Why you should live an imperfect life

About a year ago I read this article on perfection, which made me cry. And think a lot.

Today I want to talk about (and to) all of the women who have children and want to be the perfect mother, wife, lover, business woman, daughter,… 

Being all and everything, to everyone

We want to be all and everything to our husbands: best friend, lover, confidante, nymphomaniac, mother of their children, perfect hostess to our friends… And we often have been educated by a generation of women, who’s first and foremost role it was to please their husbands, who told us that keeping your husband happy is as important as taking care of the kids.

When you start dating all is well in the land of love. You spend all your time going to restaurants, holding hands, traveling, talking about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, being in awe of every single morsel of information your partner dispatches and every little mole on his skin. You make love like rabbits, all the time, every where and every how.

Then you enter the era of serious (i.e. over a year) couples and start moving in together, going on dates with other couples, meeting your significant other’s parents. You know your partner’s pet peeves, have heard each other fart and seen each other pee. Your partner still excites you, you still make love often, but sometimes are just tired, mad at your partner for not helping you with the dishes, upset about work, …

Then you get married. And you try to be the perfect wife. Despite the fact that we all know that the perfect wife does not exist. It is when the shit hits the fan that you realize that other couples deal (have dealt or are on the verge of dealing) with the same shit and the same fan.
So why do we put up a perfect couple picture to the outside world when actually inside our walls are falling apart? Because our problems are no one’s business? Certainly. We are dealing with the same shame as mothers do about being perfect and wanting to make this perfect marriage work.

Then you plan on having your first kid and spend a lot of time making love, fervently, every second day, to increase your chances. A bit like the rabbits of your first year, without the lovey dovey look in your eyes and with your legs up against the wall afterwards to ‘make it stick’.

Then you have a baby…. and the whole world changes.

Your body becomes alien. Your hips are too wide, your boobs too big, your hormones too confusing. Your partner, who has been waiting patiently for you to ‘get back to your good old self’ is ready for some action. All you can think about is pumping milk, changing diapers, the last shower was 3 days ago and sleep, sleep, sleep.

Welcome to motherhood!

First things first: The perfect mother does not exist!!!

Well, you say, but what about the one who packs the perfect, healthy lunch with a little smiley note or daily quote, whereas you know only one kind: jam sandwiches and you keep forgetting the fruit?

What about the one who dresses the kids perfectly according to the weather, whereas your little angels catch a cold in their shorts and t-shirts when it’s pouring down with rain?

What about the one who volunteers for any after school activity, whereas you have no idea where you put that list of school activities?

What about the one who is member of the parents/teachers council, whereas you have trouble even attending their regular meetings?

What about the one who throws the perfect birthday party at home, with home made carrot cake and icing depicting the child’s favorite cartoon character, whereas you pay too much money for a place where kids can run wild and are fed and entertained by teenagers?

She exists, you say!
Sure she does. On the outside. In real life, I bet that perfect mom is sitting at home at night crying because she can’t handle it, the pressure is too high and she really wants to just stop and be her imperfect self.

A crack in the foundation.

At some point however, you start to tackle being a mother and you finally start feeling a little at home again in this new body with this new mom’s mind and you think you have it all together again. That’s when you realise that there is crack in your couple’s foundation. Huh? How did that get there?

You deal with insecurity about being a new mom, you go back to work, but climbing the corporate ladder is not really on your to do list anymore, priorities have shifted from ‘making it in the world’ to ‘making it through the day’.

When you finally catch up on your sleep, you start wondering about life, the universe and everything. Why am I here and is this really it? And if your kid asks you what you did today you cannot really tell him ‘I entered data in the computer all day’ because that means absolutely nothing to him.

So that crack must be because of me. Because I’m not happy.

‘Finding yourself’

So you go on a quest. To find yourself. Your purpose. You get a coach (for fitness, life, work, health…). You go on a retreat. You read self help books. You try to find yourself something that fulfills you and makes you happy.

And you find it! Eureka!

And you think that by finding yourself you found the glue that will fix the crack in your couple’s foundation. Because after all, you are happy again and ‘found yourself’.

But the crack was not just your doing. The pit at home is still there. And the crack has morphed into something else. Routine.
And that is not repaired by glue. A routine is comfortable. It is safe.
And it feels less dangerous than that crack that used to be there.
So you’re actually still happy. Kind of happy, but still happy.

The danger of the routine carpet

Routine is like a carpet. It makes things comfortable and easy but it hides all the dirt that’s been swept underneath it over the years. And it’s easier (and less work) to do what you’ve always done (i.e. sweeping uncomfortable things under the carpet) than to put on some sexy underwear to revive that perfect lover that you know you are underneath, or to go on a romantic dinner just the two of you, or to finally have that talk about a long standing issue,…

But after a while, the dirt under the carpet creates a big bump over which, eventually, one of you will stumble. And before you know it, your husband has moved out and you’re heading straight for divorce.

What the hell happened?

In trying to be the perfect lover, wife, mother, colleague,…. things got completely out of hand.

In search of this utopian perfection, you completely lost track of the important stuff: cuddles, little gifts, attention, listening, time away with your partner, in the moment presence, that it doesn’t matter what the kid eats as long as it’s made with love (and doesn’t contain just chocolate), a blowjob, some rest and letting go of the pressure, just pure and simple BEING.

Why were you unable to do this?

Because you were on this quest for perfection, of being everything to everyone. In while doing that you forgot to be yourself.

So here is my call to all women, wives, mothers…

FUCK perfection.

BE YOUR imperfect SELVES.

Stop sweeping and throw the carpet away.

Be you. Be real. And above all: take care of the dust before it settles under the carpet (whatever your carpet looks like).

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