Competing to be June Cleaver

Competing to be June Cleaver

If you knew me way back when – you may not recognize me now.

Some days I feel like Martha Stewart: baking, taking care of our daughter, keeping up with housework…truly domestic. Other days, I wish I could call on my French au pair to go where I go so I could do the simple things in life that we all take for granted…like go to the restroom without fearing I’ll have to jump off to save my daughter who may have fallen in the other room, even though she’s just fine and asleep soundly in her crib.

I mechanically begin working on dinner around 5:30/6 so by the time my husband comes home, something is on the table. Numerous things fall by the way side and I have the most fun after midnight – writing. Sleep comes when I need it, but my candle is certainly burning at both ends…. And why?

Because I can’t just be a mother. I can’t just plan play dates and obsess over what nursery school my baby will go to in 2 -3 years. I try to do it all and end up in a race with myself. Every time I take a breather, I regret it- I try to stay one step ahead and end up feeling like I’m one step behind trying to please everyone (especially myself).

I am certainly not alone (I sure hope not) as mothers like me around the country figure out how to have “it all”. Some have more help than others, with an au pair or family member – others, like me, do it alone during the day while the other spouse works. Others have no other spouse and do it all alone.

Help or no help, the June Cleaver competition is always in our subconscious.

But June Cleaver had it easy – if all I had to do was clean the house and have dinner ready, life would be a breeze… Instead I think about a career and my own personal happiness as a human on this crazy planet – never mind my husband and our happiness in life as a couple and family (which is of course a constant on my mind).

But how did I – How do we get this way – wanting everything to be perfect – or just right… trying to juggle motherhood and wife-Dom like we’re going to get a badge at the end of this raceto add to our sash – like we’re going to move up in the rankings.

I mean … sometimes It would be better if sleep were optional…

… And who is all of this for? Maybe we want to win one of those network tv “Mother of the Year” contests, and be picked over thousands of other deserving mothers…. Is that what our mothers wanted?

Are we recreating their lives in a google age?

My 1st year into this life as wife AND mother sent me into a homemaker mode many never knew existed or thought I would enjoy (myself included). But I was no longer “playing house” as I did as a child. This was real!

At the end of the day, June Cleaver’s life seemed perfect, but that sort of perfection has a dangerous price. If you find that you are driving yourself crazy over the minutiae and need a break, take one! Afterall, June Cleaver had commercials…
If you are wondering what this has to do with “being black”, it has everything to do with Identity which is what I gained when I “discovered” my blackness… A sense of self that could be carried throughout the different avenues of my life.

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