed, cow print, skeleton outfit is fabulous! Truly fabulous.

    Reminds me of taking my youngest to get groceries in his Darth Vader costume. He insisted I call him Darth Vader too. I think we brightened more than one passing Mom’s day. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sandi! You are one of my hero-moms. I never had to deal with costumes with my kids, so I don’t know how open to it I would have been. But now? I know life’s a wonderful adventure, so why not dress the part!

      I know you and your son would have made me smile!
      Sunday blessings,

  2. Well done. This is a great post, Ceil. I agree 100%

    Sometimes good enough is just that, good enough. The important thing is that as a family we are all happy and love and care for each other. So what if someone has two different coloured socks? It’s called style. I do it all the time. In my case it is called absent-minded. Like going upstairs to the bathroom and discovering I live in a bungalow. Good enough I suppose.

    The problem theses days is that we have too much choice. Have you seen how many different toothpastes there are in the supermarket? Or cheeses. Or wines and so on. The days of good enough were good days indeed.

    God bless you and yours.

    P.S. Look out tomorrow for a post on my Blog about my new humourous book. You know the one; the one you selected a story to appear in. It is now ready for publication. It’s just about good enough!

    • Hi Victor! How exciting about your newest book! You know I’ll be buying that one sure. Best of blessings on your sales and message!

      Style. Yes, I should have mentioned that. My daughter was trying to get her flair out there with the backwards short, but certainly this was her foray into style! Who knows, it may catch on yet.

      Hope you’re having a wonderful St. Joseph’s Day!

  3. Love this, Ceil! Now that I am a grandma, I accept and even enjoy the outfits picked out by our grandchildren, and I wonder, was I that accepting of our own daughters? I am so thankful God sees us as His great creation!

    • Hi Laurie! I’m right with you. I wasn’t really faced with the costume thing at a store, and so I have no idea how I would have reacted. Now? I love to see it at the stores, maybe it reminds me of the old days with my own kids. But I know I really admire the moms who don’t mind in the least.

      Those moms know what God knows, right? We are all beautiful and wonderful, no matter what we wear πŸ™‚
      PS Thank you for your support on FB my friend!

    • Hi Donna! Aww, thanks! I think it’s a universal experience, don’t you? We all think we stink at motherhood, cutting corners and being just ‘good enough’. But really, we are crushing it every day, making those loving decisions one after the other, minute to minute.

      I know you are continuing to do that, not only with your kids, but with the grands too. Don’t ever doubt that the love you carry for them makes you great!

    • Hi Dear! Well you know that goes both ways, don’t you?
      But we know that being a young mom is full of days when we think we’re being good enough. Little did we know that those were the wonder-days when we balanced little lives and home and husbands. It was all great…though I usually didn’t know it.

      Hoping this is a good day for you,

  4. Ah, yes, Ceil, the benefit of years and grace show us things from a better viewpoint. I loved these examples as I reflected on my own. How good we were at disparaging ourselves and often it can creep in even now if left unchecked!

    When I was teaching a junior high developmentally handicapped class, one of the posters I had on my wall talked about God making pencils with erasers because we all make mistakes. I loved it! I would often tell my students that each new day we get a fresh blank page to write on and it is up to us what we do with it. Isn’t it great that He is still giving us a new blank page with fresh mercies and grace?

    Is the last photo of your grandchildren?

    Have a blessed week ahead! I enjoy looking for you here on Sunday evenings!

    Love and hugs,

    • Hi Pam! I like that thought too. Pencils to draw, but erasers for the times when we mess up. Brilliant! You’re right about the disparaging thing too. I have a part of a talk I give on self-care covering how damaging our negative self-talk can be. Maybe that idea seeped into this post.

      The last photo was from last weekend when my daughter and her family visited. We were playing ‘hospital’ and the two girls and their new babies (my daughter is pregnant, so the older one is often pregnant too. It’s very funny!) were staying overnight in Nana’s hospital. In my bed of course. Those two are always the cutest playmates πŸ™‚
      Sunday blessings,

    • Hi Jean! Thank you for reading and commenting today!

      I’m so lucky to have the grandchildren in my life, my daughter is so generous about coming here, and inviting me out to their house too. They sure do light up my life, I know you’d agree your grands do the same for you too.

      Hope you had a wonderful St. Joseph’s Day,

  5. I love the photos, Ceil. I have a friend whose little girl’s favourite outfit includes wellies and fairy wings which always makes me smile! Then one day she was told she had to put on a hat because it was cold outside so she appeared with a straw sunhat! It’s so true that great is not found in perfection, but in love and making the best choices we can.

    • Hi Lesley! That little girl has some style! It’s so fun to watch kids develop and figure things out. Every step is blessed and beautiful, another move forward in life. Who are we to decide that’s not perfect?

