The Illusion of (Wanting to be) Perfect

Me at Mt. Lemmon, Jan 2, 2016.

Some time ago, a friend of mine posted this status where she said sorry for not being able to be a perfect mother. I asked her what she meant by “perfect”. Is there any example of a perfect mother? She said it’s someone who could do everything such as cooking any types of dish (for her kids and family) and treating their kids the right way. I asked her again what she meant by “the right way” and who might be the example of this perfect mother she’s talking about. She referred to “everyone” around her that could do “that”.

I was like…jeez, I know her in person. Well, okay, I might not know everything about her, but I know that she loves her kids and family. She would try her best to make time for them. She works hard not only for herself but also to support her kids. I understand that she wants to do better, be there all the time for their kids, but sometimes she just has to leave her kids because she has work, and thus she feels guilty; she feels bad.

Well, while this discussion stems from “being a perfect mother,” I think in some other aspects we also experience this kind of thing: We feel bad, we think we’re not enough, we strive and wish to be better “LIKE OTHERS” (those we perceive and believe to be better and the best example). But guess what? Nope, we don’t know for sure that they are better than us. We have this tendency to think that others are better than us. Some others think that others are worse. But that’s not always the case. Well, I’m not a mother yet; I’m not even a wife yet, but I think we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. We see everyone is doing good, but it doesn’t mean they’re doing better or we’re doing worse. Everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has their own limitations. We all struggle to grapple with and live through that.

Well, it’s true that it’s always a must that we give our best, that we try our hardest, but what we often forget is: thanking and appreciating ourselves for everything we’ve done, for everything we’ve tried, for every pain we’ve endured, for every effort we’ve made, for every fall we’ve taken, for every rise we’ve aimed, etc. We often forget that-we, too, deserve to be happy, that we, too, need to make ourselves happy.

In the case of my friend, I guess, as long as she can make her kids feel loved whenever she’s with them, that’s enough. I mean, if I have to reflect on my own experience, my mother also worked. It’s not a work in the office, but it’s still work. Sometimes she had to wake up and go even before the sun rose. Sometimes she even took me to the traditional market before dawn and let me sleep while she was selling the produce. She might have been worried; i.e. had she left me at home, I might have been scared when I woke up and didn’t find her. But did I wish my Mom had more time for me or took care of me better? Nope. She did all she could within her capacity. She worked hard and couldn’t give me 24 hours of her time not because she hated me but because she loved me and wanted me to have a better life. Whenever she had time, she told me stories; she didn’t ignore me. But, well, yeah, I wish life could have been easier for her so she could be happier. And yeah, now we’re living at a time where women judge other women for whatever they do. If you’re a housewife, you’ll be criticized for not working, for not using your educational degree for a decent job, for “not contributing to the family’s finance,” etc. Then when you choose to be a working Mom, you’ll still be judged for not having enough time for your kids and fam. It must be hard. The society is really sick!

Me at Mt. Lemmon, Jan 2, 2016.

But seriously, let’s not be too hard on ourselves. We can never be perfect. Let’s accept that. We all are learning and will always be. Be it learning to be a mother, to be a wife, to be a friend, etc. We can never be sure if we’re perfect because, well, there is no such thing as perfection or imperfection. It’s just an illusion. It’s just a notion that we create ourselves, either to entertain ourselves and make us happy or to make us resent and suffer ourselves.

Well, I know I’m good at making excuses. This might sound like an excuse too. Well, I’ve been struggling with my study. I’ve felt responsible for the scholarship I received. (I might have said this, sorry). But, well, I know it’s not like I completely abandon it and be irresponsible. I do think about it. I am making a progress no matter how small it is. So every time I feel down, I remind myself that it is okay, I’m doing what I can, I’m not neglecting it.

In a case of mothership, another friend of mine said, “There’s no such thing as a perfect mother. We don’t have to be perfect either. What’s important is that we’re happy doing “our role as a mother”. If the mother is happy, she’ll be able to spread positive energy to the kids.” And I believe this is true. Haven’t we all heard some cases where the kids were abused because the mother herself was abused and not happy? Hence, if you want to be a good mother, be a happy mother.

In a case of studying, here is also something that a friend of mine shared with me. She’s married, has kids, and is pursuing her study. And like any other study, I believe she feels the ups and downs of a graduate life. Then her advisor told her this: “You have a life; you have a baby, and it’s just a PhD. Life’s more important.” It really struck me that I didn’t think of it that way before. Well, we often forget that something is just a part of life, not the life itself. We often torture ourselves with something so much that we forget that we, too, need to enjoy other parts of our life.

Well, I’m lucky that I’m surrounded with this kind of people, friends, family, etc. I know not everybody is as lucky as me. And if you know me, I’m not sure if you’ll feel lucky to know me. But if you read this, please know and believe that you, too, deserve to be happy. Please be happy 😊

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