Mommy Facade and Anxiety

Women strive to appear perfect. We don’t post about last night’s marital disagreement on Facebook or share a picture of our daughter’s failing report card on Instagram. We shove all of our junk into the coat closet before our visitor’s arrive. We use concealer to hide the bags under our eyes from being up all night with a toddler with a tummy ache. The only time we share those far-from-perfect moments with others is when they are too down right hilarious not to. I like to call this act the “Mommy Facade.”

Why do we do that? Why do we hide the fact that we are days behind on dishes and laundry? Why do we pretend that life is always perfect all the time? I can’t answer that question for anyone but myself. But for me it is anxiety.

Anxiety is a scary word. It’s actually a terrifying word for me. Just hearing the word makes me more anxious (ironic, right?). Anxiety is a hard thing to come to grips with. If you tell someone you are struggling with anxiety they may tell you to go get meds for that. That’s what Xanax is for, right? I don’t want to down play the fact that some people truly need help to be able to calm their anxiety in order to function. I am well aware that for many, it is a true medical problem.  However, I know for me, that isn’t the case. I will refer to my kind of anxiety as “Mommy Anxiety.”

What is contributing to this “Mommy Anxiety”? I could give a list of the things that make me anxious. Maybe one day I will. It almost sounds therapeutic. But for now, I want to focus on the one that causes the “Mommy Facade.” I am always worried about other women judging how I am doing in my role as a wife and mother. I don’t want to be THAT mom who has dishes piled up, graham cracker crumbs on the floor, and unfolded laundry all over the kitchen table. But I am totally THAT mom. If no one is coming over, my house is THAT house. I fear unexpected visitors because my house isn’t clean.

But the reality is that I am a mom of 13 month old. She is going to leave crumbs from her afternoon snack and I’m not going to get them swept up immediately. I’m going to leave her to play in her room and she is going to empty every drawer in her dresser. I’m going to have to do laundry when I don’t feel good so my husband has clean clothes for work. But they aren’t going to get folded anytime soon. I am going to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have aching feet at the end of the day and not feel up to washing the dishes. So they are going to get piled up.

I often discredit the things that I do in a day because of the things that get left undone. But what really matters is that my daughter’s tummy is full and my husband has clean clothes for work. And I’m doing those things. Their needs are being met. My health sometimes gets in the way of getting everything done. Somehow that has to be okay. Because I’m not super woman. (Apparently someone else is already filling that role.)

I am not perfect. There. I said it. I do not live a perfect life. And I am okay with that. I may still stay up late the night before I have company to appear perfect. Because that Mommy Anxiety isn’t going anywhere for the time being. I will still work with all my might to appear as perfect to the outside world as I can. But anyone who knows what being a mom is all about doesn’t care about how my house looks. They care about me. They care about my husband. They care about my daughter. And they choose to love my totally chaotic, imperfect mommy life.