Today the sound of the cicadas has been replaced with the shhhhhhh of roofing tiles as they slide to earth and the periodic staccato of a nail gun. It's an early start --because it is already 38 with the humidex. They are working quickly and it's a small roof. Still, I wouldn't want to be them. Whistling carries across the heavy air.
I am reflecting on a friend who is having a hoard of family descend on her house for a summer visit. We are a lot alike--except that I have a spouse who takes care of most of the cooking when family comes. She is frantically cleaning things she readily acknowledges no one will notice--and meal planning instead of allowing for a fun family "all hands on" in the kitchen whenever anyone gets hungry. And trying to control the uncontrollable.
She is my sister perfectionista.....and a gottathinkofeverythingsoitallgoessmoothly kinda gal.
We flowchart out our daily life to ensure all exits are covered in case of unexpected circumstances so
that we can try to relax and enjoy. And while we may actually be able to coordinate our own lives --- it is impossible to know what the Spouse and the kidlets will decide to do or not do.
Staying up the night before to make quiche to ensure a healthy, yet quick breakfast just means everyone thinks they can sleep late, wait to get gas, and spend an extra ten minutes playing online solitaire while you run around getting yourself ready because only you could feed the dogs, let them out, water the plants, wipe down the table and find the sunscreen while everyone sighs in your general direction (so much for planning).
So why do we continue to put on the "invisible windows, lint free everything--I just happen to have gourmet in my fridge -- and an effortless smile on my face" routine? Why don't we ever talk about how hard it is to pull it all together with two small kids at home and a very busy husband with a long commute.
Discussion with family:"I would love it if we ordered pizza one night and everyone helped out with burger and dogs the next night." No apologies. No whining. Just put it out there?
Discussion with the Spouse: "Do you want to fill up the tank with gas tonight before we leave or leave a little early?" We are not robots! There is room to negotiate! WE JUST LIKE TO KNOW THE PLAN!
We have talked about something similar before to which the answers remain:
Nope. I just couldn't say that.
First off, the family expects you to have it sorted and organized. (do they? really? with two small kids and a busy husband and a sweltering heat wave? or do you expect it of yourself and if you don't then .........see last post re screaming voice in head). I am ok with this one--but that is because the Spouse cooks. I do try to find matchy napkins and things---or used to--now I just rely on his awesome cooking to distract everyone from the dog poop still on the lawn. Ok not quite...
Second---HE SHOULD KNOW WE NEED GAS! WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO ORGANIZE THESE THINGS! YOU THINK HE COULD SPEND 2 SECONDS THINKING ABOUT IT FOR ONCE! (and so on...) I am working on this one.....not very hard...but...I am aware I should be working on it--how's that?
So I say to my sister perfectionista what she would say to me.....
You are an awesmazing mom! You are an awesmazing friend! And I love you and we can figure this out how to be imperfectionistas by examining our expectations (realistic or no? Can expectations change depending on circumstances?) truth-telling (yes you have smudgy windows---so do I--means we would rather spend time with our kids than washing windows) and forgiving (ourselves and others) and letting a bit go each time if we can.
We need to practice on each other by leaving our houses a mess and having nothing in the house but peanut butter and a spoon (which you know would be EXCELLENT at your house away from my peanut banned house!)
From your perfectly imperfect imperfectionista in training! xoxo