I walked into the room with my chin tilted down trying to steal an inconspicuous glance at my stomach. Sucked in? Check. The room was abuzz with chatter, broken momentarily by smiles and greetings directed at me. I gave my cautious, tight lipped half smile in return and quickly found a seat in the emptiest corner of the room. I watched women daintily adding food to their plates. A sprinkling of pita chips here, a dollop of hummus there, a thin slice of pumpkin cake layered with cream cheese icing and pomegranate seeds, a glass of root beer. All delicious and such a pity that more eager consumption was not occurring. I stood and made my way over to the buffet for a hefty piece of that pumpkin cake and a large serving of hummus with some pita chips on the side. Lauren joined me at the table for some chit chat but I heard next to nothing she said. I was too busy analyzing her. She looked amazing as usual. Not a blonde hair out of place on her head, flawless makeup, tan skin, 5 foot 10 inch frame, a stomach so flat you’d never know she had a 2 year old. If only I looked like Lauren. She had it so together, to take care of herself like that and look so presentable every day. She was definitely not someone I could relate to. I went back to my corner and sat down to eat and observe.

Across the room sat Anya, her voluminous strawberry blonde curls hanging over her shoulders. She had a smile to match Giada De Laurentiis’, bright white teeth and all and a personality so full of optimism it was contagious. I liked her a lot but I still hadn’t let myself get close. Her barely 5 year old son could recite at least 10 different scriptures from memory and could read and write already. Not only that but he was the best behaved, most polite, most intelligent child I’d ever met. I knew she was the perfect mother, the kind who loved every single moment of both pregnancy and mothering and put all her interests on the back burner when kids came along. I couldn’t relate to that.

There was Tierny, our host with the patience of an angel as she sent her girls back to their bedrooms for the third time that evening. I was certain she never yelled at her kids. There was Lydia, who managed to balance daytime mothering with evening college courses and still stay happy and bubbly at every event. By the end of that evening, I was certain I was the worst mother in the group. I didn’t have white teeth, I yelled at my children, I was a bit of a pessimist, I’d never finished college, my smile was crooked, I didn’t do my hair enough, I couldn’t tan and I liked to go overboard on dessert! Why was everyone else so amazing? Where had I gone wrong?

Several weeks later I had a visit from a relatively new friend. I had liked her the moment I saw her. She was tall with hair the color of ebony and an accepting manner about her. We were having a nice conversation and I was talking about my latest adventures. Did you know I took up jewelry making? Oh and I also decorated another cake. The kids and I did this. I crocheted this. I’m teaching myself this. Then suddenly she stopped me and asked me a question:

“How do you do it all?”

I was stunned at first and she went on to use phrases like “amazing person” and “could never do that”. I think I said something along the lines of, of course you can learn these things and I’m just motivated. But the conversation left me feeling flustered and frustrated and thinking of what I wish I had said.

Amazing?!? HAH! Half my motivation for being constantly busy is to try and escape the hell that is my mind. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is something I try to live with as often as I try to run away from it. How do I do it all? I have never “done it all”, never will I be able to “do it all”. Sometimes I’m not the best mother I should be because I’m focusing to much on my hobbies. I’m as selfish as I am giving.
And what do you mean you could never do that? You could learn anything you wanted to, you could become anyone you wanted to, it just takes desire and drive to accomplish. I’m not wonder woman, I just have different priorities is all.

That’s when the light bulb went off in my head. Somebody saw me the way I saw so many other mothers. How could this be? I didn’t want to be the unapproachable perfect mother and wife I’d made so many others into. I knew I had faults and plenty of them, but those around me only saw my best behaved self, if you discount licking the pita chip salt off my fingers anyway. Then I realized that maybe those other moms who I felt I couldn’t relate to, might have faults to. That maybe, if I tried to be my real self around them they would feel comfortable doing the same and the burden of putting on even a small fasade could be set aside for some serious soda chugging, finger licking, belching good times. (Ok, well maybe I’m the only woman who belches but you don’t have to hold that against me right)?

I’m not perfect. I’m not a wonder woman. No mother is, but most of us are trying to better our families and ourselves, and that is doing something wonderful.

This post was submited to Scribbit’s July Write-Away Contest

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30 Responses to “Misconception”

  1. JaniceNWNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 1:30 am

    We all just do the best we can. :)

    Pstttttttttt~new blog is Chasing Myself T&S is officially dead.

  2. KimberlyNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 3:06 am

    Oh the brilliance that is you. Not in every catergory, perhaps, but definitely in having caught hold of this idea and putting it into words so wonderfully.

