Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Perfect Mother.

Both my children yesterday, in completely separate incidents and without the knowledge of one another, declared that I was “the perfect mother”.

No, seriously. They said that. They aren’t even on drugs or anything.

After laughing myself silly, I thought about what they said. And I? Was pretty touched.

I can guarantee that when I was almost ten years old, I did not think my mother was perfect. Or that her parenting was perfect. I already knew, at my daughter’s age, that I was a disappointment. My sisters were pretty and I was not. I loved to read and make up stories and tell jokes when I was supposed to be outside and being quiet. I didn’t fit in to my own family, ever. I still don’t.

I don’t think I’m the perfect mother. Far from it. So far, that you couldn’t see it from the Hubble telescope. I’m not always patient or kind. I’m fat and I can’t do math in my head. I’m funny, usually, and usually on purpose. I think its okay to laugh at yourself, and I hope I’m teaching them that.

I’m also profoundly depressed. Clinically. I have to take medication every day. I have to take more medication to sleep. I have to pay a therapist a god-awful amount of money to convince me that life is worth living. I am, depending on your perception, one crazy bitch or one hot mess. Not that one is better than the other, I’m afraid.

There is a very real possibility that at some point in the future, my children will have to deal with my illness.

There is a very real possibility that someday they will have to deal with an illness of their own, all because of me, and my crappy genetic contribution.

That’s pretty far from perfect.

I wonder sometimes, at night when I can’t sleep, if God won’t let me have a baby with Jason because something about the combination of me plus him would make a child who is one of those children who climb the clock towers and do terrible things to other people. It’s a horrifying thought, and even more horrifying when I look at my little children who are, by all outward appearances, completely normal, healthy, happy and well-adjusted. Divorce did not scar them. Knowing that their biological father exists in the world and doesn’t want to know them does not bother them. Somehow, the majority of my anxieties and fears do not seem to have transferred themselves to these small people, and for that? I am enormously grateful.

Also? Scared to death.

I’ve always wondered how far personal desire will take someone. More than anything in this world, I want to be a good mother. There is nothing else on this planet that I could ever or will ever want more than to be the mother that my children deserve. To be the mother who doesn’t freak out over every little thing. Who would rather read a book together than clean the house (anyday!). Who really wants to have children grow up to be good people, in a world where being good isn’t really valued.

I also want other things, deeply. Like to work in a job that isn’t Hell and for my husband to have a job. To not be in debt to Sallie Freaking Mae for the rest of my life. To be creative and have the opportunity to live my life in a creative way, instead of having my soul sucked out of me at every avenue. To have something published, to be a real writer instead of just playing one on the internet.

All of those things I want too. And none of them are happening.

So it’s scary. All of it.

Because I’ll never be perfect.


Allie said...

Its okay not to be perfect, no one is, but you can't accomplish all these things at once, what will motivate you to continue if you peak in your thirties? you've hit a rough patch but things will get better. Things have to suck sometimes so you can appreciate it more when they don't suck.

J said...

Oh, Chick. You don't see just how perfect you really are. You work so hard for what you want in life, what you want your kids to have, what you believe is right and good in this world. You try so much harder than most people. You are a wonderful mother and wife. No one is perfect, no one gets everything they want, but we all keep trying. You inspire people, Chick. And the people that love you? Your kids, Jason, your readiers? We love you just the way you are. So keep trying, and like they say, you can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you'll find, you get what you need.


Anonymous said...

I think all of us worry about being better moms and not being good at it. The ones who don't are the shitty ones.

Worrying about it is what makes you try harder to be an even better mom.

You're doing a fantastic job.

None of us are perfect.

But you know what? I once met this girl who was perfect. She was pretty, she was the nicest person in the world, she loved everything from sports to shopping, she was one of those people that you couldn't think of anything not to like about her.

But she was so terribly, terribly boring, that we avoided inviting her to anything. Perfection isn't interesting. What makes us fun and interesting is our quirks, our oddities, our flaws.