      Our lives are paved with imperfection as we see, but you know, it’s more than likely just the right thing. May God show us the joy and beauty in our progress!

  6. I could so relate to this post, Ceil. Sometimes we hold ourselves to outrageously unattainable standards–tidy closets, spotless cars, gourmet dinners–that a year later won’t matter to anyone. Let’s give ourselves–and everyone else in the house–a break!

    • Hi Pam! I love that attitude. Perfection is overrated, and besides, who decides what perfect is anyway? Giving ourselves.a break is a great way to go. It certainly would keep us happier, that’s for sure.

      Being a young mother is hard enough without trying to make everything ‘just so’. Our children and our lives are such good gifts, let’s enjoy them!
      Sunday blessings,

  7. It’s more than good enough. It’s great! I love that. It’s so important to know perfection is only a perception. Perfectly imperfect. Sometimes I wish I had more of this wisdom when a very young mom, however having three toddlers I was kind of forced to make most things good enough! I thank God now for those lessons I learned to be okay with the mixture of imperfections as it really is what makes the world a much more colourful place.

    • Hi Lynn! I remember a song that has a line about ‘perfect imperfections.’ That’s a great image and a great saying to remember.

      Three toddlers??? Yikes, the fact that you made it through is a real testament to grace! God truly does use all of our circumstances and the people in our lives to speak of his gift and grace. It’s all perfect, we just have to accept that perfect may not look like the photo in our heads.
      What a gift it is that you can truly appreciate imperfection and see it as the color and joy that it is. I learn a lot from you.
      Sunday blessings,

  8. Your very best post to date!! I smiled every step of the read! Totally agree- EXCEPT- I would do without a meal or eat beanie- wearied instead of forgoing Charmin – one of my few must haves in life- but yes I need soft TP- LOL!
    Great job, My Friend!!

    • Hi Lulu! Thank you so much for your lovely words, I really appreciate them! I think we can all relate to parenting in our younger days. Always crazy, it felt like putting out fires every day, but you know, it sure was fun. Of course, I wish I really understood how perfect it was at the time.

      Hey, we all have standards. I gave in on the toilet paper, and it was a happy day when we got the plushy stuff. Funny what we remember, isn’t it? Those were precious days.
      Sunday blessings,

  9. This is not just good enough, it is great! May the younger moms read this and relax. Oh, if only I could have had this message back then. We all need so much patience, especially with ourselves! Thank you, wise woman.

    • Hi Mary! Thank you for your so kind and encouraging comment. I think you’re right, we do need people to point out how perfect our lives really are. Especially when they don’t resemble that at all. One other commenter used the phrase ‘perfect imperfection’ and that’s really a great way to describe us as young parents. We do our best, and love guides us…that makes us all great!

      You are a wise woman too my friend. Aren’t we blessed to know each other through our blogs and in person?
      Have a peaceful night,

    • Hi Linda! It’s funny how the older you get, the wiser you become. Experience is such a powerful teacher! I could have benefitted from this thought back in the day that’s for sure.

      I did have a great weekend, thank you! Wishing you a great Monday πŸ™‚

  10. “But it didn’t make our choices before that any better than the the new ones. We always made loving choices, and that’s what made it perfect.”
    Loving choices . . . Ceil, I cannot envision anything better, or more perfect, than that. What inspiration and hope you have shared here, my friend! We do the best we can in light of God’s love, and what we can’t put to rights, we pray that He will.
    Blessings, dear one!

    • Hi Martha! It’s true. If we make our decisions based on love, that’s really the best we can do. I like your added idea, that if we are not successful, we trust that God will make it right. Amen!

      Blessings right back to you, and hopes for a wonderful day πŸ™‚

  11. Wow Ceil – this isn’t good enough, it’s great! I’m a mentor Mom for a local MOPS (Moms of preschoolers) group and we just talked about this last week, as in don’t put yourself down. You are doing a great job and making good decisions every day… This was perfect.

    • Hi Mari! What a great thing you are doing in mentoring young moms! What a great group to be involved with, and I know you are sharing your wisdom with them. It’s such a great message to let them know that they are doing great! It often seems like no one understands how hard it is juggle it all, and we can feel like such a failure.

      I’m glad this message dovetailed so well with yours. Keep up your wonderful mentoring my friend, it’s so necessary.
      Monday blessings,

  12. Oh, what a sweet picture! They are just so adorable! We always put so much pressure on ourselves, don’t we? And, all along, we did the best we could, and that is all God was ever looking for. I needed this reminder, so , thank you, sweet friend. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Cheryl! Those children are such a hoot, they always make me smile. We had a lot of fun playing ‘hospital’.

