Thursday, June 06, 2013

Do I look perfect?

We women are really good at comparing ourselves to other women.

I often look at one particular lady I know who always seems so put together and wonder why I can’t be more like that. One of the last times I saw this lady—let’s call her Suzy—I was at the library stuffing books into the bottom of my stroller. My rear end was probably stuck up in the air, in a very unladylike manner, while I was shoving the books in, and Sophia was clamoring for my attention, and the baby was fussing. I really didn't know where Clara was at the moment. She was probably over by the computers. Again. Even though I told her we needed to go home. Sigh. I made a mental note that, after soothing the baby, and trying to help Sophia with whatever she needed, I would have to go track down Clara again.

Then I stood up, my hair probably flying in all directions, and there was Suzy, with her two girls. Suzy’s hair looked perfectly combed, with a nice part on the side. Her kids looked particularly clean and neat. And I noticed how they were both standing obediently by Suzy’s side, with slight smiles on their faces. Suzy had her library book bag hung on her shoulder, with all her books stacked neatly in a row therein. It was a far cry from my disheveled stroller. Of course, I had forgotten to bring a bag.

“Hi, Suzy. Good to see you,” I lied. In fact, Suzy, you are are a reminder to me of how imperfect I am.


My only consolation is that I probably have a lot more fun that Suzy. Being perfect is probably boring. At least that is what I’m going to tell myself.

However, there is someone else—let’s call her Jane—who does think I’m perfect. And, she tells me this a lot. In PUBLIC. In front of other women. And it embarrasses me like crazy. I know, very well, that I’m not perfect. I hardly know this lady (which is why she thinks I’m perfect) and if she ever dropped by my house she would probably realize how frazzled I am half the time.

When I am with her, there are usually other women around and she always is singing my praises, about how organized I am, and how good my children are, and blah, blah, blah.

What am I supposed to say to this? I’ve already said, “No, not really,” like a thousand times.

I think the problem is that, at the current time, things are not going very well for Jane and she is feeling like a failure. So it’s easy for her to see other women who appear (yes, just appear) to have their act together and wonder why they can’t be that way.

Hey, that sounds like me with Suzy.

The reality is, none of us are doing everything. And we are definitely not doing everything perfectly. We are all good at some things and not-so-gifted at some things. We need to be easier on ourselves. We need to stop criticizing ourselves so much and feeling like a failure. Where we need to improve, we need to be realistic, and work on it as best as we can. But, at the end of the day we need to give ourselves grace.  God gives us lots of grace, but we have a hard time giving ourselves grace most days.

In the meantime, I will smile and wave at Suzy. Hopefully from a distance. And I will try to encourage Jane.  And I will try to continue to keep it real.


Heather L. said...

What a great post! This is so true!!!! And it's so funny how everyone gets the Suzys and the Janes!

Diary of an Autodidact said...

If it makes you feel any better, several years back, I was walking with a severely tantruming child. I mean, he had completely lost it. I couldn't even carry him, he was so far gone. (I am SO glad he grew out of it.) An older couple actually pulled over to ask if I was kidnapping him. All I could think to say was that if he wasn't mine, I would never have put up with it. I have no idea if they believed me or not. After that, I figure (and hope) that it can never get worse...

Anonymous said...

I think you should keep all your posts and at some point in your life,
it would be neat to see you become a
"paid for" writer. Book signings,
here we come.