Saturday, July 23, 2011

Genuine Perfection

Today was one of those near-perfect summer days, the kind filled with snapshots and memories and awesome things. (The phrase “awesome things” indicates just how badly my writing skills have atrophied...) Among them:

* Walking through a street fair, in the sun under my sky blue “sunbrella,” wearing a polka-dotted sundress and red lipstick, on my way to rehearse my favorite opera.

* Playing with our friends and their beautiful 8-month-old at the amazing Hanover Library. Beaming with pride as the librarians smiled at Henry’s little oohs and aahs as we made our way through the walls of books, picking several to bring home, knowing he will ask us to read them many times.

* Coffee and snacks while catching up with good friends, watching our boys run (slightly wild) through the (practically empty) cafe. 

* Playing peekaboo on the bed with Matt and Henry and surprisingly them both so totally that we all fell in a heap, laughing til we almost cried.

* A delicious meal al fresco: grilled bbq chicken, local squash and tomatoes, baked sweet potatoes with local goat cheese, a cold beer. Henry eating all of it (except the beer) sitting shirtless in his high chair, covered in goat cheese and barbecue sauce by the end of it. We sat together at the table after eating and sang songs and watched Henry learn the difference between the sign for “more” and “again” as he asked to sing “The Grand Old Duke of York” over and over again.

In so many ways, these were little moments of perfection. Instagram-worthy moments that would be proud to be featured on any blog about the life of a young working mother and her family. Summery, happy, healthy. Perfect.

And yet... Isn’t there always more to the story? Today, to be honest, there isn’t much more; it was a pretty great day all around. But I’ve been thinking about this idea of perfection a lot recently. Why is it such a sought after goal?

The reason so many “mommy blogs” rub me the wrong way is the way so many focus on the wonderful, cool, stylish, special things they do with and for their children. That stuff is great, but I always navigate away from those sites feeling a little unworthy. Surely those women don’t have tables covered with clutter, or kitchen sinks constantly filled with food debris. Surely their children put themselves to sleep with no fuss, and they never bite or whine because they can’t play with the iPhone. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they DO, but who talks about that? That stuff is embarrassing, right?

I’m working on getting my head back in the blogging game, but I feel like it’s been taken over with “perfect” blogs, stories of women living perfect lives. My life is amazing, but holy cow is it every far from perfect! I also struggle with the desire to constantly improve my life and that of my family - what to read, wear, eat, do - but instead of finding inspiration, I get so discouraged by all the perfection and just go back to the status quo. That’s my own hang-up, most likely, but I’m getting kind of fed up with feeling unworthy. Let’s have a little more reality, shall we? Instead of Hair Thursdays or the like, how about we all take snapshots of the messiest room of our house and post them every Monday? Or every Friday is “How my child ruined my latest plan to have Me Time” story-sharing. It’s not so much misery-loves-company, because I’m not miserable, but I am real.

There is a parallel here to performing, and maybe I’ll write about it more another time. Now I have to go to bed because my adorable and brilliant son still wakes up 2-3 times a night. But basically, it all boils down to this:

Give me genuine over perfect any day.
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