A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

…and that’s how a ballsy woman scrapbooks.

In honor of Mother’s Day tomorrow, I want to share with you one of my favorite posts from 2011 about my own incredible mother… a woman who continues to inspire me every day. Happy Mother’s Day!


Going through my baby pictures recently really got me thinking…

Are you a perfectionist?

I am.

Not in every part of my life, but in many ways, yes.

For instance, I don’t finish most of the projects I start because I fear they won’t be good enough. Or perhaps I am waiting to buy the perfect tool to make the perfect ____________ (scrapbook page, stained glass window, hand woven basket, quilt square, granny square, beaded chandelier… pick a craft, any craft).

This is a very common trait in people with clutter issues. Oh fine, I’ll say it, hoarders.

My mother is not a hoarder or a perfectionist.

She is a well-oiled machine of efficiency and order. I have yet to meet anyone who accomplishes more in any given day than she does.

When she comes to visit, she will literally take a cup out of your hands, wash it, dry it, and put it away before you even have a chance to say, “Wait Mom, I was still drinking that.”

No matter. She is on a mission to complete a task, and God help you if you get in her way.

To her, done is better than perfect. She’s pretty ballsy that way.

When I got married nearly 14 years ago, my mom presented me with an incredible gift. She filled three professional grade 4 inch binders with 27 years of my photos and memorabilia. She included every card and letter I had ever given her, every report card, every drawing… in chronological order. Truly incredible. It is a gift I will always treasure.

If my mother were a perfectionist, she never could have pulled this off.

Interestingly, not only is my mother not a perfectionist, but she is also not what you might consider “a crafter” either. And she is definitely not a scrapbooker. In fact, I’m fairly certain that she wouldn’t know the difference between cropping and crapping. But did this get in the way of her making a lovely gift? Hell no.

As long as one remembers that it is the thought that counts and not the execution.

Remember that now, because if you open one of those 4 inch binders, you are sure to find pages like this:

…and that's how a ballsy woman scrapbooks by @TheBeardedIris


Wait, I’m sorry, you’ll need to look closer…

…and that's how a ballsy woman scrapbooks by @TheBeardedIrisD’ya see that in the upper left corner? A staple.

My mother stapled 27 years of photos and memorabilia onto copy paper. And I think it is safe to assume that anyone who would choose staples over an archival-quality removable adhesive probably isn’t concerned about using acid-free paper either.

So most of my baby pictures have staple holes and yellow or faded spots somewhere or another. And as far as cropping goes… you don’t want to know.  A ballsy scrapbooker who staples definitely has no time or interest in special cutting tools or decorative borders. In fact, some of the pics look like she may have been cropping with a pair of toenail clippers during the commercials of Melrose Place.

Serious scrapbookers are probably racing for their Cymbalta pills right about now. Sometimes for fun I fantasize about taking these three binders to a Creative Memories “crop-a-thon,” plunking them down on the table with a cigarette dangling from my mouth and saying, “Lookie here, bitches. I finished these in a weekend. Hells yeah. Jealous?”

It’s okay, guys. Fret not. I find my scrapbooks incredibly wonderful and entertaining, honestly. It doesn’t bother me in the least that they’re not perfect, or even, um, fine. And Mom, please take your head out of the oven. I love my scrapbooks. I truly do.

Frankly, I’m very envious of my mother’s ability to complete a task and purge the excess clutter from her life. She is absolutely my role model, and not just because she has the best head of hair I’ve ever seen in real life.

…and that's how a ballsy woman scrapbooks by @TheBeardedIris

Damn, I love that picture. Even when she is holding me up to the sky, practically shouting “Hey everyone! LOOK AT MY BABY!”, all eyes still go right to the hot blonde with the great hair. You just can’t help it. I know.

…and that's how a ballsy woman scrapbooks by @TheBeardedIrisI mean seriously, I would KILL for that hair. Or any hair.

But for reals, the point I am trying to make is this: done is better than perfect. And that goes for crafts, hair, and just about anything else. (But probably not for brain surgery. If you are a neurologist, please don’t listen to me.)

Done is better than perfect. Think about that the next time you’re schvitzing over how to do that next page layout for your third Disney World scrapbook or debating over whether or not you should invite the Joneses over because your carpet is so dirty.

Now I’m not saying grab a stapler and your husband’s vintage baseball card collection and get to work. Don’t do that. Please…don’t do that.

Alls I’m saying is take a tip from my fabulous mother. Whether it is that DIY bathroom remodel you started 6 months ago (sorry honey) or the baby book for your just-turned-four-year-old that you’ve never even started {sigh}. Don’t let your perfectionist tendencies prevent you from living your life right now. Done is better than perfect.

Here is one last staple-marked baby picture for your viewing pleasure. It is screaming for a snarky caption and/or comment. Please, in the name of all that is Holy, hit me (and my ballsy mom) with your best shot:

…and that's how a ballsy woman scrapbooks by @TheBeardedIris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


  1. laura lee

    “We would like to invite you to the naming and baptism of our daughter, Asher”…..

