Perfect Mom Syndrome

This morning, columnist Karen Heller mentioned Perfect Mom Syndrome:

One year my daughter was in a class where each and every mother looked like a supermodel, even first thing in the morning, except they were all doctors and lawyers who ran 10Ks, sat on charitable boards, and staffed every school committee while turning out exquisite baked goods. Plus, they could sew, which is entirely unfair, but were so nice you couldn’t possibly dislike them.

I absolutely relate. My epitome of a perfect mom was a woman named Lisa in my son’s kindergarten class. Not only did she show up looking like a supermodel every morning, her children were so immaculately groomed that they could have been models too–not that she would ever submit her children to such a thing. Her son excelled in kindergarten, writing full sentences when most of the other children could barely write words. And for his birthday, she brought in multicolored giant cookies which had the name of each and every individual child in the classroom on top of each child’s favorite color. That was so over the top we less perfect moms mocked her for it, even though we were in awe. And the problem with perfect moms, of course, is that they’re always so nice that you can’t hate them. Lisa said the overachiever birthday cookies were made at her son’s insistence, and I think she tried to scuff her fashionable shoes. After a few years, she moved her children to the local Catholic school, where they probably have more perfect moms for Lisa to relate to.

There are more perfect moms at school, but I’ve come to terms with not being one of them. My house will never be immaculate (certainly not as long as I have a Kelly about), my children will always look a little (or a lot) messy, and sometimes running a hairbrush through my hair and putting on a clean t-shirt is as far as my daily toilette allows. Instead, I admire the perfect moms the way someone does an Olympic athlete: I can only imagine that ideal overachieving maternal superiority was accomplished through years of grueling practice, combined with a hereditary advantage and mental discipline I don’t have.

1 Comment

  1. Chris

    Okay, first of all I’m going to be mean here. Don’t blame the messy house on Kelly. I remember what your bedroom looked like when we were in high school…too bad I don’t have any pictures to blackmail (whoops, I mean, share).

    You are so right about the supermoms though. There is only one in our kindergarden group who meets the full criteria including looking like a supermodel. She bikes to school some afternoons to pick up her son, carrying her (extremely well behaved) two year old boy along for the ride in a baby bike seat, with her kindergartener’s scooter in a shoulder bag, her hair always amazingly tidy and no sweat to show for the effort. And just like you said, she’s so nice, you can’t help but like her.


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