    Those women who seem to be doing it all, you’re right about them. I’ve met and gotten to know a few, and they fall about the same way I do. They cry often and feel inadeqaute the same way I do.

    They just have nicer hair, is all. =P

    Fabulous post, Summer.

    Kimberlys last blog post..Have You Ever…

  3. MelissaNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 3:12 am

    I’ve been contemplating this a lot lately… I have to teach in R.S. on Sunday and my brain has been spinning… do you think that we do this because we are trying to be “perfect’? If we hide all our flaws and always give the APPEARANCE of perfection, then we must be righteous women, right? At the first of the year I got up and bore my testimony and mentioned some really serious struggles I was having with a particular part of my testimony. I felt so stupid as I went to sat down. I had just announced a MAJOR shortcoming to the ENTIRE WARD. But you should have heard the people after… they had similar experiences. They could relate. And they seemed so relieved that someone else had said something first. Not that I’m gonna go up and speak about all my struggles, but it sure did make a difference this time!

    Melissas last blog post..

  4. tiffNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 5:34 am

    You ARE amazing

    tiffs last blog post..…and the mother said to the pharmacist…

  5. Dad of DivasNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 7:47 am

    What a revealing and well written post…kudos for all that you do and balance. I think every mom tries to be a supermom in her own way and I salute you and other moms for this.

    Dad of Divass last blog post..Manly Monday #9 - Fathers as Dream Makers

  6. KarleneNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 9:58 am

    That was really great. I’ve recently had a couple of people comment on how I do so much, blah, blah, blah. They think I’m joking when I say I lay around in bed all day and eat nouggies. (If they only knew!) I think we all have a hard time seeing ourselves as others do.

    Karlenes last blog post..Summer Reading Thing Prize

  7. CristyNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 10:10 am

    I think when we look at people we automatically look for the first thing that makes us insecure instead of trying to look at what might possibly make THEM feel insecure, and try to have Charity. You are so right when you say that they are probably equally flawed, cause we all are! Different places on the path…

  8. JudiNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 11:15 am

    Thank you. I really needed this today.

    Judis last blog post..How Funky is your Cowboy? (dance off)

  9. JoannaNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 11:27 am

    Well put! Although I will say, when we see those “perfect moms with their perfect kids”, we seem to forget about what they are hiding at home. They put on the persona of “perfect” out in public but when they are home something else is lurking there that they would never share with anyone. I always think this when I see the “perfects” out and about while Kelsie is screaming to get out of the shopping cart and Kayla is skipping along touching anything she can get her fingers on knocking things off the shelves in the process. I always remember something isn’t quiet right, because nobody is perfect! :wink:

  10. Mozi Esme's MommyNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 12:45 pm

    Great post! I can definitely relate! It’s sad when our own hookups prevent us from appreciating what the other person has to offer - we’re too busy comparing. Thanks for the reminder not to do that!

    Mozi Esme’s Mommys last blog post..Farewell

  11. JudiNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 1:40 pm

    Hi Summer, Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    I am the Judi that emailed yesterday. Nice to meet you also.

    Judis last blog post..How Funky is your Cowboy? (dance off)

  12. LeslieNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 5:58 pm

    I just love this post! I’m so glad to be back in the land of the internet and getting caught up! This post is like the icing on the cake!

    Leslies last blog post..Have You Missed Me?

  13. Jumbo ShrimpNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 6:14 pm

    What a great post!

    Jumbo Shrimps last blog post..The Price is Right!

  14. DapoppinsNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 7:20 pm

    They always have better hair! But under the hair, we are the same.

    Great, great post!

    Dapoppinss last blog post..Back to School

  15. JennyNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 7:35 pm

    Well written and so true. It’s inaccurate and pointless to compare ourselves to others, but it comes so naturally. By the way, I’ve got to confess that I wish I could burp like you do- your burps always made me laugh. :)

  16. Kristinia-Loving Heart MommyNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 8:17 pm

    I love your writing! But let me let you in on a lil’ secret.. we are all “Superwomen” in our own way! :wub:

  17. kennaNo Gravatar on July 8th, 2008 10:54 pm

    Whoa. I relate to you on this subject SEVERELY. I mean, I could have written this post myself (less eloquently, though). The multiple encroaching hobbies. The need to do it all, learn it all NOW. The self-consciousness and comparing myself to other women every moment. The need for everything to be just “so”. The belching :) And many people have told me, after getting to know me well, that their first impression of me was that everything I touch turns to gold. Which obviously couldn’t be farther from the truth. Everything I touch gets chocolate fingerprint smudges on it! I feel it’s impossible to keep up. But I, too, have had this exact thought many times: those other women who I think are perfect and untouchable? They are having one heck of a time themselves. Women are big, fat fakers. Even the honest and genuine ones. I don’t think it’s because we want to appear better than those around us (at least, not most of us) I think it’s that we want to appear “okay” - so that no one feels as if they have to take care of us. Rescue us.

