You know who this is. We’re all terrified of her, jealous of her & desperate to be her. She is known by many names.
The Perfect Mom &/or Wife. Super Mom.
Octomom. Mrs. Perfect Prissy-Pants. Call her what you want; it’s the same woman & we hate her more than we hate Swimsuit Models.
She cooks with a smile, she cleans with a smile, she reprimands her child with a smile. She performs every domestic task with – you guessed it – a smile. And surprisingly, not a creepy one like you’d see in a Stephen King movie adaptation. But is it real or does she just have really great prescription drugs? With this, I present you with letter number two.
Dear Mrs. So Perfect You Make The Rest Of Us Vomit,
Why do you torture us so?
And by “us” I mean the collective band of mothers & wives everywhere that only want to be 100% accurate at all times. It’s not that we’re unreasonable or that we simply want to control everyone we meet. Our desire for perfection stems, mostly, from our need to please those around us, make their lives easier & less complicated & get all matters of domestic engineering right 100% of the time. The happiness & success of our families is a direct result of how perfectly we care for them & as such, is a direct reflection of our worth as women. You would know the deep longing for such an unattainable perfection if you did not already have possession of it; the perfection, I mean – not the longing.
And the part that tears us up on the inside is the fact that you have it naturally. There is no effort required. No rigorous planning. No never-ending pile of books written by self-proclaimed experts (that probably don’t even have children) to dive into on a regular basis. There is no need for you to call your mother or your even wiser grandmother to get child-rearing advice. You are the only creature in existence that would not need to Google – ever. Elephants will Google before you will.
There is no need for you to call girlfriends for advice on what you should get your husband for your anniversary, or even to ask him for that matter because you already know it – every single last detail – like a book that is written in ink only you can see on the inside of your favorite apron. There is nothing you can’t do, no task you cannot accomplish with inhuman grace, precision & efficiency. Those around you consistently call you for favors, advice, instruction, recipes, knowledge, wisdom….and the list goes on. You give all of these things freely with a smile, a kind word of reassurance & never fail to deliver no less than 110% at all times no matter the situation. God forbid you ever get sick & be out of commission.
You do all this while still managing to maintain the immaculate appearance of your home where there is never a thing out of place. Even when there are babies in the vicinity, one would never know because not only is your home free of diaper-stench, but you are miraculously able to keep the little ones from crying. Ever . Even your hair is perfect. You keep up your youthful, vital appearance & constantly maintain clean, polished nails. Your sanity never threatens to evade you – you are always perfectly poised to handle any disaster, but such a thing rarely occurs in your realm of existence; the worst thing you will endure is something banal…like your homemade apple pie coming out a bit too juicy. You can be trusted not to threaten your own life or the lives of others with sharp utensils and one would never in a million years even dream of seeing that certain little vein throbbing in your forehead from anger.
Your voice never need be raised for any reason & you have the attention & submission of your entire family with a single twitch of your eye & the slight down-turning of your mouth. All your loved-ones’ wrongs are suddenly made right again immediately upon receiving such a look & they dare not argue with you. You know how to cure every ailment, you know exactly what approach your son should take to amend a broken relationship with a friend, the most rebellious thing your teenage daughter will ever do is wear a dress above her ankles & you will speak precisely the right words she needs to hear to make her understand what an atrocity that is without insulting her girlish innocence or making her cry. The talk will end in a hug & your daughter will go on to pursue an occupation in virtue. You know automatically what your husband should do to impress the new boss at his job even though you’ve never done his job a day in your life & probably have no idea what it is that he actually does. He listens to everything you say with rapt attention because you have never been wrong a day in your life. You bake complicated sweet concoctions for new neighbors & make friends with an ease that makes my skin crawl with jealousy. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a situation in your mothering & spousal career that you will not know how to handle flawlessly; instinctively.
I am willing to bet that at one time or another, every woman in America has wanted or will want to be you. Not just take on your inexplicable perfect-personality, talents & characteristics, but they will literally want to climb outside their own bodies, crawl into yours and assume another existence where they don’t have to think their own thoughts or feel their own emotions or admit their own defeat. You’ll be a Stepford-Wives housing station…
But what kind of life is that?
For the average female, the constant strain to be perfect is one that does nothing but give us gray hairs, wrinkles & produces an inordinate amount of anxiety that we must deal with before performing any and every task. Getting out of bed on a daily basis is considered a “task” when you are that weighed down with the pressure of obtaining an existence that is so implausible. We all know it is ineffectual & unnecessary to spend our lives chasing after something we can never reach, yet we insist on continuing our plight to be YOU; Mrs. Perfectly Perfect Perfection Lady.
Well, this is what I think about exhausting myself with trying to be perfect all the time.
It may not take much effort for you, but it would consume every mili-second of my life that would be better spent trying to enjoy & appreciate all the imperfect, fascinating things around me. I’m tired of trying to be you because honestly…for all your flawlessness, you sure are boring. Life is a little more fun & definitely more interesting when you bend a few rules, make a truckload of mistakes & wake up to some kid-made catastrophe in your kitchen most mornings. Sometimes we need to be furious, we need to scream, we need to cry…we need to have emotions; we need to feel real.
When you’re old & decrepit, sitting in your shiny, polished rocking chair knitting throw rugs & blankets with effortless repetitive motions, what memories will be running through your mind? What will stick out for you more than anything else? Make you smile or laugh to yourself? What are the fondest memories of someone who’s every day was perfect? I would think there wouldn’t be much to celebrate if all your memories were gathered on the same floor of your consciousness; nothing a step higher or lower than anything else. Nothing wiggling around on the edges of your brain. Just immovable, stagnant, neat little rows of memories, all of which you had to put very little work or thought into to create. No friendships with substance or trials & tribulations to make you stronger, rough roads to travel that only make you work that much harder to achieve your ultimate goal. How can you have the capacity to really & truly appreciate something if you’ve never had a negative thing to compare it to? How can you be proud of a particular accomplishment if it was the norm for you rather than being a bonafide accomplishment?
One definition of accomplishment is this: An activity that a person can do well, usually as a result of study or practice. If you never have to work hard for anything how can you truly appreciate the results? What do you have to look back on? Was there ever any fun in your life? I consider a fun day one where nothing goes right, but somehow it’s perfect anyway because of what you choose to do with all the imperfections you’re given.
So, Mrs. So Perfect You Wouldn’t Even Really Be Alive Even If You Did Exist; you can have perfect. I’d rather be fun, exciting, interesting, hard-working & happy.
PS. Please send me one of those blankets when you get done because lord knows I’ll never make one.
To everyone else:
Here are few funnies I thought I’d leave you with. Enjoy being imperfect!