Without them? We're nothing.

Sabrina said...


I know exactly how you feel about passing along a condition to my children. I have a medical condition too and there's a slim but still a chance that my children could get it. I did not know that they could as I was told it skips generations. Well, it doesn't. I was so distraught but when I asked my husband if he hated me for potentially bringing this into my children's lives, he said "If they get it, we can deal with it. It's treatable." I thought that was the coolest thing ever and I've been "ok" with the decision of having children since then.

I think all mom's are perfect. For as much as we all go through, we still manage to hold it together so well. That makes us perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

None of us ever think we're perfect. If we were all perfect, the world would be one big snooze fest.

You ARE perfect--to your children, to your husband to many of us.


Tricia said...

So you are right. You aren't the "perfect" mother. But obviously, you are the perfect mother to your children. That is evident in, not only their outright expression of this fact, but also in how incredibly happy they are. It is obvious even through your stories. I can't even begin to imagine how awesome they are in person. Which, of course, is just a reflection of you.

I know you often don't think much of yourself (as that is what you write!), but all of us who care about what you write think a lot of you.

And you know, I am pretty sure you will be a "real" writer one day. And I will soooo go to Barnes and Noble and turn all of your books so they are facing foward, so they attract more buyers.

Dreamer said...

It's okay to not be perfect, no one is perfect, honestly. But, what really matters is that in your kids eyes? You *are* perfect, they wouldn't want you to be anything different.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I can totally understand why you're on the edge right now. There's so much you want to go right that is going very much wrong. Work situations being the worst of it, of course.

There's also so much you want to go right that is though. And it's the stuff that matters most right now. Your kids. That? You are doing right. They are amazing kids, and you're giving them what you didn't have. Encouragement. Acceptance. The belief that they can accomplish whatever they want to. And? You make them happy. That tops everything.

The other wrong things...they won't be wrong forever. You're doing what you can about that. And new wrong things? Yes, they'll totally crop up. They always do. But you've got enough right going on in your family that you're going to be okay. Weary at times, but okay.

CPA Mom said...

well, we've talked about this quite a bit already in email so I won't rehash - just saying that perfect is boring and not all we think it is (can't wait to read Jane Porter's Mrs. Perfect!!). We have similar issues and fears for our kids...just listening, as always.

Anonymous said...

The very fact that you are putting this much time and effort and love and thought into puzzling this all out is proof that you are a good parent. (As if hearing it directly from your childrens' mouths was not enough.) Bad parents don't do that.

Oh, and if God bothered himself with that sort of stuff there wouldn't be tower snipers at all, right?

I don't know you yet, but your parenting skills look awfully damn good to me.

Tarasview said...

we have an awful lot in common I think...

I’m not always patient or kind. I’m fat and I can’t do math in my head. I think I'm funny... sometimes my kids do too. I am also clinically depressed and on medication.

Just thought I'd tell you I can relate :)

Anonymous said...

Chick- I think that you are doing all that you can. And for your kids to say that about you is awesome. Means you are doing something if not most things right. I know life knocks us down but from everything I have read about you here- you will and you can pull yourself right back up. You sound like such an amazing woman and I am inspired by you. Please keep beleiving in yourself and your family. You will get through this "rough patch" and come out to a place that you can and will thrive in. Hang in there Chick. I love reading your writing- I have added scrible/scrivle? to my bookmarks- too funny.

Back to Lurking!!!

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...


Do you realize how BORING perfect would be?? You, my dear, are awesome just the way you are. I was talking to a friend of mine one day about not being creative and she pointed out to me that me blogging is creative. You are a great mother, your children are proof positive of that. It is not your fault you have a mental illness. Plenty of people deal with that. I am one of them. I am not ashamed to admit that. I didn't cause it.

It's your imperfections that make you who you are.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should aim for perfect. I think we should aim for happy. If we can raise happy, healthy children and if we can give them a happy childhood that is as perfect as I need to be.

