The other day someone called me a perfect mom. I kid you not, stop laughing. This person has been a good friend of mine for over 20 years—you’d think she’d know better.
I’ve long been at war with the perfect mom. I see her everywhere, toned arms, white teeth, well-dressed, adorable children, a PhD, and a model husband. You’ve seen her too, she typically resides in a picture-frame.
I write often about the pressures a mother feels to be perfect and to do it all. Logically we know it’s not possible, and not even expected, but we beat ourselves up about it anyway. It’s important to remember that the perfect mom we idolize lives in snapshots and brief moments of time. No one can sustain perfection forever—or even ten minutes for that matter. I think the official time limit is nine minutes and 47 seconds.
Not that I don’t ever have a picture-perfect moment. When I do, I’m smart enough to freeze-frame it forever with my canon digital. And then I either turn it into a Christmas card or post-haste it onto Facebook. That’s why that site is so popular. It’s comprised of nothing but perfect families.
What creates perfection is imperfection, and the ability to learn and rise above it. After all, that’s what we constantly drill into our children’s heads, right? So I have come to realize I AM the perfect mom. And just in case you don’t believe me, allow me to spell it out for you.
P is for the potty training I shamelessly put off until the boys were almost four so I could take them to the mall and on long car trips without having to make 500 detours to the bathroom every half hour while juggling a portable potty seat and twelve extra sets of big-boy underwear.
E is for the elongated sticker on my new sweater that gleefully ran down my chest for an entire day, broadcasting to all the world I am not a size small, nor do I apparently own a mirror.
R is for the ride in the ambulance my children and I took one afternoon after an ill-fated shopping expedition to Market Basket where one screaming twin pushed the other screaming twin into a metal display rack, opening up a gash in his head and toppling over three candy displays (domino effect) scattering chocolate bars and peppermints for miles. By the way, to all you onlookers that day who gave me the “look” for the chaos we inadvertently brought into your world, I wish upon you sextuplets.
F is for the freshest of morning breezes that gently flow through my windows, before I quickly slam them shut because we’re late for school … again … and our crazed yelling is waking the neighbors and I’m afraid we’re going to get cited for disturbing the peace as the four of us loudly tumble down the stairs hollering about breakfast, backpacks, homework, permission slips, lunchboxes, the location of the other shoe, and a forgotten trumpet.
E is for EVERYTHING … just everything, that so often gets to be too much.
C is for the calendar, super in size and organizational in nature, that I buy every December to hang on my kitchen bulletin board and that boasts really big squares with lines for each day and fancy stickers to help me document the activities, appointments, phone numbers, and hundreds of other details that make up our busy family itinerary. This same calendar sits blank and frozen on the month of January until well past April, when my husband finally takes it down to make room for his Red Sox schedule.
T is for the time a friend from New York surprised us on our doorstep and invited us to an impromptu dinner at our favorite restaurant. I joyfully grabbed my purse and we made it all the way to the car before my husband (my HUSBAND, not me) remembered we had newborn twins sleeping alone inside the house.
M is for the moments each night when I snuggle with my boys and talk about their day and all the crazy things coursing through their brains. I end each night with I love you and I’m proud you’re my son.
O is for the obnoxious, over-protective gene I developed the second those boys came screaming (of course) into this world.
M is for the miracle of my imperfect family, and their imperfect mother, who are together blessed with the most perfect of lives.