Perfectionism + Success- Managing Both in the MotherHustle - by Jen Hatzung for MotherHustle
“When we get past the looks and focus on the feelings, we can begin to see success even in the littlest things.”

A few years ago, I co-hosted a podcast all about success. Our tagline was “serving up a fresh perspective on success.” We wanted to show women that success was different for everyone and that we all, at times, struggled to feel like we were successful.

{While we are no longer podcasting, you can find She Percolates on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher Radio and find all of our episodes.}

Given that we interviewed more than 70 women on success and then spoke about success weekly on a second episode, I should be an expert on the topic. The reality is—success is elusive for an Enneagram One perfectionist like myself.

While motherhood changed my career path and so many parts of my life, what I viewed to be successful did not change.

So I spent the first two years of motherhood feeling like a failure.

If I am being honest, I still have those feelings where I don’t feel successful. I still have those feelings where it seems like everyone else has their junk figured out. A career, a family, a big house, weekly date nights, family vacations—and it all seems so effortless to them. I know that is not the case. I know that their highlight reel is what I see.

Being a perfectionist has caused me to feel like I am still searching for and reaching for success.

As a perfectionist, I don’t necessarily need everything to look perfect. Oftentimes, for me, it is about how I spend my time, how long it takes to accomplish something, and how a situation should go.

For example, I oftentimes feel like when my daughter is at preschool or at parents’ morning out, I need to spend every single free moment doing client work because I need to get the most out of that time. I need the day to be structured and set up in such a way that I feel like I’ve done all the things because, to me, success feels like getting it all done.

My need for my projects to be perfect often leads me to abandon them.

As a project starts to come together, if it doesn’t go according to my plan and doesn’t look or feel how I want it to, rather than presenting a non-perfect (in my eyes) finished product/project, I will just stop.

Motherhood and perfectionism are also a tough pairing.

While I am thankful I don’t stress over milestones with my daughter, what I do let get the best of me is how our day goes and what we did. My success as a mother is tied to whether we did something fun or whether she watched too much PBS Kids. When I lose my temper and yell, I feel like a failure.

Here is what I have learned about success since I started researching it back in 2014: it changes every single day.

As you shift seasons, jobs, transition into motherhood, etc., it will change. What doesn’t change is how you feel when something feels like a success. 

When I was fresh out of college (13+ years ago!), it seemed like success was always big and grand. But as I get older, I am learning it doesn’t have to be. 

A few Mondays ago, I woke up feeling overwhelmed after a tough weekend with my daughter, and I was smack in the middle of two weeks of solo parenting while my husband traveled for work.

I decided I was going to spend the morning cleaning up the house, doing laundry, meal prepping, and organizing a few random spots in the house that had gotten a bit out of control. I also cut three hydrangeas from our yard to brighten up our dining room.

I felt so much better after I spent the morning doing the tasks that sometimes feel annoying and mundane. It was a reminder to me that sometimes the things we think are chores and hard work actually produce a lot of joy and accomplishment.

But, more important, it was a reminder to me that success looks different in different seasons, but feels the same.

When we get past the looks and focus on the feelings, we can begin to see success even in the littlest things.


MotherHustle panelist Jen Hatzung is a business strategist, podcaster and founder of Abundant Affirmations who lives in Norfolk, VA with her naval officer husband, toddler and dachshund. She can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) while making lists and strategizing when she can fit in her next run.

She currently co-leads her local MOPS group, has her own direct sales business selling lipstick, and does the preschool/naptime hustle helping small business owners with their online engagement. If there is any time left in the day she has her nose in a book or watching HGTV. Find her on Instagram.

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