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My Catholic Marriage
Pop Goes Perfection
My Wednesday to-do list (which can be found on a 8×12 framed dry erase board that Daniel recently bought for me to make my lists on, since he was getting tired of finding dozens of little scraps of paper with different kinds of lists scattered all around the house—a fair compromise I think):
- Make bed
- Put away clean dishes
- Wash last night’s dinner dishes
- Fold clean white laundry
- Wash darks
- Take out recycling
- Finish addressing birth announcement envelopes
- Bathe Charlie
- Write blog entry
I used to have much more extensive lists towards the end of my pregnancy when I was home all day but without a baby to take care of. Of course I never finished everything on my daily lists then, and the same goes for now, even though my lists are much shorter. Sometimes I even add things like “Eat lunch” or “Get dressed” so that I can feel accomplished when I cross them off as complete. To be honest with you, though, a lot of times that second one doesn’t happen these days. It’s just Charlie and me here all day and we don’t usually have anywhere to go and most days it’s been too hot for me to even want to take a walk outside. And pajamas are just so darn comfortable and easy to nurse in…
Do you want to know how many of the things on my list I have gotten finished so far, as it nears the end of the day? Five, including writing this entry. I never got around to addressing those envelopes, taking out the recycling, or doing any laundry at all. But the sink is empty, my baby is clean, and soon enough my weekly blog entry will be sent off to be posted.
If only I could let that sigh of relief last a little longer. But there are a million things that need to be done that didn’t even make it onto my list.
Did Jesus really mean it when he said, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). I’m only the perfect mother, the perfect homemaker, and the perfect wife in my dreams.
Do I give Charlie enough tummy time to ensure his proper development? Am I letting him sit in the baby swing for too long, even if it is the only way he’ll nap for longer than a half an hour? Should I not be reading a book while I’m eating lunch since there is a dryer full of laundry to be folded? Should I wake up before Charlie does to take a shower and get dressed while Daniel is still home, regardless of how tired I am? And I know I should be praying in the wee hours of the morning when I wake up to feed Charlie and change his diaper rather than ever allowing myself to feel bitter towards the man still sleeping peacefully next to me who needs to wake up early and go to work all day.
Obviously, not all of these things fit into what Jesus meant when he used the word “perfect” (the last one is the only one that does I think). I will never be perfect, in that my house will never be spotless and I will never manage to feel perfectly well rested while having the time to exercise regularly; take care of our family finances; shower, dress, and fix my hair beautifully every day; make dinner; and keep up with the amazing amounts of dirty laundry produced my little family of three.
I feel like I’m playing that game called “Perfection”, trying so hard to fit all of the little shapes into the right holes before the timer runs out and the board pop up. I can’t imagine what it will be like when we have more than one child—I know that a lot of you are already at that point and probably have figured out how to juggle everything, and more, way better than I do right now.
What Jesus meant is that we should all be striving for perfection in the spiritual sense. No matter how many times I fail, I should always be trying my very best to love and care for my family as God would have me love and care for them. I should always be striving to center my life in living for Him. This is the kind of perfection Jesus was talking about: we are commanded to be perfect in love. When we are imperfect, that’s what the sacraments are for. Thank the Lord for that!
And as for the other imperfections I mentioned, I can try as hard as I want to and things will continue to get easier for now as Charlie gets older, but at the end of every day I’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that nobody’s perfect. Especially not me!
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