Motherhood Trials · Self Care

Why June Cleaver Can Bite Me

To all the women out there who have lost their shit today: I salute you. No, really. Because, you see, we have created this culture of perfection that no person can live up to, and it’s created this terrible belief that unleashing your emotions is a bad thing.

What is this, 1957?

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Do you see pearls around my neck or heels on my feet as I cook wholesome meals three times a day, never raising my simpering, cheery voice above a normal range?

No.

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That’s media, friend. And it’s never been a reflection of reality. That’s a dream. An idea. A false image of what some people believe a wife and mother should be.

But we do it to ourselves all the time; we (June) Cleaver ourselves: hold our lives up to a mirror of the quintessential 1950s housewife and then feel overwhelmed and upset that we aren’t matching those expectations in our own realities.

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When someone is struggling, the best thing you can say is often, “It’s okay to feel that way. You have a right to feel that way. I would feel like that, too.” Permission. Validation. Empathy.

But why do we need someone else to tell us that it’s okay to own our emotions? That it’s okay to struggle, and that it’s normal to feel or do poorly sometimes?

Why do we Cleaver ourselves?

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I think it’s because we, especially as mothers, have this overwhelming need to feel like we have it together. That we have our ducks in a row, and everything is under control.

Why? We’ve been given the responsibility of keeping other human beings alive, and if we don’t have OUR crap together, how in the world can we teach them to have their lives in order?

We don’t want to raise angry kids, so we feel like we shouldn’t lose our tempers and yell, ever.

We don’t want to raise slobs, so we feel like we have to keep the house immaculate.

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We don’t want to raise failures, so we feel like we should never be failing in front of them.

And when we fail to keep the house clean or get the errands done or keep up on our work or lose our tempers or get stuck in a particularly nasty mood, we feel overwhelmingly like failures.

And that’s just bullshit.

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Because we are going to fail. We are going to yell and be slobs sometimes. We are going to get stuck in nasty moods or fall behind at work or spend all day ignoring our kids to catch up in some other aspect of life. Because NEWS FLASH: we are human. We are not perfect. And guess what, no matter what June Cleaver or anyone’s social media life tells you, neither is any. other. person. on. this. planet.

Now, if life is continually biting you in the ass, and you’re constantly drowning in to-dos and stuff and things, and you lost your shit so long ago that you can’t even find it to lose it again, then maybe you need to evaluate your expectations and lower them…like a lot.

Or eliminate some things from your life to create some breathing room (maybe a lot of things or even people). Maybe you need to delete some parts of your schedule to add in some self-care. Because you deserve to take care of yourself, too. You shouldn’t see self-care as a “luxury” unless you’d like to consider your sanity as a “luxury” as well. Your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being rely on your ability to take care of yourself. After all, stress kills more than cars do on the daily.

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But it’s okay to lose your shit.

In fact, it’s healthy to do so, sometimes… no matter what June Cleaver says.

Just make sure you’re able to find it again.

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