As the holidays and New Years roll around, I’m reminded of how insanely crafty and on the ball some moms can be. They make peppermint bark and post things on Pinterest that look professionally done. They make perfectly decorated cookies and design splendorous holiday scenes and dioramas. Really? a diorama???
Look, I have my moments, but I’m speaking of a specific mom we all know, the “PERFECT Mother.” She’s president of the PTA, she plans all the fundraisers. She bakes homemade goodies from scratch for bake sales. She has a position on every board. She recommends who should be room mom to all the teachers and you can pretty much call her for any bit of information. I like to joke that if you need anything changed, explained, or rerouted, you could call her and it would get done with meticulous speed and accuracy.
“Could you tell me how the Facebook algorithms work?” “How many reformers will they have at the new Pilates studio?” “Will I have to take a connecting flight on my trip to Utah?”
I also like to imagine that she walks around with a Tide Stain Stick, righting the wrongs of the slovenly.
As much as I would like to be involved in every facet of my child’s life, and on top of every box top collected or Fun Run ran, I will never ever be that chick and there are a multitude of reasons why. Here are a few:
1. The Perfect Mother is chipper and efficient 24/7
Her: By 6AM her coffee pot (which she set the night before) is half empty, she’s already eaten and made a breakfast for her children that involves protein and food groups, and possibly used a skillet.
Me: I’m barely up in time for my children to make it to school without a mad rush to get out of the house. At some point I throw a bowl of cereal with or without milk (depending on our carton situation) and call it healthy if said cereal doesn’t have the word sugar in the title.
2. The Perfect Mother actually has her memory in tact.
Her: She is a veritable Rolodex — remembering the name of every mother, teacher, administrator and child she’s ever met. And she addresses each one by name and throws out a timely personal reference. “Hey, Joey how’s it having a new baby sister around the house?”
Me: There are times when I see someone I’ve known for a decade, but for the life of me, I cannot recall their name. I just stare blankly and stutter, give them the old “Hey honey,” or I pretend someone’s yelling for me and run away.
3. The Perfect Mother is clean and tidy.
Her: She is always showered and never drives carpool braless in an oversized t-shirt boxers and Uggs.
Me: There are days that I rush to carpool in PJs and realize I haven’t brushed my teeth since the night before. (PS This example may include afternoon carpool).
4. The Perfect Mother is always thinking about education.
Her: When her family plays games, they are always educational. Counting apples, forming words, sliding down things, critical thinking with clay…
Me: We have a Guitar Hero battle of the bands, we have actual Dance revolutions, and I’m pretty certain game night involved black jack, poker, and gin rummy by the time my kids were 4.
5. The Perfect Mother never wishes she had a personal assistant.
Her: She answers every text, email, and phone message as they come in, with perfect precision.
Me: I show up at most child’s birthday parties and may hear this “Oh, I wish you’d RSVP’d I hope we have enough goodie bags.”
6. The Perfect Mother makes sure her children don’t watch inane or inappropriate programs.
Her: She shows her children specials on the National Geographic channel and takes them to age appropriate flicks.
Me: I consider the watching of Big Brother to be an educational family event that teaches socialization and negotiation tactics. At least that’s what I tell my kids when I shush them while it’s on. And I showed them Airplane and other awesome slapstick classics at 6 years old because I thought it’d be fun to quote lines with them (it is).
7. The Perfect Mother thinks Martha Stewart could do better.
Her: Not only does she run the school sales and other events, she hand makes the items to sell there, then dips them in her chocolate fount and rolls them in sprinkles — whether it’s a bake sale or a book fair. Yes, even books taste good smothered in chocolate.
Me: If you ask me to donate something to a bake sale, not only will I not bake it, I may enlist another mother to pick it up from the store for me. “What Kelly, you have to run to the store? Could you grab some Entenmann’s?”
8. The Perfect Mother started in the womb.
Her: She taught her kids French in utero and how to read in the delivery room. Her kids are prepared for every test project and homework assignment, though I’m pretty sure she does most the projects for them. (I too do projects for, ahem, with my kids, but that’s usually because we’ve all waited until the last minute and it’s me … or an F.)
Me: I sign my kid’s homework agendas and reading logs based on the honor system. Even though I’m pretty sure one of them is still illiterate (but, it’s OK because I’m not certain).
9. The Perfect Mother is punctual.
Her: She is always the first one at any meeting, event, function, or party (usually setting up). She may have 17 kids and still not one of them seems to make her a second late.
Me: I’m late for ridiculous reasons like, my kids are busy fighting over who the dog loves more, or I spent 20 minutes looking for my phone (which was in my hand).
10. The Perfect Mother may be a robot.
Her: I’m quite certain that like Martha Stewart and Ryan Seacrest, she is some sort of robot, alien or vampire (that doesn’t shimmer or burn in daylight). Having 24 hours a day to accomplish things would make anyone seem like a super hero. Well, that and a continuously running chocolate fount.
Me: I am simply human, sometimes I don’t have a minute to shower, some meals my kids don’t get all the nutrients on the food pyramid, sometimes we watch pointless reality tv and boo when the wrong people get voted off, but I do my best and they’re pretty awesome, so something’s working.
Happy Holidays and this year … “Don’t try to keep up with the PERFECT Mother — Redefine her! Plus, (she’s overrated) real moms make growing up fun.”
(Well, whether it’s true or not, that’s what I’m needlepointing on a pillow this year. I mean if I knew how to needlepoint, I would.)
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