Saturday, March 8, 2014

Perfection: The Problem

The truth is out.  Being perfect is overrated.  Many opinions are pointing in this direction, especially amongst moms.  "Moms can't possibly do it all," they say.  "Give us some slack," they beg.  
"Doing it all is too much pressure," we all think.  

The term "supermom" was coined in the 70's, referring to women who were raising children, performing the duties of a housewife, and being a bread-winner.  By such a definition, any woman who even attempts all of those is a supermom to me.  Unfortunately, this title has leached into present day society, as the ultimate compliment to a woman in the world of children, and even becoming a sarcastic dig at those who try to do their best.  Perfection is equated with the super-ness of your mom skills.  In my circles of my acquaintances, many of the things that earn you that title, have very little to do with being a mother, and have more to do with impressing other people.  

When I first hopped on the blog wagon, I was nursing a baby, and spent a decent chunk of time everyday, either composing a post, or reading those of my favorite bloggers while baby fed.  I can remember being at my mom's house, swinging my daughter on the tire swing outside, regretting that I didn't have a camera to take a picture for my blog.  I said to my sister, "If I was a good mom, I'd have my camera to take a picture of this!"  My wise sister replied, "You are a good mom because you are spending time with your child.  You don't need to take a picture to prove it."  Or something to that effect.  That is what I heard her say, anyway.  How grateful I was to her for opening my eyes!  Reading blogs about vacations, and outings, and travels made me feel like we were the most uninteresting people on the planet.  I will admit, I started my blog for me, as an exercise to get out of my comfort zone, by sharing my thoughts, as well as a way to document family happenings, etc., but I also sought approval.  My readership consists of about four people, all related to me, so I wasn't expecting grand accolades, but I was seeking approval nonetheless.  I wanted what I was writing about to impress someone. I wanted the pictures I posted to convince them we were having fun, when all that mattered was that we were spending time together.   

Perfectionism is a double edged sword.  On one side, we require so much from ourselves that when we do not meet the mark, we feel inadequate.  On the other side, we know that we never can be perfect in everything we do, so we begin to give up, and tell ourselves that it is okay to not try.  
Finding the balance between the extremes is where we find happiness.  Knowing that we can never do it all is realistic.  Recognizing the load we can handle, is vital.  We are all different.  Different schedules, hobbies, jobs, family make-up, ambitions.  I know it can be hard not to feel bad when the neighbor kids go to karate every afternoon, and your kids don't go because it's not in your budget, or you have too many other demands on your time, but the privilege of every mother and father is to decide what is right for their kids, within their circumstances.  It doesn't make the neighbor mom better than you, or you better than her.  There are reasons we shouldn't judge each other.  It breeds feelings of inadequacy.  Accepting others, and knowing they accept you is where we should try for perfection. 

Personally,  I have found my standards for perfection have changed over time.  I don't care as much about the way I wrap gifts, or making something homemade for every baby shower I attend.  However, some things, like trying to be obedient to God, have not changed.  And while I may not meet that standard as completely as I'd like, I do strive to become better and improve, and correct my errors. For me, the spiritual things are far more important than whether I styled my kids' hair before school, or clipped there fingernails last night.  Those things are important too, and have their place, but how I fold my towels has no bearing on my worth.  I hope that amongst my virtues are the way I treat others, and my willingness to serve God.  And if my towel folding earns a merit, I'll take it, but it's more likely to be due to the fact that they were folded in record time, not that they looked neat. 

Some days, my perfect is to finish my "to do" list, no matter how poorly some of the tasks were done.  Some days, my perfect is to do whatever I have to do to get a perfect cake done by a certain time.  And some days, my perfect is knowing the basic needs of my family have been met, even though absolutely nothing else got done.  There are lots of days when my "perfect" is not met, and I need an extension.  And that is okay.    

I wish my daughter always had a bow in her hair.  I wish my sons clothes were perfectly placed in their drawers.  I wish I had desire to clean my windows.   I wish I folded all of my laundry as soon as it came out of the dryer.  I wish I still made my daughter's dresses.  I wish I had super fun things for my kids to do every Saturday.   I wish I were more consistent.  I wish I wanted to exercise.  I wish I loved grocery shopping, and had time to coupon.  I wish a lot of things, but the thing I wish for the most is for my children to be kind, to be tolerant, to do their best, and to be happy.  It's not to be perfect.  

I don't think we should throw the perfection out the window.  Doing something perfectly is good.  It is great!  It just depends on what your perfect is, and if you did the best you could, within the circumstances you were given.  I firmly believe that We should always try to do our best, at whatever We do, but I also know that it doesn't have to be better than Everyone Else's.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Treasure Hunters

Apparently, scrapping metal is "all the rage" now.  Actually it has been quite popular for a while, and I am sure that the ole timers don't appreciate the rise in interest, as it takes a hunk out of their work load and profits.  I think it is a wonderful thing.  Taking someone's, let say, discarded water heater that no longer works, is a great service.  It's removal benefits both parties.