      We all want to be perfect, and that desire can sink us right into feeling like nothing we do measures up. It’s so important to remember that no one is perfect! And if decisions are made with love, that’s enough. Love is always enough, and makes everything great.

      Thank you for your encouraging comment today my friend!

  13. Amazing, isn’t it, how perspectives change when grandchildren come along. πŸ™‚ Things that bothered us no longer do. We are okay with the “just okay.’ Love your thought today Ceil.

    • Hi Bill! Amen to that. I wish I understood how great things were in the old days. Here I was thinking I was less than, taking the easy ways out, but really, it was all wonderful.

      Just like now, right? God blessed us with grandchildren, and the wisdom that comes with that experience. Life is great!


  14. Truth! I only wish I had been as accepting of all the ‘good enoughs’ when my own were little. I’m afraid they have a bit of a lasting negative impression from me. I do encourage my daughter to let the grands be when it comes to dressing themselves. They are so stinkin’ cute in whatever they choose, like that precious little one in your photo! Thanks for this post, Ceil! I truly need to get by here on a regular basis. {{hugs}}, my friend!

    • Hi Anne! I don’t think there’s a parent alive who doesn’t think they messed up. It comes with the territory. It’s so important to remember the love we had for our children, and believe that our good intentions mixed with that love made what we did great. As one other commenter said, the rest we have faith to give to God.

      Our grands are just the cutest aren’t they? How blessed we are to have them in our lives.
      Thanks for visiting, you are welcome always!

  15. I love this one. I have to admit, in my younger years I said those words many times
    But even now, I utter the phase but follow it by “no it’s great”
    Thanks for reminding me.

    • Hi Jean! It doesn’t surprise me that you have so much wisdom. You know already how great things are right now! I think it’s really a reflection of being able to live in the moment, and realize how blessed we all are. We’re doing the best we can, and that makes what we do love-filled. That’s always great.

      I always love to see you here!

    • Hi Karen! Thanks for coming by during your break! I hope you are finding time to spend with your grandchildren (and your office too!).

      I didn’t think of it, but yes, adapting the thought that what we do in love and care is great can be used in many places in our lives. Who says what’s perfection anyway?

      Enjoy your week too πŸ™‚

  16. I love this, Ceil. How true that “great” is never found in perfection. We’re doing our kids and grandkids a favor when we don’t stifle their creativity. A few years ago a grand-daughter wore two different prints of socks on purpose. She still does and so do her sisters. According to them, other kids do, too. πŸ™‚ I find it kind of cool. I confess as a mom, I was probably too particular. I was always afraid my kids might be picked on if they didn’t have matched clothing. As a grandma, I have relaxed more. It used to be that my windows had to be kept clean. Now my husband and I first admire those perfect little handprints sometimes for weeks before we clean them off! Who would have thought this perfectionist would want fingerprints on her windows?! Thank you for this uplifting post! Love and hugs!

    • Hi Trudy! I never really had to face my kids wanting to dress in costumes or even wear two different socks. I wonder how I would have handled that? I think I might have thought about them being made fun of too.

      As a grandparent I am more relaxed, and see the humor in it all so much easier. What a gift time is! We just cleaned up after our daughter and her family’s visit, so I know all about fingerprints! Ours seem to be more on the TV than the windows though.

      Love and hugs to you too Trudy,

  17. Hi Ceil! What an amazing post…sharing a great perspective. I think I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve decided something was “good enough” –realizing that good enough is far more than good, it is great! Life is too short to be overly concerned with the trivial things.

    Blessings on this first week of Spring,


    • Hi Kim! I agree, life is too short. Why spend it being negative and putting down what we do? I wish I would have realized how great it was back in my younger days. Well, at least I know it now.

      It is Spring today! Enjoy your week too my friend,

  18. “Good enough” has some memories in my life. I always felt things weren’t good enough when we went out but I was doing the best I could. Being a mother is an awesome task and older people should remember what it was like when they were the young mothers. And, if those older people had not children, they need to learn to see the humor in the lives of mismatched socks, clashing colors, and a small boy wearing his parka jacket upside down. (That last one was something my son did at my dad’s one day. My stepmother just chuckled and told us about it when we went to pick him up,)

    • Hi Cecelia! Yes, being a mother is an awesome task! I like the way you said that. So much rides on the shoulders of parents who truly are doing the best they can. That’s awesome too.

      What a cute story about your son. I don’t know how many times I had to look away from my daughter when she dressed herself. She was so proud of herself, and I was too. Figuring out how to match and get clothes on straight comes later. They all manage to do it!


  19. I love the perspective here….needed by me…..and all the comments add to the thoughts. With my illness, as close to 100% helps…..but who’s 100% ? Lots of good things to ponder. Just thankful to be here and enjoy this today. You inspire!

