Remember that creepy movie, Stepford Wives? The plot centers around a town filled with “perfect” wives. True, they are robots, but they are perfect, nonetheless.
I wouldn’t rank the movie with Aesop’s Fables in terms of its ability to teach a lesson, but it was a bit of a cautionary tale. Here are two potential takeaways:
1) If things seem too perfect to be real, they probably are.
2) Any woman who has it all together is probably a robot.
Since I’m not a robot, and neither are you, we both must have our share of imperfections. My list of flaws is long and I won’t bore you with it here. And even though I know the truth that models are airbrushed and celebrities have housekeepers and every mom does things a little differently, sometimes I slip into a pattern of thinking that I should be doing everything better. I should be thinner. I should be more nurturing. I should have a cleaner house. I should plan elaborate learning activities for my children. I should create and effectively manage chore charts. And for heaven’s sakes, I should maintain a level of cleanliness in my minivan that would allow me to see the floorboards.
What I am really feeling is the pressure to be a Stepford Mom. I bet you feel it too. In fact, that’s why I tackled the lie that the ultimate goal of motherhood is perfectionism in my book, Beyond Bath Time:
“Where did the lie that perfection is the key to unlocking meaningful mothering come from? In part, we can blame celebrities who flaunt their post-baby bodies by wearing bikinis on the cover of People magazine or coo over how easily they’ve adjusted to life as a mom while handing their baby to an entourage of aides offscreen. Star moms have PR firms, agents, and hair and makeup staffers who help them generate an unrealistic image of motherhood. We know the image they are selling us is bogus, yet we feel we should strive for it.
“But Hollywood is not the ultimate propagator of this lie. A part of each of us wants to forget who we are at our core—specifically that we are prone to sin and desperately need God’s grace and help in our lives.
“I want to be a perfect mom who achieves perfect balance and raises perfect kids, but I cannot do it, no matter how hard I try. That’s because I am not perfect and never can be. But we can find great hope when we confront this lie with God’s Truth.
“In Philippians 3:12, we read of Paul coming to terms with his imperfections. ‘Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.’
“You cannot mother perfectly. But that should never have been the goal. You can mother with purpose because Christ has promised that where you are weak He is strong.
“How would your world change if you let yourself move away from the notion that you need to mother perfectly and toward the radical idea that motherhood challenges are a gift because they clear a path for God to work in and through you?”
Recently I passed along a question from TIME Magazine: Are you mom enough? The answer is no if perfectionism is the goal. But God is God enough to use your imperfections, to forgive you when you fail, and to use all things for your good and for the good of your children (Rom. 8:28).
So, go ahead, stand up that image of the perfect mother that you’ve been striving for. And then take aim at her with God’s Truth. Perfect isn’t possible but who wants to be a robot anyway? Ready. Aim. Fire!
PS: In what areas of motherhood do you struggle to let go of perfect? Tell us about it below.