Similarly, dumpster diving is also "all the rage".  These people call themselves "Freegans".  Can you guess what they are looking for?  I am all for finding someone else's treasures on the side of the road, or in an actual dumpster.  I have, in fact, been banned, by my darling husband, from bringing another piece of furniture into our house.  (Did he say Garage?  I didn't think so!)  However, these "Freegans" are not dipping into the trash pile for that sweet little rocking chair that just needs a coat of paint.  They are digging for food.  Yup.  Food.  I, personally, must draw the line.  But if that is your main food source, I get it.  The economy is terrible.   But, I am convinced that some of these people are in it for the feeling of espionage one can get from sneaking past a rent-a-cop.

In an unfortunate turn of events, a mixed conglomeration of these bread winning activities has invaded my neighborhood.  My yard, to be exact:
    At approximately 9:38 pm, the other night, the dog was shushed into silence, by The Man of the House.  It was assumed that he, the fearless pup, was claiming his territory from the small bird chirping outside, or a dog walking his owner nearby.  Upon further investigation, The Man of the House peered into the night, shocked to see someone digging through the trash.  His Dear Wife insisted he leave The Man alone.  "After all, dear, we did put some lovely things out there."  
    In her abject nosiness, she too peered from the upstairs window, unseen.  "The Man is dumping out MY trash!"  The Man had just picked up the bag and emptied the unmentionable contents, searching through them for who knows what.  The grass had been defiled.  His Dear Wife's bad kitchen habits revealed!  The Man of the House grabbed his fearless guard dog, and confronted The Man.  The Man rushed off in fear of his is life and The Happy Family was able to sleep peacefully.

Okay, the dude was literally digging through my big green trash can.  I have a problem with this.  Go through my junk beside the can.  Take what you want.   But the trash can is off limits.  I called the City, thinking they would be on my side.  I mean, the trash either belongs to me, or to them.  They said there wasn't anything I could do about it!  Yes, the guy tried to pick up, but I still had to go out there and clean up a bags worth of trash.  At night.  In my PJ's.  Another atrocity.  Is there no where to draw the line?  Can my trash not even have dignity?  Now, I will have to be self-conscious for my trash.  Isn't there an organization that supports the rights of my garbage?  We have some ideas to get back at them.  Or prevent further intrusion.

  • Collect all of dogs refuse for the week, and place in on top (this may not be okay with the city, but ridiculous times call for ridiculous measures!)
  • Booby trap can with pepper spray
  • Placing a sign that says "Our trash is our trash.  Get your own."
  • Placing a brick in each bag (again the city might not be okay with this one)
  • Laying in wait, and taking photos of the offenders, turning them in for littering.  
If you scrap metal, awesome!  If you are a "Freegan",  excellent!  If you love finding treasures, me too!  If you must go through green garbage cans, please have the decency to take the bag home first.  And feel free to leave me a tip under my door mat. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Hoops We Jump Through...

As I was laying, or maybe I should say propped, by Jacob while he was falling asleep, I realized that I spend many uncomfortable minutes trying to make my children happy.  I was perched on the edge of his bed, laying there,  with my knees on the ground, wanting to go to sleep myself.  Sometimes it takes hours to get a child to sleep.  Desperation strikes at times, and you fall asleep only to be awakened by the child climbing over you to get a toy, a snack, or leg warmers.  I was still in the game, but barely... I forced my eyes to stay open.  I was staring at the side of his head, admiring the wax that is so plentiful in my children's ears, just wondering when he would fall out, when he turned his head, and closed his eyes.  I could see what is left of his darling baby face through the gaps in my bangs.  I wish I could have captured a photo just like that, with my hair in the way, his baby face exposed just enough to remind me how sweet and innocent he is, and how much we have to learn from each other.  Then he was asleep, breathing deeply, and I was filled with relief, as well as excitement;I could now get on with my evening.  It was a fleeting, precious moment, I am so glad I looked.

Dear Patty Presbyterian...

I have a friend, who will hopefully know the titled name to be hers.  The kind of friend that you have for a season, that you know is put there in your life for you to learn very specific lessons.  The kind that you wished you had taken more efforts to see.  We used to joke about the pressures of being Molly Mormon and Patty Presbyterian, and while we only keep touch through our blogs, I admire her, as many do.  I read her writings, and I think, "How will I ever be that amazing?"  I know she is a real woman, with real struggles, and I feel for her and her family, especially now.  She really is an exceptional woman, with an exceptional family.  And I hope that when she reads this, she will know I was thinking of her, though I never called or wrote.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Musing on Men: Why Mine is Better than Yours

Ladies...(and I address the ladies because it is exceedingly doubtful that any man reads this, including my own AND you must imagine that I am talking as if we are sharing a cup of tea, 
sampling cake, and wearing fine dresses, with parasols by our sides) 

It is not a new thing to get a compliment on my husband.  Oh yes, he is a great Man Child, and does not volunteer to clean the toilets, and frequently falls asleep during church, but that is what I call Charm.  You know, Charm, right?  The things that children and husbands do that are most bothersome, but no one is brave enough to tell you to your face, so they say they have "Charm".   I myself am guilty, and I apologize  if I have told you that you or your children, or your dog are full of Charm.  If you feel the need to take offense, then consider that I would never tell someone they had Charm, if I didn't have a special place in my heart for them.  It is almost pre-requisite.  And don't worry, if you haven't measured up yet, you will.  I have the ability to find Charm anywhere, for Charm adds variety, and I like variety.