    • Hi Anita! You are so right, who’s 100%? And not only that, what is 100% anyway? I”m glad you read the comments, they really are great. I always learn a lot by what other people think and share.

      Thank you for coming by and visiting today, I’m so happy to see you! It’s a little warmer here, so I hope that’s your weather too. You live in such a beautiful place… Healing comes so slowly sometimes, and never in the amount we want. You are one of the most patient people I know here in blogland, I so admire your attitude. God’s blessings on you today and always my friend,

  20. so wise here! I prayed once lamenting I wasn’t good enough, then I heard him gently tell me _ I already made you good. A very special moment. Love the photos today. they made me smile

    • Hi Jean! Your story made me smile. God is always in the still, soft moment so you know it was him speaking those words to you. Beautiful!

      Have a wonderful Wednesday,

  21. Hi Ceil,
    lovely post. How true that ‘great’ is never found in perfection. ‘Perfection’ is usually found to contain ‘competition’, through your mind comparing what you are doing to what someone else might be doing in the same situation – and that is not good. We must ‘just be ourselves’ eh?
    God bless.

    • Hi Brenda! You are so right, I never thought about it that way. Certainly my idea of ‘good enough’ came from comparing myself to others. Ugh. Always a recipe for feeling less than.

      Just being me means I respect my Creator who made me this way, and that I respect the love I have for my life and my family. Sounds like a winning attitude to me!
      Thank you for your always insightful comments my friend,

  22. Oh, Ceil. I am naming this my Favorite Post of the Week! How true that we are making great choices when we let our kids be kids and allow them the freedom to explore and learn and grow. I love you for saying all this. Thank you.

    • Hi Jeanette! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, I’m honored that you like it so well.

      Giving our children freedom is another way of freeing ourselves too. We let worry about any of it melt away. And besides, why not let our kids express themselves and feel good about themselves to boot?

      Thank you for visiting and commenting too πŸ™‚

  23. I think if we all are being honest, most of us have felt that way at times during the different stages of our lives. I can admit to being on the other side of the fence when I wanted everything to look or be perfect to just appease myself…I realized I was making it all about me when I was doing that! Great post!

    • Hi Debby! That’s true. If we make anything about perfection, who’s gauge of perfection are we using? Our own, or what we think society calls perfect. Either choice means we are comparing to ourselves. Great thought Debby, thank you.

      I’m so glad you liked the post today. Thanks for visiting! (My angels look like crystal too, but they are plastic as well!)

  24. Oh Ceil, I just loved this so much. I can’t tell you how many times A DAY I say that very phrase… To the dinners I make, the ways I parent my kids, to how I look and how our lives run on the daily.

    And honestly? It’s not just because of the life consuming season of motherhood either. It’s this mediocre perspective I seem to have on myself! Always. Eh, good enough is who I am and who I claim to be. Are my decisions in how I parent simply good enough? Is my writing “good enough”? Are the ministries I run only ‘good enough’? Is my appearance just ‘good enough’? YES. The answer is always this.

    There are some moments I feel like I am doing something “great”- but the habit is in full swing ongoing mediocrity.

    It’s wonderful to consider it to be more than that. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Chris! I think we all claim that ‘meh’ attitude about many things in our lives. There’s just so much pressure to be the perfect one, and when we can’t measure up to that, well…it’s ‘good enough’.

      What we do and have done is great because we have done the best we can, and did it all with love. What more could be asked of us? You are great, believe that!
      Have a peaceful night,

  25. I love this post Ceil! Your outlook is always fresh and inspiring! Love the pictures of your kids and grands having fun in bed with their dolls. The important thing is that we live life. Life will never be perfect, but if we enjoy the journey, that is what is important! Hugs to you today πŸ™‚

    • Hi MM! I like your take, ‘enjoy the journey’. Wherever we are, that’s where God wants to find us abiding in joy. I love that thought, thank you so much!

      Those little ones are just hilarious sometimes. I’m so blessed to have them in my life!
      Have a wonderful weekend πŸ™‚

  26. “Those memories help me to understand that β€˜great’ is never found in perfection.” This resonates so much with me, Ceil. As a recovering perfectionist, part of me wishes I could turn back time and just redeem those days and… let’s be honest… years that were wasted focusing on perfection. Sigh. What we all accomplished with what we had at the time… energy, time, money, affection… was truly great. We can genuinely take a load off and gently pat ourselves on the back for achieving “great.”

    • Hi Alison! I’m right with you. I am also a ‘recovering perfectionist’ and I agree that I have spent WAY too much time dealing with mourning past decisions and jobs not done well enough. Exhausting.

      I appreciated the fact that I have someone who is walking the same path that I am. Thank you for that!
      Have a blessed Sunday,

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