Is Sloppy Good Enough?

Dear FlyLady,

My work has been in law and in editing. Both are hyper-perfectionist in nature. You don’t analyze a client’s case with a lick and a promise. Good enough is *not* enough when you’re hired to find grammatical and typographical errors.

I see now that it is important to distinguish between my work skills and my home-making, or I drive myself and everyone else crazy.

But now my question, how does one foster good work habits in children? For instance, I love the way my children make beds, but they sure aren’t using hospital corners, as your father taught you!

I’m concerned that I’m letting my kids just whip through work in a careless way and think sloppy is good enough.

Is this a matter or degree? Or of age?  Or should I just hope for them that they find work that isn’t as exacting as mine.


FlyLady here: If your job is as an editor then you should do your job to the best of your ability so you can get paid for what you do. If you are in the military, work as a hotel housekeeper or in a hospital; then by all means use the hospital corners. I was taught how to do them because my father was in the air force and had to pass inspection. But I never had to pass inspection. He taught us how but did not demand that they be done to perfection. We did them because they were a skill that we could practice in love. I still think of him each time I make a bed, but it is not of a Sergeant standing over me ready to bounce a quarter off my bed. I think of the tender way he taught us a skill and how he explained it in love; not in fear.

I think that is the difference. Teaching your children the difference between doing a thing just good enough to get by or doing them for the love of doing them. You have to balance your teachings with the goal at hand.  It is to make the bed perfectly or get your room looking nice so that you have a comforting environment in which to read, study and live.

As for their homework. Homework is practice! Practice for what? A test, for your future, for getting into a good college. I always looked at homework as a way to keep from studying. I know that sounds kind of silly but listen for a second. IF I listened well in class and understood what the teacher was saying and I got my homework to reinforce the classroom lecture and if I read the material before class; then by test time I didn’t have to study; just review!  In other words I took babysteps to learn. I did not have to cram to get it into my head.

Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family. Why make a big deal out of it. A job can be done many ways. The end result is that it is cleaner than it was. Now you do have tell them what you expect. If they are emptying the trash; then they need to know that it is all trash cans in the house and not just the kitchen. And that a clean trash bag goes back into the empty can. How they do it doesn’t matter. Just that it is done to your specifications. They cannot read your mind! Write it down and teach them how! Give them a timer and play a game.

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