I’m just going to say it. I want to be a perfect mom. perfect wife. perfect employee. I want to be the perfect church attender. The perfect friend who always knows what to say at just the right time and when to drop off a little gift just because. And to show you just how far my desire for perfection goes, I even want to be the perfect facebook commenter, not too much and not too little. There. I said it.
I don’t think it’s wrong to want these things. To strive for them. To set goals and aim to achieve them in areas of life. It’s not like people set about to be the worst mom they can possibly be or long to win the award for nagging wife of the year. That would be silly. But, isn’t wanting to be perfect at all of these things equally as silly? I venture to say so.
I’m finding that in my desire for these things I’m placing so much pressure on my one little self that I get lost and confused. So while it’s noble for me to want to be the perfect mom I’m leading myself on a tangent of making sure they eat healthy organic goodness, homecooked meals and never store bought cookies. But is that the perfect mom, I question? She sounds dull. So I pick up mini marshmellows at the store as a super duper treat for their hot chocolate on a snow day and they throw their arms around me and proclaim me the best mom ever. But then after 3 days in a row of hot chocolate with mini marshmellows my heart starts to get panicky and I think I’m killing them one sugar molecule at a time and I get all, “not one more marshmellow until you eat an entire head of broccoli young man!” Which of course they don’t see as me being perfect at all but makes me feel more perfect for taking care of their bodies.
It may be that I’m an overanalyzer. I’m not sure. I always thought that my brain worked the same as everyone else’s but apparently there are people out there who don’t think quite so much about this as I do. I think about whether giving them an allowance is teaching them to manage money or like giving cash to a junkie, just supporting their video game habits. I think about whether living in a house that is not ours is making them think that this is my style, the wallpaper I would choose, and what effect that will have on their decorating skills as they age. I think about whether I should tell them not to where a button down shirt with swim trunks in the summer or if I should just let them be unknowing and uncaring for as long as possible. I think about these things and how they are molding and shaping them into the little humans they are and I panic.
I, of all people, should not be molding others! I am a mess myself! And I still feel like I’m 13 and I want that certain pair of new jeans so that I can be like all the other cool girls. How on earth have I been given responsibility over 3 bambinos who are nearing my height. Shouldn’t I have these things figured out by now? It’s been 12 years. I should have some solid answers.
But I don’t.
I have boys who I love one moment and want to lock in their rooms the next. Kids who make me laugh and bring me joy and in a moment can make me want to tear out my hair and scream at the top of my lungs, “Just stop!!!!!!” I want to bake them cookies to munch on when they come in from the cold and I never want to pack another lunch bag again. I want them to want to be near me and I just want them off, no more breathing on me or icky hands on my face. I want to hear them share their days with me and I really just want to tell them to stop talking. I want them home and I want nothing more than to send them back to school, or tuck them into bed.
It’s hard, this parenting road, but really this road of life on earth. For I long to be what I cannot be and I try and force myself to be it anyways or at least die trying.
But I’ve found comfort this morning. Comfort from brothers who steal birthrights and from parents who show favourtism. Comfort from old ladies who laugh at the promises of God and from righteous men who are found passed out drunk in their tent. I find comfort from God-fearing women who want to change their name to mean bitter and from noble men who killed with their own bare hands. I’ve found comfort among liars and cheaters and deniers. Among the sexually immoral, the scoffers and those not bold enough to listen.
I don’t know when I started to feel this pressure to be perfect because the bible assures me that even those who are faithful, those who God calls righteous and whom he uses to carry out his will, they weren’t. They were all of those things listed above. They weren’t perfect, but they feared God. They didn’t raise their children to be saints, and yet they passed on a legacy of loving Christ. Surely, they must have longed to do better too, yet this was their journey. Their sins laid out in scripture for the world to see. I’d be willing to bet that Lot’s daughters didn’t ever fathom that their stories would be published. Yet, how thankful I am for the truth. That I may learn that perfection isn’t required or even a possibility. That I may know that I need not be ashamed for my mistakes or try to hide them. That I may know and learn that even more so the sharing of these mistakes, my sins, can make for a precedence of truth instead of facade. That others will know that they need not hide either for we are all a big broken mess. A big broken mess with stories. Stories that need to be shared in order to bring us together.
Believe me, I don’t want a book published outlining the events on the worst day of my life but I do want you to know that I’ve had a worst day and each day since , though I’ve grown and changed is not even close to perfect. Not. Even. Close.
If only there were a gage that could measure the pressure we place upon ourselves, a tool that could tell us when we need to fill up a bit or let a little out. I’d get the slap-chop guy to do the infomercial if there was. And if it came in regular or travel size? I think it’d be a hit.