Stop Being Little Miss Perfect – Good for the Dog; Good for You

Honey has a lot of admirers on our walks.

  • The runner who smiles when I sing out “with me” and Honey steps neatly off the pavement until he passes.
  • The cashier who sees her waiting for me calmly when I stop to buy a newspaper at the store.
  • And the local cat who is grateful Honey can sit still for a sniff without acting like a ruffian.

It could be easy to hate Little Miss Perfect.

It’s a good thing she isn’t.

Honey was a perfect puppy.

Is this the perfect home for me? Maybe I can sniff out the answer.


Little Miss Perfect on a Bad Day

Honey is a soft, gentle, and sweet girl. Except when she isn’t.

She “demand barks” for dinner or a walk. She pulls on the leash when we walk in the direction of her favorite park. You see no signs of her Canine Good Citizen status when certain people come to visit. And she nearly destroyed our newly renovated bathroom with a misplaced tooth puncture.

Honey is not perfect. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Luckily, I’m not perfect either. And I’m starting to feel better about that.

Honey the golden retriever is a perfect playmate.

I’d definitely rather be fun than perfect.


Perfect is Not the Same as Fun

I used to feel devastated when I wasn’t perfect. As you can imagine, I felt devastated a lot.

I won’t bore you with the long list. But one that caused me the most shame was my bad housekeeping.

I knew my house should always be clean. I just couldn’t do it.

I’d think about inviting people for dinner or having a small party. But I had no hope of ever getting the house clean enough to warrant having company.

Honey the golden retriever sleeps perfectly in the linen closet.

How bad a housekeeper am I? Bad enough to find puppies in the linen closet.

If you’re an armchair psychologist, you might wonder if I was actually too shy to have people over and kept my house messy as an excuse. Nah, I’m an extrovert. I love having people around the house.

So what was going on?

I’m not entirely sure. But I knew that telling myself that I couldn’t do something I wanted to do because my house wasn’t perfect was stupid. So I worked on caring less about perfection.

I started with inviting people in and apologizing for the messy house. Now I offer an open invitation to anyone who wants to drop in at any time without warning.

I’ve stopped caring that my house isn’t perfect. And I’m happy that it’s welcoming.

You know what the crazy thing is? Since I stopped caring if my house was perfect, I’ve kept it much neater.

Sure, you’ll see dust on the furniture and golden tumbleweeds rolling away when the heat turns on. But the tables and furniture are uncluttered and there’s plenty of room to serve someone a cup of tea.

Honey the golden retriever is Little Miss Perfect.

My toys are all over my house and people still want to visit me.


Put Little Miss Perfect to Death

Lots of women are possessed by a demon called Little Miss Perfect. I see her influence on Pinterest boards showing thigh gaps (no, the healthy human is not meant to have a gap between her thighs). She pops up when an at-home parent feels ashamed she’s not on a career track. And she leaps out at women who don’t want to raise children but feel guilty for disappointing their parents.

Little Miss Perfect is an a$$hole. Kill her. Kill her dead. And then run over her corpse with a tractor trailer. Or two tractor trailers with a kick-a$$ action hero doing a split in between them.

Have I taken my own advice? Not quite. But I hear Little Miss Perfect coughing. It’s only a matter of time before the walking pneumonia gets her.

It may take years for me to take her out. But I have a feeling that when I do, I’ll be much happier.

Honey the Golden Retriever looks glamorous in her crate.

Who wants to be Little Miss Perfect? I’d rather be Miss Glamour.


Glad My Dog Isn’t Little Miss Perfect

It’s nice to get compliments from strangers on Honey’s behavior. But if she was perfect all the time, she’d be just like any other perfect dog.

It makes me laugh that her squeaky toy makes her so happy, even if I’m trying to have a serious conversation. It irritates the heck out of me when Honey stands at the back door staring at me but refuses to come inside. But it did give me something to write about on the blog. And it has gotten me to do door training with her.

In the end, it’s not the perfect part of Honey I love the most. It’s the imperfect parts. They’re what make her special.

And if it’s true for her, maybe it’s true for me too. What’s good for the dog is also good for me.

Your Turn: Do you love your dog’s imperfections? How about your own?

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  1. I have really learned to love Delilah’s imperfections, they are what make her such a unique and remarkable dog. Quite frankly I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Last night as we lay in bed with our nightly cuddle routine Hubby said, “She’s the luckiest dog on the planet.” And I said, “Why?” He said, “Because she found you.” I said, “I’m the lucky one.”

    He doesn’t think another person would have put up with her shenanigans but I know I’m not the only one who invests time, patience and love into their pets. I truly am lucky because I believe she makes me a better person.

    I still can’t cut myself slack though. :-)

  2. We admire those dogs that are “perfectly obedient”, but Mom prefers our less perfect way of life because it is just more fun and more real. If people like being perfect, that is great, but for us, imperfection makes life the best.

  3. We wrote about our Sally on Mischief Monday today – about some of her ‘imperfections’. We loved them all and now that she’s gone would be happy to have her and all of that mischief back in our lives. I agree with you – blow up that LMP.

  4. I adore this post.

    I have always suffered from a strong case of perfectionism. It’s ridiculous, and it would reduce me to tears when I couldn’t get something just so. (I was a fun child to be around, let me tell you. I’m not always a peach as an adult, either.)