Jenski said...

Kids can just tell these things. You may not feel perfect, but you are obviously perfect for them and for Jason. Your kids realize what a wonderful example you set for them in how you try to live your life and they will always love you for it.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

You're awsome. Who the hell needs perfect? If you were some Donna Reed, folding napkins into swans and baking crispy, yummo squares,you would make me throw up in my mouth. And not just a little, a lot.

As for Sallie Mae, she's an evil douch. She already owns my soul, and proboly my kids as well.

As for doing something creative, something special, I'm right there with you. I'm sick of working at a crappy job just to pay bills. I thought I went to college to avoid that crap. Silly me.

You'll make it happen Chick, I just know you will :)

Stephanie said...

The best thing I ever learned from our therapist? That we don't have to be perfect. In fact, perfect would warp them just as much as abominable would. We just have to be good enough. That soooo soothed my soul. I hope it soothes yours, too.

You are just what they need.

PaintedPromise said...

wow chick - a lot fo what you said? could have come straight from my own mouth...

Alpha Dude said...

There was only person in all of history that was, indeed, perfect.
They nailed Him to a cross.

Are you perfect? Nah.
Are you awesome anyway? You betcha.

Hang in there Chick. You're doing fine.


Wenderina said...

Perfect sucks big ass. It's much more interesting and lovable to be honest and less than perfect. We'd hate you if you were perfect.

We love you for being human and beautifully imperfect.

Jocelyn said...

Instead of judging yourself by looking at yourself, try judging yourself by looking at your kids.

There's a reason they're that terrific.

Give yourself the credit.

bichonpawz said...

There are alot of us out here that can relate to exactly what you are saying and how you are feeling. Your kids think you're terrific...you must be doing something right! Hang in there, girl!!

Joy T. said...

I know someone who is perfect. She's completely boring and drab and I'd like to poke her with a sharp stick everytime I see her. You? I don't feel the need to poke with a sharp stick :o)

Kelly said...

There is noone in this world who is perfect! We all have flaws we need to consistantly work on. I think you are too hard on yourself. At least you know what your problem areas are and you are getting the help you need to deal and help yourself. That is the important part. You are not in denial, you are not saying you are perfect...you admit to having issues..and that is AWESOME!! I think those that think they ARE PERFECT are the scarier people in the world. Those that think they can do no wrong...watch out..because those are the people that screw up peoples lives!!
Your kids perspective of you is awesome! You are doing something right!! You are fair and consistent with them and you are teaching them an important lesson in life - admiting to your faults and working to make yourself better!
You are an awesome mother..after all your kids are the ones to best make that judgement. THink of all you've been through and all that you've overcame in life!!! MY god...I give you so much CREDIT...you survived! YOu had 2 choices at that particular time in your life... 1) GIVE UP 2) FIGHT to gain your life back!! You chose to fight!...to NOT GIVE UP! THink of the message that sends to your kids.....Awesome! :)

Amy W said...

I think your kids show you what a good job you are doing...and I concur with everyone else. Perfect=boring.

Jill said...

you have healthy happy kids, be satisfied with that. you're too hard on yourself, and really, i wonder if you realize that if the loans are your hubby's that you can call Sallie Mae and get a deferrment on that until he gets another job? it would be one less bill to pay while he's unemployed.

frannie said...

It is amazing to me how much we think alike.

SJINCO said...

One of my most favorite quotes: "I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business." Michael J. Fox

You Chick? Are excellent. To your kids there is nothing better.

julie said...

Perfect is boring and unhuman. You rock just the way you are. And your kids are better off for it.

Jana said...

Thanks for such brutal honesty. You really took the words right out of my mouth. It sounds to me like you are a GREAT mom because a GREAT mom cares about whether or not she is being a good mom. And as far as I'm concerned you are a REAL writer, I know I couldn't do it as well as you have. Good things happen to good people, and you my friend, are a good person.