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The Perfect Mom Myth

She's dressed impeccably.  She smells like sunshine.  Her hair looks like the shampoo commercials as it swings to and fro while she's walking with her three children - all of whom are paying perfect attention to her every word.  Her children are also dressed in matching clothes that, as far as I can tell in the afternoon sun, are spotless.  Their hair is styled and they are perfectly accessorized.  She smiles at everyone she passes.  Her phone rings, she answers it, and she carries on a calm and uninterrupted conversation. I watch her as she gets to her car and all of the children immediately climb into the spotless SUV and buckle their seatbelts.  No screaming.  No whining.  She is in control.

While the above scenario may seem like it happens on a daily basis.  I can guarantee that it's never happened to me.  In fact, it probably never will.  This is another Mama Law:

It's a good day if I've had time to get an uninterrupted shower.
It's a great day if I've been able to do this by myself.
It's an amazing day if I'm then able to style my hair, put on makeup, and find clean, matching clothes.

My house is never what some might call "clean."  However, I have perfected the art of making it appear clean.  Just don't check out the closets, under the sinks, or any shelves above eye level.  If I invite you over for lunch, it's because I need an excuse to force my husband to watch the kids so that I can clean the bathrooms, dust the shelves, and do everything else that I've been putting off.  If you call and tell me that you're coming over, I'll kindly invite you in and hope that the hall closet stays shut after I've quickly thrown the vacuum back in after the whirlwind quick clean I did 30 seconds before your arrival.  If you show up unannounced, I'll tell you the truth by saying it's just been one of those days (while not telling you that's how every day really is).

My kids go out in public in their PJs because I don't want to deal with the temper tantrums.  Their hair may not have been brushed because the oldest child was using the hairbrush as a weapon against her brother.  They might have eaten goldfish or cookies for breakfast in the car on the way to school because we were just lucky enough to have left the house in one piece.  Milk has been spilled on the carpet, in the car, down the toilet, and in the baby's bed.  I spray Febreeze or Lysol to cover the smell until I have time to get the carpet cleaner out.

The only reason my kids are walking neatly in line with me when I walk into the store is because I've threatened no cookies or ice cream when we get home if they aren't anything less than perfectly behaved.  I haven't carried on a conversation with a friend, colleague, or family member without throwing in the phrase, "Stop hitting your brother," "No biting," or "We don't touch puppy bottoms" in too long to remember.  And, if my kids have every gotten into a car without screaming or whining, it's only because they were a newborn, already asleep in their pumpkin seat.

Mama Law learned: If I wanted to be the perfect mom, then why did I have kids?  So, I'm not even going to try.  I kind of like being imperfect.

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