    Anyway, I should have probably just posted this huge comment as a post on my own blog so I don’t break your comment entry box, and so that my blog doesn’t continue to die a slow and painful death, but hey. Whatever.

    kennas last blog post..You Are My Sunshine

  18. themotherboardNo Gravatar on July 9th, 2008 1:33 am

    Looks like we were on the same page with this one. How funny!

    themotherboards last blog post..Wonder Woman. Have you seen her?

  19. Michelle at ScribbitNo Gravatar on July 9th, 2008 2:57 am

    I like how you said this–you put it so well and your descriptions were wonderful. It is so much in the perspective isn’t it? One person’s superhero is another who thinks they’re no body. Well I can also add that you’re a good writer.

    Michelle at Scribbits last blog post..Making Necklaces and Earrings with Bead Simple

  20. Gramma DuckyNo Gravatar on July 9th, 2008 10:28 am

    TOTALLY agree with you Kenna. I don’t think we women are trying to put on a show. Just trying to do the best we can without being a burden on others. Just trying to handle the challenges of life with a little dignity and grace.

    Wonderful post Summer. Really captured the essense of this subject.

  21. Memarie LaneNo Gravatar on July 9th, 2008 12:01 pm

    The friend I got my YouYou idea from told me the animal I reminded her of was a beaver because I’m so industrious. I was flattered but dumbfounded. This from a SINGLE mother who homeschools her two kids, goes to school full time, works two jobs, AND has an active dating life. And she of all people was calling ME industrious? Unbelievable.

    Memarie Lanes last blog post..Kid-Friendly, Mother Approved Popsicles

  22. cherylNo Gravatar on July 9th, 2008 6:58 pm

    Summer, this was beautiful and right on. Loved it!

    cheryls last blog post..Followers of Jesus Christ, Women of God, or Get Ready for a Long Post, eh?

  23. Stacey@Look, Mom, Look!No Gravatar on July 10th, 2008 8:24 am

    I am slow glad that I am catching up on the bloggy world and read this post. I often feel alone in my struggle to do it all. To balance all my interests and hobbies with motherhood is a constant struggle. I often see women doing more and being more than I and feel like something must be wrong. Why can’t I do what they do? Perhaps they are thinking the same about others.

    Stacey@Look, Mom, Look!s last blog post..Cow Farts: A Hot Environmental Issue

  24. bethnNo Gravatar on July 11th, 2008 10:17 pm

    Wow Summer, that was absolutely amazing. It so perfectly described the way I feel so often. Thank you for sharing!

    bethns last blog post..WW #8 Boating fun

  25. Deb - Mom of 3 GirlsNo Gravatar on July 12th, 2008 1:25 am

    I think you put into words so beautifully what many of us (if not all of us) feel so often… :)

  26. An Ordinary MomNo Gravatar on July 12th, 2008 2:55 pm

    I LOVE this post … you captured what a lot of us feel so accurately!

    An Ordinary Moms last blog post..Introducing The New Little Man

  27. GilitNo Gravatar on July 18th, 2008 11:49 am

    Congratulations on your honorable mention.

    I knew someone whom I was sure was perfect….until one day I heard she committed suicide. This isn’t a joke…your post goes to prove that appearances can be deceiving and sometimes we take our own selves for granted. We may not be wonder women but are sometimes surprised to discover our strengths amidst the chaos of day-to-day life.

    Gilits last blog post..The Wonder Woman Alarm Clock

  28. Alice GoldNo Gravatar on July 18th, 2008 3:05 pm

    I really do think there are some women out there that are more wonderous than others, but I much prefer the honest ones….great post! ANd congrats on your honorable mentio

  29. NellbeNo Gravatar on July 19th, 2008 10:41 pm

    what a wonderful post, if only us mums can give each other a break then we wouldn’t have stress so much about keeping it together. Congrats on the honorable mention.

    Nellbes last blog post..More Rachael Ray Winners

  30. LaurieNo Gravatar on July 20th, 2008 1:07 am

    I loved this!! I feel this way constantly when I am around other women. I always think, “if I could just get outside of my head, I might actually find that we are all struggling and doing it together is so much more pleasant than doing it all alone.” In the end, I’m the one who really misses out. Thanks for sharing this. And you are amazing! I admire so much about you so thank you for sharing yourself here in blogworld.

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