Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Practically Perfect in Every Way???

Did you think of Mary Poppins when you read the title of this post? Remember when she took out her special tape measure to size up Michael and Jane, and the tape told her about their personalities and quirks? And when she measured herself, it said, "Mary Poppins. Practically perfect in every way."
Ahem. Just because she was, does that mean we need to be?

Let's shed a little light on Miss Poppins' situation, shall we?

Do you realize she didn't cook? Did you ever see her doing the laundry? I didn't! And when she did clean, all she did was sing a song and snap her fingers, and the toys put themselves away! Mary Poppins didn't have a husband to attend to, and she got paid to be nice to those kids!!!
Is anyone reading these words living under the same conditions as Miss Practically Perfect?
No? Me neither. So let's put away the notion that we need to be perfect, OK?

I realize last week a wrote another post about our need to receive grace as mothers, but I am willing to risk the possibility that some of you will begrudge the redundancy, because the need just keeps surfacing.
Yesterday I met with a dear friend with whom I am in a mentoring relationship. She has recently had her first baby and we spent much of our time yesterday talking about how hard this phase is. My friend has been concerned about various things common to first-time moms, and now her husband is putting in a lot of hours at work and school - leaving her feeling rather alone. She told me she wants to support him and be there for him at the end of the day, but she is just so tired all she really wants to do is go to sleep.
I know many of you can relate to my friend. You want to make sure the children are healthy and safe. You want to do everything you can to stimulate their minds and bodies to develop and grow strong. It would be nice if you could maintain the house in some semblance of order. Meals need to be prepared and there is laundry to do. Perhaps you even have a goal of ironing your husband's shirts. And you might also have in mind to preserve all your children's memories in a fancy scrapbook!
I reviewed all the things going on in my friend's life and asked her (as I am asking you), "Is it any wonder you're worn out? You need to take it easy on yourself."
It seems we moms think the world might fall apart if we don't see to it that everything is taken care of and in order.
Guess what??!!
Someone Else has taken on the job of holding the universe together in perfect balance. He has been doing it since the beginning of time and He doesn't need our help.
Will you join me in realizing life will go on even if I am/you are two years "behind" on the scrapbook? Will you take a deep breath with me and accept the fact that a small hole in my/your son's jeans isn't going to stop the world from turning? Will you concur with me on the understanding that the family isn't going to starve because I/you burnt the muffins?
Yes, I want to be the best I can be as a wife and mother. I hope you do, too. But we aren't, nor will we ever be, practically perfect in every way.
I recently read a quote by Michael J. Fox which went something like this, "I will strive for excellence, but perfection - I'll leave that up to God."
Yeah, I'm with Michael. How about you?

BTW, I am in the process of writing a talk which addresses an issue many of us face regarding our imperfect-ness. That is, doubting we can ever be "enough" for our children and family. Stay tuned - I may share some of those thoughts here someday!

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JanMary said...

Great post, and I know how hard it is for mums, especially first time mums. I sometimes wish I had the time that I had with my first baby, but the confidence I had with my last!!!

Thanks for dropping by my blog, and YES you should consider some digi-scrapbooking - not that I am up to date with my scrapbooks, but I am getting there!!

kreed said...

But I want to be perfect in practically every way!!! Thanks for reminding me it is not possible or necessary. Not that I could achieve it anyway!

realworldmartha said...

This post reminded me of the article in Joyce Meyer's mag this month. How can we love others if we don't first love ourselves.
I know I struggle with it and thinking about how we need to do everything so well but all we are called to do is love God and others. But first we must know that we are God's special child and even more special to Him than our children are to us.
It's hard to imagine that kind of love.
Debbie aka The Real World Martha(S)

freetofly said...

Can't wait, Karen! Bring it! In my last comment I mentioned that I SHOULD've given grace to my son, and I missed the cue! SO, that resulted in a 15 yr old meltdown, and then a 42 yr old Mom meltdown, (bc you hate to be the cause of their pain! Life is painful enough!) Anyway, God gave us BOTH grace and all got turned around...but, it all came out of my tendency to want things at a certain standard. I'm usually pretty tuned into when I am being unrealistic, but, this time, I flunked!

I guess, I said all this to say that because I do this to myself, that means I will naturally tend to want to impose that on my children, and I strive to NOT do that!

SO, I am ready for your wisdom, Obi-Wan! Teach me!


annie said...

Amen Karen!

mom2triplets04 said...

I enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing it. creativetripletmom@blogspot.com

Jodi said...

It was great to meet you last night! Everything you said last night was "me". I am tired of being the "irritated mom". Can't wait to dive into your book! I have added your blog to my sidebar.

Be blessed!

luvmy4sons said...

This so hits home with me. I so want things a certain way..and when they aren't, when I am not in control I get fearful and feel like a failure...This is a messsage I have to give myself often! With ya!

Rachel said...

I think of the proverbs 31 woman and my reaction to her is when I have maid servants, I'll become THAT woman! *grin*

Jenileigh said...

How true!