Last week, my heart sisters and I were sitting around a picnic blanket littered with cracker crumbs, sprinkles from iced cookies and a few Sour Patch Kids though admittedly, few SPK’s are ever left behind. It takes a whole lot to disqualify an SPK from consumption, you know.
As we laughed over our very-much not organic, overly-processed feast intended to celebrate the first day of summer break, I was reminded of a conversation I had with another friend a few weeks ago.
She told me about someone she knows who shares what she packs in her child’s lunchbox every day on Facebook, with a photo and details of the scrumptious fare included.
That scrumptious fare is along the lines of organic, homemade, whole grain bread filled with organic, non-hormone cream cheese, organic cranberries, and fair-trade walnuts.
Oh. I’m thinking no Sour Patch Kids were involved.
Now, hear me on this: I’m not slamming her. We need to embrace each other right where we are and if this is her thing, we need to cheer her on and not get snarky about it.
And of course, I have no way of knowing what her own intentions were but my friends and I started to talk about how “the perfect life” is so often represented in social media and blogs.
It’s selective perfectionism. We can choose what we want the world to see and quietly just not talk about the other stuff. The other stuff that makes us real.
But you know what selective perfectionism does to other people?
Yeah. It can make others feel just a little bit “less than.” It makes us feel bad because we just aren’t measuring up compared to everyone else are we?
We see those status updates and the photos of all things-organic and we think, “Oh, crap. I sent a Lunchable in my kid’s lunchbox today,” and before you know it, you’re blaming all of their future health woes on that one, prepackaged-for-convenience lunch.
So my friends and I decided it would be helpful to start a new website called www.makeothermomsfeelbad.com.
Because all of us together, and there were NINE of us that day, would make the perfect woman.
We have one that sews. One that cooks well. One that can write. One who is a champ of a household cleaner. One who is awesome with raising her children. One who has the singing voice of an angel. One who never, ever forgets details of any kind. You get my drift, right? It takes at least NINE of us to be the perfect woman.
We giggled over the spoof of our fictional website, a site where we would post major mama disasters and laugh because that’s the reality, isn’t it?
I’ve never made a dinner that looked like the photo I pinned. I never have, and can confidently say never will, complete a craft-project that didn’t look like it had been done by a first grader. And I’m probably not the person to talk to if you want encouragement in making your child the next soccer star.
But here’s the thing: sometimes I think our expectations, mine included, are higher than they should be. We see photos and read comments and updates and blog posts and we gather all of them up into our “perfect mom basket” and think we can do it all, apparently forgetting these little pieces were collected from various sources.
Ironically, this make-believe website of ours entitled “Make Other Moms Feel Bad” is complete irony – because it’s through our own imperfection and vulnerability that we make others feel normal. And feeling normal and understood feels good, not bad.
Speaking of feeling normal and understood, do you know of the blog Pintrocity? LOVE it. If you need a good laugh, this is your place.
At the end of the day, I think it’s wise if we just choose to go by Amy Poehler’s standards:
Works for me. If this is the standard I choose to follow, I’m super mom every day. I’m guessing you are, too. Let’s roll with it.
Love it! Would you mind introducing me to your friend who is a stellar housekeeper? I could sure use some help!
You and me both, Anni. She only does her own house. Bummer for us both. :)
i have a dear friend whose mother-in-law told me once that she was SO glad that “beth” and i were friends because she thought it would do her good to be around another mother with three kids who “had it all together”. i panicked!! i do NOT want others to think that i have it all together because that is a total falsehood! although i try to keep as much of the crazy under wraps when we are in public, i never want to be portrayed as something that i am SO not! ;)
Alison, I so get what you’re saying. I have had people say things along those lines to me and I’m so confused when it happens. Who on earth are they talking about???
Yes, there’s a balance between keeping it real and keeping it sane. A very fine one, but a balance nonetheless. :)
Thanks for reading and commenting, Alison!
I love this. I think this is why we *should* be friends with people who aren’t exactly like us. With girlfriends who are close- we can encourage each others “perfections” and our kids get exposed to all different types of good moms. Because really we’re all great moms in one way or another. Not everyone has to have a spotless house (I fail here. A lot.) Or be the mom who drives to every ball game and knows the game her kids are obsessed with (I do much better here. I can’t help it, it’s more fun for me!). And like you said- a lunchable or occasional drive thru dinner isn’t going to hurt. We need to encourage each other’s strengths and be kinder to each other. I have come to the point over the past few years that I love my kids and I do the best I can- and that’s enough! I don’t let the other stuff bother me, because what we do is what is best for OUR family.
Amen, sister. Amen. I agree completely. It SO takes a village…