    “please join us for this glorious occasion and a light meal and drink afterwards. (open bar)”. blessings, The Beards.

  2. laura lee

    so technically my caption would be:

    “and we shall call her Asher”

  3. nancy cresser

    I just have to say that I love reading your posts! You totally crack me up with every single one! Thanks for the laughs.

  4. Sue

    Love the ballsy woman thing….. My brother-in-laws (times 4) say my husband is pussy-whipped… hence, I keep my husband’s balls in my purse…. does that count as a ballsy woman? Otherwise, I guess you’d consider me the perfectionist type…. the one, like you, who doesn’t have her craft projects finished…. the one who kept asking the now 20 yr. old ‘Are ya sure you’re moving out for good?’ ‘For the last time, Mom, YES!!’ ‘Good, cause I’m taking your room & making it my craft room!’…. Which by the way is not finished because…… yup… perfectionist….. damn perfectionist qualities…. Oh well… I’ll keep plugging along….. And you’re right…. Your mom is a MILF…. and has/had gorgeous hair…. and is one damn, ballsy woman…. and thank God she knows – done IS better than perfect….

  5. allysgrandma

    OMgosh, once again, LOL funny, really too funny. I want to share this with the world because you are so funny. I think you should write a book. I am dead serious. Can I be your agent??

    Hey I just thought of you too as I swept everything off the dining room table into a plastic shoebox in anticipation of my YD and granddaughter arriving. In fact, DH just told me he was leaving in 2 minutes with or without me. Gotta run!!

  6. Ken

    “is that the mark the salad spoons left?”

  7. Emfine

    How about “Oh! What’s the big deal. It’s only a little burn”! This is a good post, girl. I too never finish these things. I have a friend back in the Burgh who not only made scrapbooks for every year of her daughter’s life, she had binders upon binders of her daughter’s quotes – plus dates. Over achiever if you ask me.

    By the way, with all of the drama this week, I can’t remember if I wished you a happy birthday. I remember sending the good thoughts your way, then looking for it, not finding it, and sending it again. Now I can’t remember if I did any of it or if I just thought about doing it.

  8. Megan

    I got nothin’. I keep thinking and thinking. Why is her mom palming her head like a basketball? Is she brushing the ash off? Why is grandpa dangling a cig. above babies head? These are some messed up people you come from. It explains some things.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Sho-nuff, sister.

      • Megan

        I’m also thinking, Who thought to save this precise image as a Kodak moment? They have some ‘splainin to do to!

  9. jillycakes

    Was the Stand and Smoke standard in western Pennsylvania? Did it proceed the Sip and See?

  10. Christy

    “Dad let me push on this soft spot on her head. It would make a great ashtray!”

  11. The Bearded Iris

    OMG, these are freakin’ hilarious. I am seriously spraying coffee out of all the holes in my salad-spoons-damaged head.

    And yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone used my soft spot as an ashtray or cup holder at some point in my infancy. Ballsy women who scrapbook with staplers hail from ballsy parents.

  12. Tokeloshe

    Happy memories 😉
    Thank you for sharing.

    I love your blog!

  13. Jane

    If we rub it hard enough will it grow hair like her mother’s?

    I am not a perfectionist but I don’t even start because I know I won’t finish.
    So so funny as usual! Thank you Iris.

  14. Shannon

    Thank you for this. I peed and then read it to my husband so that he would know why I peed. There- I de-lurked, are you happy?
    Found you a couple of weeks ago via Org. junkie. I heart you. Please move to NY . Thank you for your cooperation.

    • The Bearded Iris

      YAY! I heart de-lurkers!!! You are one ballsy New Yorker.

  15. Megan

    3 days later I finally thought of a good comment for you birthday picture:

    Grandma: Oh sweetie, Her heads not that big…we’ll just buy her some giant hats. No one will notice.
    Mom: Maybe if I squeeze like this a few times a day…
    Grandpa: I heard this new fangled idea on the news last night that “smoking stunts your growth, we’ll fix that head right up. Can someone get me light?
    Photographer: I still got nothing. What would make someone think this was a Kodak moment?

    3 days late, that sounds about like me.

  16. Carrie

    My husband was literally rolling on the kitchen floor laughing as we read this. I just came back from a scrapbook retreat and the image of you walking in with those albums was just about too much! Thanks for another great laugh!!

  17. AlexisAnne

    Oh my gosh, that’s so freaking funny. Your posts crack me up.
    For my snarky caption I’ll go with, “why’s the baby coughing?” cuz that’s the line my friends and I use to joke about people smoking around babies.

  18. Dee @ The Kitchen Snob

    I’ll come up with a caption by next year because whatever I suggest has to be perfect. I can’t just offer up any ol’ caption! My eye went straight to the staple even before I saw the enlargement. That is hard core “just get it done” attitude. To be admired for sure! That’s totally me – never getting anything done because it has to be perfect first!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I smell what you’re cookin’ Dee. Why do you think I ended with asking for suggested captions? I COULDN’T COME UP WITH A PERFECT ONE MYSELF. 🙂

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