‘The Perfect Mother’ by Erma Bombeck

by Amy Hilbrich Davis

in Parenting

There is no such thing as a perfect mother! It’s a myth.  I’m not a fan of the word, “perfect” and I think the idea of the perfect mother polarizes moms, making us feel less than we are.

Without a doubt, we are all doing our best each and every day, and if we try to measure ourselves to some unrealistic standard, we can easily feel defeated–our job is tough enough, we don’t need anything more to worry about.

My friend Michelle knows how much I dislike this notion of “perfect” and sent me this classic Mom Essay, The Perfect Mother by Erma Bombeck. I remember my Mom reading her book, If Life is A Bowl Of Cherries,–Why Do I Feel Like The Pits!  Erma didn’t hold bacK!

Well, I was having having an especially tough time one day and this essay from Erma just made me smile. Hope it makes you do the same. You just have to laugh!

Everyone said Sharon was a terrific mother.

Her neighbors said it.

Sharon painted the inside of her garbage cans with enamel, grew her own vegetables, cut her own grass every week, made winter coats for the entire family from remnants, donated blood and baked Barbara Mandrell a doll cake for her birthday.

Her mother said it.

Sharon drove her to the doctor’s when she had an appointment, color-coordinated the children’s clothes and put them in labeled drawers, laundered aluminum foil and used it again, planned family reunions, wrote her Congressman, cut everyone’s hair and knew her health insurance policy number by heart.

Her children’s teacher said it.

She helped her children every night with their homework, delivered her son’s paper route when it rained, packed nutritious lunches with little raised faces on the sandwiches, was homeroom mother, belonged to five car pools and once blew up 234 balloons by herself for the seventh grade cotillion.

Her husband said it.

Sharon washed the car when it rained, saved antifreeze from year to year, paid all the bills, arranged their social schedule, sprayed the garden for bugs, moved the hose during the summer, put the children on their backs at night to make sure they didn’t sleep on their faces, and once found a twelve-dollar error on a tax return filed by H & R Block.

Her best friend said it.

Sharon build a bed out of scraps left over from the patio, crocheted a Santa Claus to cover the extra roll of toilet paper at Christmastime, washed fruit before her children ate it, learned to play the harpsichord, kept a Boston fern alive for a whole year, and when the group ate lunch out, Sharon always figured out who owed what.

Her minister said it.

Sharon found time to read all the dirty books and campaign against them.  She played guitar at evening services.  She corresponded with a poor family in Guatemala…in SPANISH.  She put together a cookbook to raise funds for a new coffee maker for the church.  She collected door to door for all the health organizations.

Sharon was one of those women blessed with a knack for being organized.  She planned a “theme party” for the dog’s birthday, made her children elaborate Halloween costumes out of old grocery bags and her knots came out just right on the shoelaces when they broke.  She put a basketball hoop over the clothes hanger as an incentive for good habits, started seedlings in a toilet paper spindle, and insulated their house with empty egg cartons, which everyone else threw away.

Sharon kept a schedule that would have brought any other women to her knees.  Need twenty-five women to chaperone a party?  Give the list to Sharon.  Need a mother to convert the school library to the Dewey Decimal System?  Call Sharon.  Need someone to organize a block party, garage sale or a school festival?  Get Sharon.

Sharon was a SUPER MOM!
Her gynecologist said it.
Her butcher said it.
Her tennis partner said it.
Her children…

Her children never said it.

They spent a lot of time with Rick’s mother, who was always home with them and who ate cookies out of a box and played poker with them.

Erma Bombeck was a genius and an inspiration to mothers everywhere. You can read more about Erma or buy one of her books at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com.

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