Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Perfect moms

So this colleague (not in our team - we really have LOVELY people) was chatting to me about something and we got onto the subject of daycare.

She asks if my kids go to daycare and I said no, Dr S said it's not really necessary until age 3 since they're twins.

She then goes, "oh, I disagree with that" in a really snooty and self-assured way.

What I wanted to say was, "and you're a children's expert?" (she has two kids) but what I said was, "well, he is their doctor and I trust him".

She believes children should go to daycare at age 2 so I said, "well, I don't even know if I can AFFORD to send mine at age 2, as you well know"

Subject closed. I'm underpaid and she is the HR person who has been involved in our salary discussions.

She looked a bit uncomfortable and then left.

I felt a teeny-tiny bit bad but really, I don't need all that smugness around me.

In SA, it's cheaper for a nanny to look after twins at home than to send the two of them to a daycare, at least in Jhb. And some of us do not have pots of money.

But I got thinking how she is SO perfect (this is just one such incident so I'm not solely referring to this one) and how that ILLUSION of perfection is SUCH a turn-off for me.

Not her necessarily but the concept of the perfect mother.

I think it's because I just can't relate to so-called perfect people.

Competimoms fall into this category too :)

I worked with a girl once, a very nice girl, but another one of those perfect people. We were pleasant with one another but never really went beyond superficiality.

Then she fell pregnant and really battled with morning sickness and the pregnancy. And when she started being more open and honest and, dare I say it, real about things, that's when I could relate to her as a proper person and not a doll.

There's a difference between wanting to do your best and wanting to appear perfect.

How do you feel about perfect people? Is it something you aspire to or are you turned off?


  1. Wow! I so could have written this post! People who try to be the perfect parent or just perfect without kids, I can't stand. I've actually told people, "I love that you are not perfect, otherwise I couldn't be your friend!" No wonder we like each other online so much. I bet we'd be great friends if we lived on the same continent, LOL!

    And we're trying to hold off for 2 or 3 as well, but part of that is how long my SIL will put up with us. I'm sure we could afford childcare, although it would be a struggle.

  2. I'm a perfectionist (and control freak)and it's not easy being a SAHM that's a perfectionist let me tell you. Kids and babies, especially, are any control freak's nightmare. In terms of daycare, anything I've ever read says that children should be with a single main carer till the age of 3(mom, granny,nanny or daymom). I recently read it again in James Dobson's book on 'Bringing up Girls'. I can't remember all the reasons but a lot of it was on forming healthy attachments and for their EQ's. Young children just play alongside each other at that age anyway, they do not really interact as such and a lot of nannies will get together with other nannies at the park or somewhere so the kids can all socialise a bit. SAHM's socialise A LOT let me tell you!! One also hears so often about children biting each other and being rough with each other and I'm sure a lot of it is because they're too young to communicate their frustrations,needs,wants,likes and dislikes,etc. and so they resort to more violent ways of getting their feelings across. I also think that any paediatrician will agree to them staying away from large numbers of germ-carrying children till they are a bit older. I know ours said that they shouldn't be at a creche before the age of 3 if at all possible.

  3. Sometimes I play a perfect Mom on TV.

    Wouldn't that be awesome!?! No, I'm the most self-deprecating person in the world, but I found myself talking highly of my Christmas accomplishments the other day to the preschool Moms and spent the day beating myself up. I guess that when I was working, I had other people tell me how awesome I I just have to tell YOU how awesome I am!

    People who are like your co-worker don't necessarily bother me b/c I'm steadfast in my beliefs (oh, and I love to knock them off their pedestal as you did). I also believe that no one is as perfect as they seem. See? Steadfast in my beliefs!

  4. I had a truly formative discussion with my therapist shortly before I changed my mind about having children. Come to think of it, it may have been that conversation that changed my mind.

    Anyway, we talked about the concept of the "perfect" parent and the "good enough" parent. The perfect parent who never demonstrates failure also never demonstrates to their children how to recover from failure. The good enough parent models a more balanced approach to life. You know how much I value balance!

    My husband is totally sold on the value of being a good enough parent. He and his sister are 13 months apart, but are at very very very different points in their lives. He believes that a major reason that his sister makes such poor decisions, and he has made generally good ones, is that his parents made mistakes with him (the elder) and were "perfect" with his sister.

  5. I tend to agree with Rebecca, in that I try to remember that there's no way they have it ALL together ALL the time. Everyone has their shortcomings, even if they don't want to admit it.

    What bothers me most is the preachy-type you mention about that lady saying your kids need to be in daycare. If I want advice, I will ask for it, and I most certainly don't need anyone making me feel bad about my decisions. I tend to get defensive pretty quickly on issues like that. I just try to remember that what works best for our family probably doesn't always look like what works best for someone else's...and that's OKAY. : )

  6. I see people who are "perfect" and I just cant believe it. Everyong is imperfect, it's part of the human condition. Scratch the surface on anyone and you'll soon find that there is something not perfect about them! :P

  7. Perfect people make me sick - I am so far from it!

    And our doc suggested the same - 3 is ideal for twins. Get the immunity up, get them ready to socialise more.

    Hence, ours are going in Jan. Still working out how the hec I am going to make the money stretch.

  8. I appreciate that everyone has different opinions, and I think we learn from each other when we explore others' viewpoints. But ooh, I really have to step back when I feel like someone is judging my parenting decisions...don't go there, folks! :) I don't think I've ever truly gotten into a heated discussion with anyone, but it burns me up inside, and I just don't need that in my psyche.

    I probably hadn't given much thought to "real" people versus "perfect" people until the girls were born. If I worked with a "perfect" person, then she was just that...someone to work with / chat with, but not someone who "let me in" and was a friend.

    Since the girls were born, though, I have thought a lot more about this topic. Motherhood is the most wonderful, amazing experience, but - at least for me - it's dang hard, too! I don't want to air any dirty laundry in an inappropriate setting, but I think it's such a disservice to pretend it's all rainbows and butterflies.

  9. I'm a bit of a control freak, and probably come off as a perfectionist IRL. That being said, I hate these people. I didn't ask for your opinion, and I wasn't giving mine. I also like to think that perfect is unattainable. It's all in how something is approached/viewed/handled/ect. Oh how I could just foam at the mouth on this!!

    Ultimately everything falls to standards I believe. I have to meet my standards and you yours. Of course our standards don't meet up all the time, but in our differences we find our strengths right?! Hows that for a positive holiday spin!!!

    I am totally against daycare, even though our Dr seems to think it would be good when they are 3 too. I think they only thing they would be getting is more socialization, which I am trying to think of ways to provide. The cost, the sickness, and the lack of personal attention really turn me away from daycare centers. One of DH's coworkers' wives was berating their 4 year old daughter for not learning her sight words for daycare fast enough! Is it that important?? I'd like to let me children be children, and living with two teachers I'd like to think that we provide a learning environment without the need of daycare.

  10. I'm not technically a mom yet and people are already all over me about what I should or shouldn't do!! I'm hoping to follow my own instinct and ignore the rest. I'm also under no illusion that there is no such thing as 'perfect' and am trying to ignore the pressure! I can already tell it's going to be easier said than done!

  11. Ditto on what Sadia said about perfect vs. good enough parenting. Just try your best, if you make a mistake admit it to yourself and your child. They will learn from you. Kids need to learn how to deal with problems, failure, and how to say "I'm sorry".

    No one is perfect. In the beginning, my goal was to try to be a perfect parent. It is so dang hard sometimes that I've come to realize achieving perfection really isn't all that important. Happiness for you and your family is what matters most.


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