The Quest for Perfection

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The Love Council on Mar 16, 2005 at 3:27AM

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The Quest for Perfection

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Dan Cronin

We have 15-month-old twin girls. The only thing more guaranteed to bring on "mommy madness" than that would be a 24-hour looped viewing of The Shining. But you know what? Mommy's doing pretty well. She's come a long way from day 16 of the girls' lives, when I found her near their cribs, where they were screaming at her like ducks that had been stepped on. With her remaining energy she uttered, "I can't do this." Her expression actually suggested expectation of a response offering a solution. Something like, "Well then, honey, let's return them. We did keep the receipts."

She ‑- well, we, but mostly she ‑- now has this place humming. Meals, naps, bath and bedtime happen like clockwork. Not because Mom's a maniacal perfectionist, but because there are two babies in our house. It just has to happen. If she didn't have things down to some level of predictability, the kids would be out playing in traffic right now.

I'm working hard to keep the family alive, too. Without my work, no cash. No cash? No apartment. No baby food. No anything. This line of thinking sets the two of us head-to-head, jockeying for the "pity seat." Who deserves to be tired more? Who works harder in this marriage? As a spouse? As a parent? We're competitors instead of teammates. Now that's madness. But there is no perfectionist obsession that has beset her (or us). Our girls are not enrolled in baby yoga or advanced interpretive tumbling. They don't know Photoshop yet. But they giggle and dance and yell a lot. We're doing something right.

I'm glad my wife recently got pissed at me for not being around as much as I should be. Because I realized she didn't just need an extra set of hands around. She needed her husband, too. Her "Woobie." She needed to feel like a wife in addition to a mother. I'm thankful for that.

Over a recent dinner out, by candlelight, we recounted how we met on a blind date. We laughed and looked into each other's eyes. We were on the same team again. Aah... a respite from the madness.

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