Have you noticed how this word has crept into the modern mother's vernacular in the past few years?    "I'll pick Winifred up at 3pm. "  "Perfect!" texts your friend on the other end.  At the grocery store you catch yourself  in response to "May I help you out with your bags?" saying "Perfect!" when what you really mean is 'Thank you, that would be very helpful.'   In the doctor's office "Here are the forms you asked me to fill out in triplicate."  "Perfect" says the perky receptionist.  While these things are helpful or necessary or mundane they are far from "entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings."  So, what goes on here?

Is it, perhaps, the quest for perfection in all things that has driven the misuse of this word?  Surely every modern mother knows a few people in search of total perfection or some variation thereon.  The perfect house jumps easily to mind.  This abode is flawless inside and out with absolutely no sign that a family of 6 actually inhabits the place full-time.  The perfect body is being sought in cities and towns across America as never before.  Modern mothers spend hours working out or instead choose the surgical alteration option.  The other perfection your gentle authoress notices being sought by many a modern mother is the perfect childhood for her offspring.  It is as if these mothers have forgotten that childhood is bumpy and anything but perfect.  If they haven't forgotten, these mothers want to somehow smooth it over and repackage it like a snapshot in a glossy magazine rather than the real, messy, and at times solution-less process it really is. 

So when presented with someone elses' idea of perfect  what's a well mannered modern mother to do?  In most instances a little oohing and aahing should do the trick.  "My goodness are those cabinets Wolf Range Knob Red? How did you ever get such a perfect match...?" and so on.  For the more disquieting examples some gentle tongue biting might be in order.  Far be it from us to delve into the psyche of any modern mother, but is it possible that this quest for perfection may be an attempt to compensate for something? 

1 comment:

Mary Unruh said...

Seems like a quest for control in an out of control world. People have fogotten to value what matters most: messy & real families; doors open to the bugs, mud, cats, dogs kids and yard; real (slow) food; vacation time longer than a weekend (what happened to spending weeks at the beach, mountains, where ever?); hemming and hand me downs; saying "NO" to your kids once in a while; growing a garden; having a non-status hobby (stamps anyone?) because it makes YOU happy; buying, reading, or visiting (gasp!) a library for real books; canning fresh strawberry jam..... I know it all sounds so 'Martha' (and I just got 3 backyard chickens so I guess I'd know, lol!)

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