Now back to my Charm.  I recently received a lovely compliment on how my husband helped me during a moment of distress, of his own accord.  Indeed, he saved me from having a complete emotional breakdown in the presence of everyone we know.  Instead, I was able to carry on in the bathroom.  Thank you, Dear !  It could only have been better if he had handed me an handkerchief as he swept the babe from my skirt.  I accept these compliments, like I am the deserving recipient of them.  Of course, the Man Child is the one who should be receiving them, and I always pass them on, and he is very humble, and even more deserving in my eyes.  I find that I am overwhelmed by how he helps me; I, an awful hormonal creature who often makes his life so much more stressful.  He takes me as I am, and knows what will get me where I need to be, he occasionally admits that I am right, he puts the boys to bed, and has amazing biceps. 

I have found that I am, perhaps, proud.  Indeed, I have noticed that he has competitors.  He is no longer the hands down winner of this non-existing competition.  I informed him of this, and he was shocked.  Shocked that there was such a competition going on within my brain.  In the end, he was not surprised, for even though he swears he will never understand me, he definitely knows me.  He is racing, he just doesn't know it, and though he may not win, I suppose, I am just glad that he is in the running. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Boy Shopping

I was laying in bed last night reading a book, where one of the characters is called Ghost-Boy.  This naturally led me to thinking of all of the names that I used to give the boys on which I had crushes in college.  You know the ones that I was afraid to talk to.
First-Aid-Boy, Yard-Boy, Danny-Boy, ROTC-Boy, Running-Boy,
Library-Boy (Also known as lets-go-to-the-library-and-"study"-every-day-for-a-semester-until-you-start-to-get-a-crush-on-me-and-then-announce-your-fiance-is-coming-from-the-phillipines-boy),
and Bagelby's-Boy (whom my roommate actually liked, but I later found out was also my neighbor's Social-Dance-Boy).

I had an epiphany: My search for boys was similar to impulse-shopping.

First, lets review the boy search (I was boy crazy, afterall):

I saw the-boy.  I thought I would die if I didn't talk to him.
I talked to him in class, or at devotional.  Whatever.
I thought I would never be able to live without him.  
I agree to a date.

Next, lets compare it to my impulse-shopping:

I see the cutest bracelets I have ever seen.  So cute they make my heart ache.
I look at them while I am shopping.
I move on, continue shopping, all the while thinking about these bracelets, knowing they would look perfect with that black top in my closet.  My heart was aching after all.
I give in and go back.   

Finally, the conclusion:

They are cute, but would be cuter on someone else's arm.  
They kind of itch and aren't very comfortable.  
I most definitely would never be able to live with them.
I forget about them.

At least the boy-shopping has been retired.  Now to master the impulse-shopping.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pop Tarts...The New Perfume

Recently, a friend was telling me of the differences in the frequency of child-bathing between her and a sister.  One was an "every-day-bather-no-matter-what", and one is a "few-times-a-week-and-absolutley-always-before-church". 

P.S.  There was no judgement there, just differences stated.  All I could think was "Where do I fall in there?"  Because I most certainly could not pin point a time when all my kids were bathed in the same day.

You see, we have entered that phase where some shower and some are still bathed by their mammy.  Its hard when they start showering.  For a few reasons:
1- I no longer have complete control over the bath situation.
2- The standard of clean that I would like to maintain is different than the child's, mainly because he doesn't have one.
3- I am pretty sure that they aren't even aware of all of the places that need to be washed.
4- It frequently involves the use of an entire bottle of shampoo.
5- No one remembers how to properly use a shower curtain and I am certain the whole bathroom is going to fall through the floor thanks to all of the water that ends up on the floor.

I also find that my standard is lowered during the summer, when swimming pools are frequented, and we have no where to go.  Am I alone in this?  Perhaps, we have the only filthy kids in town.

This morning I announced to my children that a bath was in order.  "Why" was thrown out and I replied with a "because you're stinky".  Cooper then commented, "I don't smell stinky... I smell a Pop tart."


Thursday, May 26, 2011

I do have other kids....

Lately I have noticed that Zaida gets top billing around here, so lest anyone forget, 
we do have other children!

 Cooper about died when they went to Free Comic Book Day and these guys were there, along with an overly healthy Captain America.


Evolution of the Moustache

Oh ye month of May, how I long for you to end! 

Who Needs Toys?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

School's out for summer!

So I recently polled my children to see what type of activities they would like to do this summer.  This is what they want to do:

1.  Go to Logan's.  (Not Krista's, or Nonnie's.  Logan's.)
2.  Go to the Beach.  (This is already a reward for a goal that is in place, but it is summer!)
3.  Visit cemeteries.  (What?  My kids are scaredy cats!)

We will do those and many other things I am sure!  I just have to find a new motive to get up early!
What kinds of things are y'all doing?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011