Do you know a perfect person? I do. She's pretty, keeps a trim figure. Her house is spare and chic and, despite the fact that she has 2 small boys, uncluttered. She has perfect manners, but not fussily so. Her boys are well behaved, pleasant and just mischievous enough to be normal. They stick to a schedule. A schedule-can you believe it? I just know she has never, once, used the TV as a babysitter. I hate her.
No I don't. Because above all else, she is friendly and cheerful and modest. She doesn't do one thing to make me feel inadequate, yet I often leave her company feeling so. You know, I remember birthdays. Sometimes. I remember my own, anyway. And my children's, of course, and that's the main thing. For all other dates: anniversaries, doctor's appointments, bill payments, (We have Christmas AGAIN this year?) I am at best vague with the details. And I would LOVE to stick to a schedule. Time and time again I have with best intentions declared that I am going to follow something: an exercise regime, a diary of my diet, getting up early and writing. I really mean it, too. It's just that something always happens: the kid is up all night sick, they're having 2 for 1 cupcakes at the bakery. It's always something, as Roseanne Roseannadanna said.
Robert Fulghum says, "I live in awe of people who get...jobs done." And goes to talk about how the rest of us should be given one task to redeem ourselves. His example is stick polishing.
"Here’s the way it works. You get selected for this deal because you are such a good person at heart, and it is time you were let off the hook. First, a week of your life is given to you free of all obligations. Your calendar is wiped clean. No committee meetings, no overdue anything---bills, correspondence, or unanswered telephone calls. You are taken to a nice place, where it is all quiet and serene and Zen. You are cared for. Fed well. And often affirmed. Your task is simply this: to spend a week polishing a stick. They give you some sandpaper and lemon oil and rags. And, of course, the stick---a nice but ordinary piece of wood. All you have to do is polish it. As well as you can. Whenever you feel like it. That’s it: polish the stick."
If only that were all it took to prove we aren't too shabby, even if we can't remember to return our library books with any frequency. Sigh.
I would like to insert here that I think I would get way more slack cut my way if I was guy.
Now, back to reality. A smart person told me long ago that you shouldn't compare your insides to somebody else's outsides. Meaning, you can't compare the voice in your head telling you you're a loser with the facade someone else presents to the world. Because I have my own facade. Not that I'm deceiving anyone, I just don't wear my every insecurity on my sleeve. Just as I don't know what goes on inside of Perfect Mom's head. For all I know she worries about things that I think are silly, like crows feet or being bad at math. Also, when I'm done bashing myself for my faults, real and imagined, I remind myself that she is a stay at home mom. So perhaps I oughta give myself 30 points for being able to bring home the bacon AND fry it up in the pan. Certainly she has never had to get not one, but TWO 18 gauge IV's in a guy who has almost no blood pressure and is minutes away from dying without breaking a sweat. I'm just sayin'. It's no stick-polisher, but it's what I got.
So three cheers to all you disorganized people out there. Celebrate whatever it is that you do well, even if it's warming up the couch. Meanwhile, I'm going to try and get my Christmas cards out before July.