The simple notion of that title has me giggling.
I’m not sure when this notion came to be for women in the role of motherhood. I know for me as a wife, I first became obsessed, yes ‘obsessed’ when Martha Stewart was burning up the airwaves and magazines in the mid ‘90s and for a good decade beyond.
Yes, I once tied my perfectly folded linens (i.e.: sheets) in raffia and placed them in a decorative Pottery Barn-purchased armoire. That armoire of course was located in our perfectly decorated guest bedroom, complete with serving tray propped on the guest bed.
The serving tray would be stocked with the latest magazines, a tiny vase of flowers and some chocolates prior to guests coming to visit. I am absolutely serious.
I enjoyed it and especially loved the look of surprise and appreciation from my parents, friends or other family members when they would take time from their lives to pay us a visit. It was hospitable.
Fast forward to present day. We no longer have a guest room. Guests now have a choice of which kids room they would like (each equipped with bunk beds). I’m also more than happy to give up the master suite when a husband and wife duo comes to stay. We have a comfy couch and I’m usually the last to retire. I do make sure the beds have clean sheets, but they are no longer kept in a decorative armoire or tied in raffia. I do however still fancy Pottery Barn for inspiration on design ideas and an occasional investment piece.
As we parted from the Martha Stewart age, we came fast upon the ever popular Pinterest. The clip board of all clipboards for any and every thing you can ever imagine. Cute cupcake ideas… Pinterest. Wall color paint combinations… Pinterest. Creative ways to display bath towels… yep, you got it… Pinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest.
Somewhere along the lines of all this madness, moms began feeling the need to keep up. God forbid little Johnny or Suzy not have the cutest birthday invitations, cupcakes or cookies to share at school.
This is where the line becomes somewhat blurred and I have learned to embrace the ‘live and let live’ philosophy. I’m the less than perfect mom and I happily embrace this. Our life is messy, chaotic and often by the seat of our pants, but somehow we are having one heck of a fun time living it.
We don’t make leprechaun traps, our Elf on the Shelf (yes, we have one) is not as mischievous as others and our Valentine’s Day cards come from Rite Aid or Target.
My girlfriend is very much the opposite of me. She is a talented and creative soul in her work and in life. She juggles managing her own business, three young kids and a very active lifestyle. Not only does she do this, but she smiles (genuinely) through all of it.
Oh, sure she has moments. She is human and we marvel through it, mostly whining over why can’t we freeze time. Even though we are drastically different we each love each moment be it through chaos or creativity and wish it all didn’t go so fast.
One day not so long ago she sent me a text wondering when being a good mom became a bad thing. Again she is the talented and creative one and her children have benefitted from this stellar gene pool.
On this particular day she felt the disdain and snideness in the voice of some other moms as she had finished a fun day of crafts and baking with her kids.
She shared the extent of the day was a rarity, but one she chose to embrace and live in all the same. Spent cherishing the moments and memories with her children. Later, marveling at the moms who chose to build themselves up by knocking a pretty special day she had shared with her littles.
We teach and encourage our children not to bully, to be kind, be fair and encourage one another. Yet the moment a fellow mom shows up with a great story or their kid has cute cookies we roll our eyes and mumble, ‘must be nice.’ Shame on us.
I’m the first to speak on behalf of the underachiever mom, not at the expense of the moms like my girlfriend, but more as a reprieve to the mom beating herself up because she can’t do it all.
We each define what ‘all’ means for us and our families. We each create our own ‘perfect.’ As I like to say, our own imperfectly perfect. That’s the key. Not to chase what works for someone else. Not to knock another because we may feel inferior. The other person does not create that emotion in us, we do.
In short, we as moms are on the same team. We need to ease up, support and celebrate one another and perhaps try living the guidance we continue to share with our children.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.