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Something for Saturday: Giving Up On Perfect

May 25, 2013

Once upon a time there was a new mom.

Like so many other moms before her, she wanted not just to be a good mom, she wanted to be a perfect mom. She thought she was supposed to want to be a perfect mom.

With a perfect house, a perfect family, a perfect life.

She found out that perfect is an exhausting taskmaster. She tried. Oh, but she tried. But every day failing for perfect is never satisfied. When it comes to perfect, enough is never enough.

The day came when she had to bake the cake for her precious baby’s birthday. And. like every perfect mom, she had planned to make it from scratch. That’s what perfect moms do, right?

But she had a toddler in the house, and a full-time job (did I mention she was a working mom?) and every single person who was invited to the party had RSVPd that they would be there and they would be bringing other friends, and their kids too, so what was supposed to be a party for 20 at the most was going to be a party for 50.

A wise and kind friend found her in a state of exhaustion and shame. I don’t have time to bake the cake! she cried. Much less cut and frost and decorate it in the shape of the train as she had planed.

Why don’t you use a cake mix? the kindly friend suggested.

The mom was appalled. CAKE MIX?! Oh, the horror. What would people think of her?

Her friend persisted. She used the cake mix. The cake turned out beautifully and the party was great. Not perfect, but it was great.

A few days later, the friend gave her a book called “Being Perfect” Underneath the title, she  taped a little piece of paper that reads; “is not necessary.” And inside the cover she wrote:

Always remember two things:

  • It’s ok to use a cake mix.
  • You are loved.

The young mom never forgot that advice, and has held both of those wise points close to her heart ever since.

Anna Quindlen

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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5 Comments leave one →
  1. PattyB permalink
    May 25, 2013 9:37 am

    You will always be loved even when you are less than perfect! That being said….I can’t think of a single way you don’t exceed in using the gifts God gave you for your family and friends and now the www! I continue to be so very proud of you.

  2. May 26, 2013 7:31 am

    How “perfect” to read this exactly one year, to the day, since I broke the symbolic ruler of perfectionism. (Which I realized only at the end when the Anna Quindlen quote moved me to tears not because of how scary “giving up on perfect” sounds but because of how good “becoming myself” really is starting to feel!)

  3. June 14, 2013 8:47 pm

    Just – yes! 🙂 I wrote a Mother’s day talk about this called the Superwoman Myth (and put it on my blog). It’s along the same lines – if we’re busy trying to be perfect or trying to be like some other “perfect” mom, we cannot be who He created us to be! I love the story form of this, and have to say that you have a wonderful friend. 🙂


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