A woman approached me after Mass one recent weekend. “You are such a perfectmother,” she said as she shifted her own toddler from one hip to the other. “I was watching you with your baby and you are just so patient. How do you do that?”
Well now. That’s silly, isn’t it? Or maybe it’s sad, because I am pretty sure that while in her own mind this mother was raising me to lofty heights, she was also busy putting herself down. Way, way down.
Come on! I was in church! Of course I wasn’t going to discipline a2 year old with shouting or sarcasm in the middle of the Mass. But that doesn’t mean I never have.
It’s the myth of other mothers’ perfection. And I think blogs do a fair share of perpetuating it. I love reading about other Catholic families, but let’s be real: Most of us aren’t going to be airing our dirty laundry here. And of course that’s how it should be. At least to some extent.
But there’s something to be said for “keeping it real.” Never have I received so many relieved and grateful responses as I did last spring when I confessed that I don’t iron.And never have I felt weirder than when a perfect stranger emailed totell me that when she has a difficult moment with her kids she asks herself, “What would Danielle do?”
Ugh. That’s a lot of pressure. And, ummmmm … just between you andme and all of cyberspace … sometimes what Danielle would do is exactly the wrong thing. Better to ask “What would Mary do?” Or “What would Saint Anne do?” Leave poor Danielle out of it.
So let’s keep it real. Today I’m asking my fellow perfect mothers to come clean. Go on. Scandalize us. Have you ever fed your children candy for breakfast? Used the television as a babysitter? Is the inside of your refrigerator really immaculate? Spill it.