I have spent my life in an ongoing mission for perfection. So far, it's not going so well. Let's review the quest thus far:
The Perfect Daughter~ Not me. I kept my room spotless as a child. Like, seriously, white-glove spotless. This only seemed to freak my Mom out most of the time and give my brother even more reason to call me a nerd (neither of them are particularly neat). I made excellent grades. Yet, I still didn't go to Harvard or Yale or some other awe-inducing university covered in figurative (and literal) ivy. I didn't end up unmarried and pregnant. Okay, so that's a lie, but I was twenty-six and eventually married the baby daddy, making everything copacetic and creating the perfect little nuclear family. (On the plus side, I also didn't Lizzie Borden my family or join a cult, so perhaps we can call it even.)
The Perfect Wife (take 2, the starter marriage doesn't count)~ Not me. I cook. It's usually edible, although there is the time I threw the crab cakes out the back door and cried until B ordered Chinese, and the time I became angry when my crepes kept falling apart so I threw the entire batch on the kitchen floor and cried until B convinced me to try it again. I clean. My house is usually very clean, although all this has gotten me is ridicule from the neighbors who find it amusing that I vent my frustrations by spot-cleaning the carpet. I can't sew worth a damn. I do not enjoy socializing, particularly at B's work-related functions because they make me nervous (I use a different side of my brain than all of those freaky engineers). I'm extremely organized and focused, but can become agitated when disorder enters my domain, therefore becoming at least mildly bitchy (maybe a lot bitchy). (Plus side: I'm frequently naked and give great back rubs. Not sure how that evens everything out.)
The Perfect Mother~ Not me. I play with the kids if it involves books or things that interest me. I'd rather be tortured than play Barbies or trucks. I keep them fed, but am frequently a Nazi (though not as bad as B) about what they eat, therefore depriving them of many fun kid foods like Cocoa Puffs and Cheetos. I take my library book to soccer practice because I get really bored watching them run around the field. I'm just now learning from a friend how to relax and not freak out when they run with sticks or eat mulch at the playground (I'm more than a little overprotective). There are many days when I like them best when they are sleeping, and I can snuggle them up and smell their sweet smells and not have to listen to them ask for something every two seconds. They are clean, happy, fed, safe, healthy... but sometimes I yell at them when they fight over the booster seat with the red stripe or won't stay in their beds at night. (Plus side: I would die for them, in a heartbeat. I would do anything to make them happy, when it comes down to it. That counts for something, right?)
The Perfect Friend~ Not me. I hold the title of Worst Matron Of Honor In The Universe. I was pregnant with Sutt when my BFF Ray got married. I bailed on her bachelorette party because I didn't feel well. She had to jump through hoops to get extra fabric so I could have my bridesmaid dress maternity-ized. I was bitchy at her wedding (in my defense, it was July in Chapel Hill, hot as hell, an outdoor wedding, and I was ENORMOUS). I have missed the births of two children (so far). Pretty much, I suck. (Plus side: There is none. Ray's a saint.)
The entire time I was growing up, I watched my Dad do this same thing--strive to be perfect. And it didn't get him anywhere. Frankly, it only made him unhappy. When his father passed away, it almost seemed to set him free--he didn't have to keep working to be perfect for this person. But since my Dad died, I only feel it more. I have to be this person that he absolutely would have been proud of, no matter what. Everything has to be perfect, even though I know he didn't expect that of me, and he loved me despite my flaws. It's a lot of pressure. So I'm still plugging away, trying to be perfect. Gotta be perfect.