perfection infection

It was a pick my battles type of morning. The kids were hyper. Running, wrestling, and arguing since the moment they woke up. At 6:30am. Who gave them sugary, artificially flavored cereal anyway? Oh wait, that was me. My husband was out the door and off to work 2 hours earlier than usual for a meeting. My saving grace for not loosing my mind was a late start morning at school for my son. Thirty extra minutes to get ready in the morning. We needed every single minute.

I don't know what possessed me to make Soren's class play dough that morning. Red play dough. Hand staining, red play dough. While kneading the dough I sent Eva up to her room to get dressed. First mistake. Sending a three year old girl to choose her own clothes is bound to end in a pattern mixing, wrong season outfit. Sure enough she came down with a black and white stripped, long sleeve shirt, with a giant gold heart plastered on the front, accompanied with short hot pink fluorescent pink shorts. Shorts. It was 50 degrees and dumping rain. After strong encouragement to wear pants, she insisted with confidence and a smile that that was the outfit she wanted to wear. Fine. Now to get my son dressed. "But I am dressed." He tells me wearing fleece sweats and a nice shirt that is now stained red from said play dough. "Please go change your clothes. Sweats are not appropriate for school and your shirt looks like you've been involved in a crime scene." I told him. He replied with, "I have no clean plants." Ten minutes until Eva needed to be at school. Digging through the laundry (yes the dirty laundry) I found a non offensive pair of pants he could wear. He pairs it with the shirt he wore to school the day before. Uff Da!

Upon dropping my daughter off at school that morning I noticed the words "Picture Day" on the whiteboard. Picture Day? Today? Of all days. I quickly ushered Eva over to the sink where I began taming her wild hair with any water I could steal from the little boy washing his hands. They don't do the sit on a stool-hide what your wearing on the bottom half-tilt your head type of pictures here. No, they do the full length, full body, stand and look cool and casual types of pictures. My daughter will not look cool and casual. She will look like a hot mess.

I found myself self-conscience. Explaining to the teachers that it was a crazy morning and I had forgotten it was picture day. I was making excuses for my imperfect parenting. This moment of imperfection would be captured in a picture for all of eternity. The other children filed in with well combed hair, beautiful sweaters, handsome buttoned-up shirts, cute shoes and a matching bow to boot. Why can't I have it all together? Why can't I simply remember that it was picture day? This imperfect morning will haunt me again when my daughter will question me in years to come and ask "why did you let me out of the house like that?"

At what point in time did someone make the rule that our kids have to be put together, our appearance as mothers has to be put together. We are just trying to survive, let alone create the illusion that we have our lives together. It seems we have to have clean floors, dishes put away, empty laundry baskets, cute outfit and hair done after we've worked out of course, kids napped, homework done, lunches made, and dog walked all before its time to start dinner and have it ready on the table that is set with cute mason jars wrapped in burlap as the centerpiece all by the time dad gets home from work.

Is this what your life looks like? Mine certainly doesn't.

But I am not helping either. I am perpetuating this notion that we have to have perfect lives, or create the illusion that we do by defending or explaining my actions as a mother/housewife. I am giving in to this false idea of perfection parenting by wondering how Mom A over there has "it all together" just by judging her from an outside perspective. I am believing the lie when I tell other moms that I would parent differently.

Wouldn't parenting be easier for us if we spent less time and effort creating the illusion that we have it all together and spend it on being who God called us to be as parents. And spend it encouraging and helping other moms, despite our differences. God wants us to do well. He wants us to give our children the best life they can have. But the best life doesn't look the same for every family. Best life doesn't mean perfect life.  Parenting looks a lot like a striped shirt, with fluorescent shorts and velcro shoes on a rainy picture day in October. But at least we are dressed.

1 comment:

  1. Linnea, thank you for sharing, I am newly on the motherhood journey, and of course some days are better than others. You will look back on this someday and laugh! Are you part of a MOPS group? I just joined one, and think I will definitely need the fellowship! I have a wonderful husband, but of course, he just doesn't "get" certain things that other moms do. I think I will quote you from now on, "Best life doesn't mean perfect life." We are all striving, but if we all accept that NO ONE is getting it right ALL the time, we can support each other when we're struggling, and celebrate when someone is nailing it! I also recently discovered and it is saving my sanity. It is hard for me to stay on top of things with one kid and a small apartment, I can only imagine a house/multiple kids/pets/school, so the encouraging emails are helping me take baby steps. Check it out! You are a wonderful mom, and I hope you got some hugs for the play dough and just because. :)