After spending a several months in one of the more high-end neighborhoods Seattle, I started to notice something about the moms there… An overwhelming level of perfection.
Last week I posted Part 1 of this series. You can find it here.
My friend Jen is the mom that every kid would kill to have. She whips up the most elaborately detailed Halloween costumes on her sewing machine without batting an eye. I’m pretty sure that she is missing her calling as a professional costume designer! In case that isn’t enough to convince you, Jen is never short on awesome ideas for class auction projects, bakes like a pro, and is the first to volunteer for classroom help or field trips. Jen puts her kids’ needs first, which for normal people like Jen and I requires some level of sacrifice, like settling for Levis instead of Chanel and a Prius instead of a Mercedes G-Wagon. You know, HUGE life sacrifices. 😉
Jen and her husband were renting in this neighborhood for a few years before they bought a house elsewhere. Jen laughs about volunteering in her daughters’ classrooms with some of the other moms “on the hill.” A number of times, other moms suggested that Jen run the finger-painting station because “she is just so good at it.” While I don’t doubt Jen’s superior finger-paint table management skills, Jen is pretty sure that the other moms’ brand new Marc Jacobs blouses making contact with some paint covered kindergartener’s fingers was their primary motivator. Why someone would volunteer in a kindergarten classroom wearing designer garb is beyond me, but Jen laughed on the inside and smiled as she dutifully took her seat at the finger-paint station.
I can’t imagine volunteering and essentially saying “I’m here to help, but oh, no I won’t do that. Someone else can do that!” Don’t get me wrong, there are certain activities that I wouldn’t exactly jump with joy over and there are certainly some I would prefer over others… However, participating in your kids’ lives requires the occasional stint at the proverbial finger-painting table.
My friend Jen’s story is just one example, but I could list dozens more. Yes, I admittedly am pining after their Pinterest worthy lives – perfect houses, fashionable attire, sweet rides, etc. But, time and time again, I am seeing that this level of perfection come at the cost of participation. Missing out on your children’s childhood in favor of spending time on “just one more deal” at the office, keeping imaginary cellulite at bay with lengthy personal training sessions, or whatever else you have to do to look perfect all the time (facials, massages, manicures?? I don’t even know!!). All these important things that keep you away from your kids are why you bothered to carefully screen your au pair, right?
I am going to ask a naïve and uninformed question, but I want to know. Why bother having kids if you don’t want to spend any time with them? Was it just the next logical life step but they underestimated how much time and energy a family sucks out of you?
I fully recognize how judge-y and jealous this post sounds…. But please, please, hang in there for part 3, I am going somewhere with all of this. Promise!!