I have been seeing a lot of posts and memes swirling around the Internet stating things like, "No mom is perfect," or "No one’s life is as perfect as it is on Facebook," or "Perfection is impossible."
It is making me a little sad. Has "perfect" become a four letter word? Do we truly believe that perfect is unachievable? That our lives will never be perfect? Have we collectively given up?
Except, I don’t agree with any of this. I believe that people need to redefine perfection. All of us. I see perfection everywhere. Perfect isn’t a straight line, like we have been led to believe. Perfection is that squiggly line our toddlers draw across a piece of paper for the first time. It is in their smile, their pride in their creation. It is in our darkest moments, in our frustration, in our weaknesses. It is in the hope for the future, in the kindness of strangers. It is in simplicity and complications. It is the details, the moments in between the milestones.
My life is chaotic and messy. We have ups and downs, dark hours and hours of joy. The noise is deafening, the mess is maddening but, you know what? It is perfect. Even when my daughter is ignoring my words and I am trying my best not to vomit with morning sickness, it is perfect. It is perfectly imperfect and just the way I want my life to be. Every choice, every mistake, every moment has brought me to this place in time. To my family and my life. To me, that is perfection.
I don’t want a house out of a magazine, the ones all white and shiny and untouched. I want my 50-year-old house, with peeling paint and messy kitchen table. I want a sink full of dishes and a hallway that works as a megaphone for laughter. I want the mess because it shows that we are living our lives. We are having fun. We are not so focused on this crooked ideal of the "perfect home" that we loose touch with our dreams. We know that sometimes the perfect day is saying no to chores and yes to outside. Sometimes, it is saying no to outside and yes to chores. Either way, life fills these walls and no interior decorator could replicate that kind of perfection.
I don’t want the children with perfect hair and clothes. I don’t want pressed dresses and a scrubbed clean sheen. I love my dirty, happy, smiling child. I love her grass stained knees and her elaborate stories. The smell of dirt and fresh air in her wild hair is tangible proof of her adventuring spirit. A spirit we nurture in the name of our own version of perfection. Not one we quash to achieve the ideal kid. To us, she is perfect.
Maybe our perfect is different than yours. I actually hope it is. That is the beauty in it all. There is no one-size-fits-all ideal for perfection. YOU make it what YOU want it to be. Maybe you want the magazine home and children. Maybe, to you, that seems impossible. But to me, perfection is achieved the moment your life takes your breath away and is renewed with every breathless moment thereafter. Every tear that is shed is an opportunity to relish the joys in life. How perfect is that?
Please, do not stop talking about how happy your life is. I will not stop sharing photos of the chaotic love we share, of the moments that make me melt into a pile of sobbing gratitude. Please do not look at a smiling mom or dad and think, "There is no way their life is THAT perfect," because, to them, it may just be. I promise to also share in my challenges and my frustrations. I will give them the attention they need so that when the storm passes, I can see the rainbow with that much more relief.
With so much sad in the world, so much anger and hate, I choose to redefine perfection. I choose to see the opportunity for lightness on the other side of the dark. I choose to balance the good with the bad. I choose to live a life filled to the brim with gratitude and if it comes across as unbelievable perfection, I hope you choose to believe it. Believe it because I fought for my perfection. It is built on years of struggle and tears, disappointment and fear.
Believe it because it is mine, I made it. I believe in yours. This is our perfect, it is perfectly imperfect and messy as hell, let’s not change it for anything.
Michelle writes from the home she shares with her husband, their three year old daughter and two dogs. She is the authority on nothing and may just be the most outgoing shy person you will ever meet. Her daughter is convinced she is a super hero but most days she feels more like the super villain. Read more of her work on her blog at www.JuiceboxConfession.com All love letters can be sent to JuiceboxConfession@gmail.com.