I see you at drop-off while I am disheveled in my sweats and rushing my child into school, running late once again. I glance at you in your perfectly-matched athletic wear and I am envious of you for looking like you could be on the cover of a Lululemon catalog so early in the morning. Your “messy bun” is frustratingly stylish, and your makeup hides any hint of you being sleep deprived or exhausted. I’m on my fourth cup of coffee and still cannot keep up with your obvious energy.
How do you do it?
Your child must have gone through a whole design session this morning, too. While I literally pulled my child’s clothing out of the dryer at the last minute, it seems you had your daughter’s outfit planned days beforehand. Even the bow and tights are coordinated, while my kid is over here wearing socks that don’t match and a solid case of bedhead.
When I came to your house for our children to have a playdate, I wasn’t lying when I said I was in awe of how minimalistic and orderly everything was. Where was the clutter? How was it that every toy worked and had batteries? How come none of the games had missing parts? Where were the dishes in the sink? I would have to bring in three professional organizers to achieve this level of neatness.
While having lunch, you honestly seemed satisfied with that plain, dressing-less salad as I sat there salivating over the leftover chicken nuggets that were in front of us. I thought about how fun it would be for you and me, two grown women, to sit there and finish the kids’ food, laughing together at the silliness of the moment. But you seem so disciplined, so I didn’t suggest it.
I don’t know if this all comes easily to you or not. Are you actually, truly stuck in a life that is riddled with incredible standards of perfection? I cannot even grasp being able to maintain that lifestyle. I don’t know the real answer. I just know that it seems like a huge burden to bear, appearing so flawless at every moment. I really hope you are happy. I hope I am incorrect in thinking that it’s too much to constantly carry without dropping the ball at some point.
Please know this: if maintaining this level of “mom-perfection” should become impossible, it will be OK. I want so badly to assure you that other moms will understand and embrace you. You won’t have failed. You won’t have humiliated yourself or your children. There is a beauty and a sincerity in admitting that motherhood is hard, messy, and complicated. There is a refreshing sense of truth in wearing our fears and insecurities on the outside, since we are all in this together.
At some point, most of us crack under the pressure of societal expectations. If that should happen, I am here, without judgment. And if I am wrong in my assumptions, I am here anyway. We might be traveling the same journey along routes with different terrain, but we are both just trying to travel along the best way we know how. We are different, but more importantly, we are also the same.
A Mom Who Is Here No Matter What