Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfection, Insecurity, Jeans, & Virtual World Envy

It's supposed to get better. I'm older. More mature. Less insecure. It's supposed to get better.

It doesn't. At least it doesn't for me. Walking through the mall, I still feel like an awkward thirteen year old (not a pretty year for me).

A perfectionist bent. A conscientious personality. A wallflower by nature. An observer. Or is it an obsessor?

Now I'm 36.

No mall. Just a perfectly manicured lawn, tulip and daffodil walkway leading up to a perfect BHG porch. I have a virtual play date to see the perfect homemaker. You know her. She swings the door open. You smell ginger cookies, but her kitchen counters are clean and there are no crumbs on her floor. Her four children are playing on the living room rug. Their toys match the decor, like the Pottery Barn catalog, the one on a leaning stack of mail sitting on my kitchen counter at home. She smiles. Her hair and make-up look like she's ready to go on a date with her husband. Her necklace sets off the color in the feminine ruffles on her blouse. She tells me she made it and sells it in her Etsy shop. She's barefoot, but her toes are painted. "Come in," she says, "Let me just shut down the computer. I was finishing up a post for my blog. Would you like a latte?"

I want to turn around, I should turn around and forget what I just saw, what I already knew and didn't need to be reminded of. I am not the perfect homemaker. Instead, I step in, take off my shoes and start observing. Or is it obsessing?

When I leave I am fueled by a spurt of energy, inspired by someone else's success. Determined to become more like her, so I start something new. I bore quickly. Move on. Wandering, aimlessly, looking for some other inspiration. Beautiful in someone else's world. Attempted in mine, but never clearly owned. Not quite me.

Who exactly am I?
I wear jeans. Regardless of the number of pairs hanging in my closet there is always the same pair in a pile by my bed, where they were taken off the night before. They make me comfortable because I feel most like myself in them. And I wear them, as often as I dare, until I find another pair I like better. Then I no longer really feel like myself in them, but feel self-conscience and awkward.
I used to write. I used to draw and paint. I used to spend hours alone, thinking, pondering my life and who I was. I used to have friends I got together with just to make collages from old magazines while drinking coffee and listening to music. I used to talk for hours about who I knew God to be. Former favorite jeans.
What jeans are in a pile by the side of the bed today?
My days are filled with un-blog-worthy events. I make breakfast. Not the waffles with strawberries and whipped cream that make for a yummy photograph to post, but cold cereal and sometimes a Pop Tart. I change diapers and far more Pull-ups than a little girl who is three and a half should need changed. I read stacks and stacks of picture books, written and illustrated by someone else. I get called to see dozens of different Lego creations daily. I convince a busy girl she needs to try and go potty. I laugh at senseless knock-knock jokes. I cut up corn dogs and apple slices. I decide to wake up a sleeping baby from a nap because I want to make sure that the house is quiet by seven o'clock each night. I make small people take baths by promising cuddle time when they are all clean. I sneak in kisses. I clean wax filled ears. I get up from the table at least ten times during dinner. I threaten to take away chore tickets when siblings cannot get along. I put in a Clifford video when I cannot handle a child at my elbow or knees.
My comfortable jeans are worn, not in a trendy fashionable way, in a tired, used, and well loved way.
So many more ways to judge myself. To feel insecure.
  • How clean is my house?
  • How socialized are my children?
  • How authentic are my conversations?
  • How well attended are my children's birthday parties?
  • How successful am I at making people feel good about themselves?
  • How adorable are my children?
  • How often is my husband pleased with me?
  • How often do I laugh uninhibited?
  • How cute is my wardrobe?
  • How many people consider me a true friend?
  • How gentle are my words?
  • How much genuine love to I experience? Give?
  • How able to sacrifice my securities am I?
  • How careful am I with our financial resources?
  • How close am I to the heart of my God?
So many possibilities for failure.
So many possibilities for success.


  1. People talk about their spiritual callings. And recently at MOPS, I was reminded that once you become a mom, have no doubt, your calling is to be "a mom". I have been called to be...a mom. When I remember that, it sure makes me feel a little better about all those things I don't get done each day.
    Thanks for your post and for reminding me of this.

  2. Thank, Alisha. Sometimes I feel like I've lost myself. Other times it's easy to see how I merely added another layer to who I am, making me deeper, with richer character. It's far too easy to see how other mom's approach motherhood/womanhood and attempt to do it like them or measure my success by what they are doing.
    I really like being a mom.