    I still haven’t quite let go of that quality, but I’m trying. (Not that being able to see everyone’s online “perfection” helps either!) Your story about the house struck a chord with me too. I used to go on mad cleaning binges because I couldn’t stand the idea of someone seeing the place when it was less than perfect. Living with two fuzzy dogs and a *slightly* messy husband has been a challenge, and it’s forced me to chill out a little – it was either that or sacrifice my sanity!

    In general, we’re our own worst critics. That’s why I like to surround myself with people who aren’t going to care if things aren’t perfect and who will support me and remind me that they like me very much, just as I am. (I’m totally on a Bridget Jones kick lately – I have quoted this multiple times recently and talked about blue soup on Saturday. Help!)

  5. I totally relate, I get bummed out sometimes when I see other peoples’ houses and how neat and clean they are, and compare with my own dusty surfaces and dog-hair-filled corners. As for my dogs, they are so far from perfect that I can’t worry about it anymore; I can only continue to work on them and celebrate small victories. Trying to apply the same philosophy to myself.

  6. Mummy sometimes wishes I was perfect but I’m not, and I think dogs with personality are much better than perfect ones :-)

  7. The older I’ve gotten, the less I care about being perfect. I want to enjoy life, my way. Lot’s of people disagree with the way we live, but it’s perfect for us. And the dogs…perfect. LOL Mostly.

  8. I live with someone who wants the house spotless and looking like a hotel room. And I am the one who is supposed to keep it that way. Ahem. Well, one day a friend of mine who has a more relaxed attitude shall we say toward house upkeep, emailed me a quote:

    A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.

    That really hit home for me, and my neat-freak ways relaxed quite a bit. I still have to work a bit harder at it than I would like to keep the peace, but I am no longer scrubbing the place with a toothbrush 😉

  9. Several years ago I managed to reach perfection for both me and my dogs by simply lowering my standards. Life has been much better for everyone since then.

  10. When you do kill her, please stop over to my messy home and help me kill her for me too. :)

  11. Hmm, Jan has got a very sensible attitude to perfection. I think I’m going to adopt it too, although I’m wondering if my standards can get any lower? I will ponder that while I dust …

  12. Sigh. I appreciate this post so much, and it’s something I’ve been obsessing about for months (and months and months). I have approached everything as all or nothing: If I can’t be perfect at it, I just won’t do it. I messed up cooking dinner a bunch in my early 20s, so I spent a decade ordering takeout. My mom bought me a bunch of sewing supplies, but I screwed up the first pouch I made, so I put the dust cover on the machine and didn’t touch it again. This list could go on and on, but for many reasons, I’ve started to finally overcome that. Heck, I’m even making a (crooked-ish) quilt right now! But never once have I felt that way about my dogs! Their imperfections make them unique and wonderful and lovable, and as they learn, it gives me cause to celebrate. And I’m striving – I really am – to take that approach with myself, too.

  13. Someone once asked if I could guarantee Walter’s health. I was astonished – no one could even guarantee this inquirer’s health, let alone that of a senior former heart worm positive Coonhound. I don’t believe in perfection (anymore, though I once did and yes, I agree with you, it was awful) – we value lives saved, daily joys, daily struggles (wash on the fence again being rained upon) and sharing/reading great blogs/books. We are a place of sound and fur….definitely imperfect with a whole lot of love to share.

  14. I have a much easier time accepting – and even enjoying – Rita’s imperfections than I do my own. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. We are having people over for dinner tomorrow and I know I’ll be going nutso before they come, cleaning and scrubbing like mad. Most of my family is like this, so I think it’s in my genes! I’m still trying to learn to let it go…

    (And the character in my new novel is a total perfectionist who, just as you wrote, didn’t want to raise children but feels guilty for disappointing her parents! Meanwhile her sis is a stay-at-home mom, with her own set of issues! It’s easier to have my characters change their perfectionist ways… so maybe they’ll rub off on me a bit by the time I’m done with the book???)

  15. Well, one of my best quotes is “well behaved dogs don’t make for good blogs” and it’s true. People come to hear funny stories about our dogs NOT being perfect, and usually getting the better of the humans in the process. And that’s okay! It makes us all feel more human and relate able when we aren’t perfect. I struggle with perfectionism in a big way. I will always struggle with it, but I’m getting more comfortable with not being perfect.

    And I thought you might enjoy this to go along with your video!

    • BWa ha ha! Thank you for the spoof. I was really feeling bad about about JCVD doing splits on trucks in his mid 50s when I told myself I was too old to do them in my 40s.

      I guess Little Miss Perfect also turns up in the form of a middle-aged Belgian action hero. :)

  16. I’ve never been a fanatic housekeeper… okay, I’m a slob. I dress Early Salvation Army. I don’t dye my hair or wear any make-up. But we all obsess about something. I obsess about school assignments. Any mark below A (yes, even A-) depresses me. And that’s just nutz.

    My dog is the last thing from perfection, and I think I’m finally cool with that. As long as he doesn’t bite anyone.

  17. I soooooo needed this – I’m the same about housekeeping and guests. My pups imperfections crack me up – they de-stress me.