This week has been a whirlwind. And so was last week. And so will next week be. I’m used to a busy schedule. I keep things organized within my calendar (thanks to a great example from my Mom) and do a fairly good job of getting to everything on time and completing my daily to-do lists. But last week and this week have been wearying. I was so sleepy last week, which is to be expected at least one week of the month so it didn’t bother me too much. But to experience a second week of feeling weary is throwing me off. There is the feeling of not only sleepiness this week, but of weariness. When it happens two weeks in a row I can see it in my eyes. When someone else says, “you don’t look good” its one thing, but when you can see the weariness yourself you know something is up. I can recall a handful of times in the past 4 years when I’ve experienced this kind of weariness. Bags form around my eyes, my schedule is filled to the brim, my eyes are not as bright, and while I continue to make accomplishments and rise out of bed at the appropriate time each morning, there is no satisfaction in it except that I am anticipating the end of some busy week or some big event that is keeping me so busy.
But this post isn’t about weariness necessarily. It is meant to be about where my mind goes, or has gone during this bout with weariness. The past two nights, though we retired early as usual, my husband and I laid awake for a bit talking and feeling too awake to sleep. I expressed my feeling of weariness and he pulled me close and informed me that I need rest. Not just sleep, but rest. That is what I have him for, to remind me about rest and to remind me that a Sabbath is necessary and to make me take it.
The second night (last night) as I, once again, expressed my feeling of weariness and he reminded me that need for rest, I delved a little farther and shared with him my feeling of failure this week and last.
In high school, I heard a speaker at a youth group retreat speak highly of his wife. They had 4 adopted children and he was sharing how wonderful his wife was as a wife and mother. Apparently, she rose early every morning, before he got up, went for a run and had breakfast on the table and ready to go before children or husband stirred from bed. I do not specifically remember him saying anything beyond that, but I’m quite sure she was stupendous in house-keeping and cooking and completing to-do lists as well.
This image stuck with me. While this small story about his everyday life really had nothing to do with his message, it stuck to me. “I want to be her” was my thought. I shared with my husband what, in my mind’s eye, I want to be as a wife. The house-keeping will always be kept up with and the to-do list will be completed by the end of each day, a workout will be completed and healthy food will be served. Not to mention a successful business, a balanced calendar, a consistent relationship with God, and plenty of time for friends and building relationships. Without outwardly laughing at me (because it was not funny at the time, obviously) my sweet and sympathetic husband, while holding me close, said to me, “so, you want to be perfect?”
“Well of course I do want to be perfect! I just want to…..”
get it all done, accomplish things, be amazing, be….perfect.
In order to not say “I want to be perfect” because obviously that’s impossible and I would never say that, I opted for a better phrase,
“I want to be Superwoman.”
“I want to be Superwoman”
While you are probably laughing at this it was not funny. It was said in sincerity and somehow my husband caught that and, again, did not outwardly laugh at me.
We discussed this a bit more and I realized the absurdity in what I was saying without admitting that he was right. And I began to consider my Mom.
I consider my Mom to be perfect. But she does not always have the laundry done; there are often heaps of it. She does not always have a cleared kitchen sink, there are often dishes. She does not always have the floor free of dog hair; there is often dog hair and dirt. She does not have a quiet time every day. She does not always make her bed. She does not always rise with the sun (in fact, in my life, it has only been in times of dire necessity in my life that I have seen her do such). She does not always complete her to-do list. But she is perfect.
In high school, I had a moment of a ridiculous breakdown of feeling that I would, one day, be a terrible mother. How I came to this conclusion? I didn’t drink coke. I didn’t crochet or sew. And I wasn’t very creative. These are things my Mom did and I viewed them as things a successful Mother did. These were things about my Mom that classified her as ‘Mommy’. Of course, I’ve come to realize that these are things that are a part of her personality and who she is as a person, not just a mother and that there will be different things my children find in me that classify me as ‘Mommy’.
So how is my Mom perfect if she does not do all the things I just expressed to my husband that I felt were necessary to be perfect?
I don’t know.
I guess it has to do with the fact that my siblings are my best friends, I graduated from high school, I played sports and did activities that I loved, I had friends, I have a backbone and integrity and discipline and motivation. It has something to do with the fact that my Dad IS Superman, that, even though we may have consistently slept in late we also stayed up late…as a family, talking and laughing and dreaming. It has something to do with the fact that even though the house was messy and there were clothes to be folded on the couch and dishes to be done in the sink, my friends were always welcome in our home. And it has something to do with the fact that when I need help, advice, or a hug they were not withheld.
Somewhere in there, there is perfection.
And I don’t know how to achieve it, but I’m realizing now that achieving perfection is possible, but you might have to redefine the word: perfection.
I WILL be Superwoman one day. I don’t know to whom or by what definition I will achieve that, but one day I’ll have a definition of perfection, of Superwoman, for myself that will be attainable. For now, I will go try and re-define.