After another evening with my daughter talking to me about how Mrs X does this, and Mrs X does that, and "don't worry - Mrs X can do it for me", I sighed and said "That Mrs X is the perfect mother"
And my husband said "Oh you know that isn't true" And my daughter, and HER TWO SISTERS said "Oh yes. Yes SHE IS"
And then, perhaps realising their mistake quickly followed it up with "I mean she is completely perfect, but you are perfect for us - we don't want a perfect mother. It would be TERRIBLE"
Which is perhaps nice. Or perhaps a bit like getting a "thanks for contributing" prize when you didn't get a placement but everyone felt sorry for you
I don't hold resentment towards the perfect mother at all. I have tried and failed to be a perfect parent and I'm ok with that. However her perfection has become the gold standard of things Can you do this? My children ask. No, I say - and then I add - I bet Mrs X would do that - and they'll inadvertently agree "Why yes she would" Here's how she's perfect
- She makes lasagna. I used to make lasagna before I had a business and three kids and three dogs. Now - it's "deconstructured lasagna - aka spag bol. She also makes homemade pizza with proper home made bases. I buy Sals.
- She takes her children to school. I do too - if they are leaving at 7am...
- She does activities with her children in the holidays. So do I - if that activity includes packing up client boxes at the office or grabbing a quick bite between meetings.
- She is happy being a taxi. I'd prefer to pay for a taxi
- She makes her children's lunches every day. I buy the ingredients for school lunches
- She doesn't shout or get impatient. I do. Quite a bit
I'm pretty sure there are far more other reasons why she's perfect. I'm pretty sure she volunteers for stuff, even though she also works. She seems to love having holidays with her children (we just got back from a holiday without them!) There would have been a time when I would have felt threatened about my parenting from Mrs X.
But the thing is she's LOVELY. I can see why she earns the title of "the perfect mother" and I'm good with it And there is some truth in my children's comments about why they love my complete lack of perfection. My imperfections have made them pretty good at making their own lunches, finding their own ways to things, and funding solutions to things because I'm not there to do it for them. They are proud of what they can do, because of what I did not do.
And so I'm happy if we still chat about her at the dinner table, over a quickly prepared spag bol, with one of those "salads in a box" you get in the cheats section in Countdown and admit that yes, we know a perfect mother, but it certainly isn't me.