June Cleaver was your quintessential, suburban housewife. She polished in pearls and shopped in heels. She was a perfectly coiffed, stylish hostess. June was dedicated to her family and friends, she was an active part of her community, and was boss at needlepoint.
Here’s the thing:
June Cleaver wasn’t real.
She was fake. A fraud.
A black & white facade.
There came a point where I began to ask myself why I felt the need to strive to be the anti-me.
When I had my daughter 6 years ago, I found myself at a precipice. I had everything going against me. I was a new, confused mom. I was a tired, haggard wife. I was a recovering alcoholic. I was climbing Mt. Postpartum Depression with nary a safety net.
The expectations were mounting; and it wasn’t the external expectations – it was the expectations that I placed on myself. The expectations to perform at a level that I couldn’t possibly reach.
I refused help. I believed that a good mom, a mom that was meant to be a mom, wouldn’t need help. I had isolated myself from my friends, and I was terrified to leave the house, lest I drop my newborn while walking down the stairs. I was developing an obsession with my health, or lack thereof. Every pain became terminal, every ache meant I was one step closer to leaving this life. I was literally living in fear. I was trying to maintain the sobriety that I had worked so hard to achieve, but the fear of being seen for what I really was, the fear of having to tell the truth, made me abandon the support system I had built in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Motherhood, marriage, life – none of it was what I expected it to be and I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
In an effort to have some kind of connection to the outside world, I joined a popular blogging community, picked the pseudonym “June Cleaverish,” and began to post. I was social in the virtual world, and it was the virtual world that I believe gave me the nudge to get well. It became my venting ground, my online diary. I made friends and built relationships that I still have today. And although I wasn’t new to the blogosphere, having had some kind of blog on almost every forum since 2001, it was freeing to be able to write again about my newest endeavor: wife and mom.
Over the last six years I’ve been learning some hard lessons. Mostly that it’s okay to just be okay. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to hate your husband sometimes. It’s okay to want to call your child an asshole behind their back, because let’s be honest – kids are assholes. It’s okay to feel like you’re a square peg trying to fit in the round hole called Motherhood.
I’m learning that it’s okay to be “-ish” – the kinda, sorta, not quite, and in between.
I think I’m almost there.
Well, not really almost.