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A Tale of Horror: Frankenmom

There was a monster that lurked in my mind. This monster sometimes kept me up at night, prowling around the edges of my thoughts. Sometimes she jumped to the forefront with vicious attack, leaving me only after I was completely shaken. I finally acknowledged this monster and vanquished her from my life. I call her Frankenmom.

Just who was Frankenmom? Imagine a creature that stitched together all the BEST qualities of other women. She is the best of homemaking, mothering, church practice, marriage, craftiness, personality, taste, humor, and virtue. In my muddled mind I had learned to compare myself to this creature of “best” qualities. Frankenmom reminded me of what I wasn’t and in striving toward her ideal, I lost track of the talents I did have.

There was an even darker side to Frankenmom. Often, she bore two faces. She had a home that was quaint and filled with children’s projects and piles of comfy books. But at the same time, her house was catalog perfect, roomy and spotless. She watched no TV while staying on top of all Pop Culture. Her children were dressed like models but at the same time having a wild, cute, I-dressed-myself-and-am-allowed-my-own-personality look. Don’t even get me started on her husband and marriage relationship!! With this duality, I was doomed to be haunted. I couldn’t have everything I coveted in Frankenmom; sometimes I was torn between two incompatible ideals.

I thought I was OK because I didn’t compare myself to others. I could see that they had talents and faults just like me. But somehow I morphed all great things into Frankenmom. If Frankenmom can spend all her time on charity work, why couldn’t I? If her house was perfect, why not mine? If her relationships with everyone were wonderful, why not mine? If I knew someone could do it, why couldn’t I? I WANTED TO BECOME FRANKENMOM!!!

The biggest step to vanquishing Frankenmom was to acknowledge her existence. What made her a monster? No one can be perfect at everything. It was the discarded parts that would have given this monster human proportion. A great cook may have an untidy house. The spotless cleaner might be a terrible public speaker. The inspirational speaker might not recognize a sewing machine. And so on.

The next step was to decide on what talents I wanted to focus. Instead of letting the perfect woman, that terrible monster, loom over me, I turned to what I really wanted. Instead of worrying people may not mistake my home as Frankenmom’s lair, I began to buy things for my home simply because I liked them and, soon, my own style emerged. Instead of worrying I would be left out if I didn’t master all craft and homemaking skills like Frankenmom had, I focused on the ones that brought me the most joy. I started trying to understand the gospel at my level, acquiring knowledge and habits line upon line instead of being paralyzed by fear that people would see I wasn’t yet at Frankenmom’s level.

Sometimes Frankenmom still tries to force herself into my life. But now I see her for the monster she has always been. I am ME and I don’t want to be Frankenmom anymore!!

Charlotte lives in New England with her husband and 6 children. When she isn't scaling mountains of laundry, hazarding the dangerous regions of her kids' bathrooms, or trying to keep track of her husband's schedule as an Emergency Department physician, she can be found blogging at Memories for Later. Her interests include scraping spaghetti noodles off the wall, finding lost library books, questioning her sanity, and trying to enjoy her little ones as much as possible before they grow up (under a year before her oldest hits teenage years and her youngest hits Sunbeams!). Her life may be stressful at times, but at least it makes for some pretty funny posts.

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