The Ideal Wife and Mother
August 4, 2008
About thirteen years ago, a little before Dave and I got married, I had a dream. You might even call it a nightmare. It involved Dave dumping me for a girl named, of all things, “Bon-Bon.” She was beautiful, with long shiny brown hair. Worse, she was the ideal wife. She kept house immaculately. She served gourmet dinners with seemingly no effort, and somehow without messing up the kitchen. She was highly intelligent but not intimidating. She was loving and attentive, interesting to talk with, and never whiny or needy. In my dream, I was crushed but sympathetic with Dave’s abandonment of me for Bon-Bon. I mean, who could blame him? She was the ideal wife.
Thankfully it was just a dream, and when I woke and shook off the lingering sense of loss and inadequacy, I was even able to laugh about it a little with Dave.
Through the years, Bon-Bon has made reappearances in my dreams, evolving into the perfect mother. She is always patient and wise with her children. Motherhood has not dampened in the least her ability to be a perfect housekeeper and wonderful wife. She also reappears in conversations with Dave, who kindly insists he would never trade me in for Bon-Bon. He prefers me, he claims. Me – flawed, disorganized, messy. Me – a good cook but unable to keep the kitchen clean. Me – a loving, kind wife who once in a while strikes, snakelike, at her unsuspecting husband. Me – a fun-loving mommy who can be “the grouchy ladybug.”
We talk frequently about the “good-enough” principle. I don’t have to be the perfect housekeeper, just good enough. I am not the ideal wife, but usually, I hope, I am good enough. And my heart’s prayer is that when my children are grown, they will remember me fondly, not as the perfect mom, but the mom who was good enough. And that will be good enough for me.