Posted 10/21/2009 9:49 AM EDT on pnj.com Prod"This is ourselves
Under pressure" - Queen
When I was a younger parent, I often compared myself and my ability to that of other parents. It seemed as though other mothers could do what I did, and then some, and do it all ten times better.
When I felt happy that I'd been able to find matching socks for one of the four, another mother would show up with six kids in matching, IRONED outfits. While one friend's child was involved in four sports, two kinds of music lessons and on the honor roll, we had a hard time just getting through homework. I'd be over in the corner threatening to beat my child with my flip-flop while some kid sat quietly knitting doilies under his mother's doting gaze.
Yes, I used to feel inferior to these "Perfect Parents." But now that I've grown older and wiser, I think I just feel sorry for them.
You see, when you're "Perfect" to begin with, then there is no room for error. A mom like me can show up at a kid's band concert in mis-matched shoes or realize that she's forgotten her checkbook in the car after scanning two hundred dollars-worth of groceries with a screaming baby on her hip and no one gives it a second thought. For a guy like me, there is no pressure of expectation. Things can only get better.
Occasionally, I'll run into one of my "perfect" friends and catch up. "How are the kids?" I'll ask, then nod politely when I hear that they're attending an Ivy-league school in the Fall on a full scholarship for being the "best-pressed." And while you can't help but be impressed you know that the first wrinkle they encounter could be their undoing, which is really depressing.
And my kids?
Well, they're all happy and healthy, a little wrinkled, but under no pressure. And the imprints from the flip-flop have faded nicely.