At a party a grown woman is wearing pigtails. The host, too, is sporting braided twin ponies. I like this new trend. Women are letting their hair down. Well, in this case they’re putting it up, but you know what I mean. Women are getting real again.
My mother wore pigtails well into her 30s; she was always comfortable in her own skin. She wasn’t trying to keep up with anyone, or be somebody she wasn’t, and was never pressured by those around her.
Not me. In my 30s I was flat-ironing my hair. Pigtails were certainly out, and so were curls. I felt so much pressure as a new mom, I thought that if my hair was in perfect place, my life would be, too. And for a time I tried to be the perfect wife and mother and sister, daughter and friend. And have terrific kids, an immaculate home, a fabulous career – get back into my high school jeans, or at the very least my loose-fitting ones from college.
When that wasn’t working, I would play a game that I could have just one perfect thing. I’d pick a perfect child. But then worry the normal kids would just think he’s a jerk. So I’d pick a perfect body, only because I think it would feel good and the shopping would be amazing. But then I’d think a perfect husband is more important. But having given up the perfect body, it’s not likely I could hold on to him.
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Thankfully, at 40, the chance to write this column came along, and there was just no getting around the reality of real life and its utter imperfection and challenges. And I started to find the funny in my own fear and failure. When I started getting letters from readers telling me that I made them feel like they weren’t alone and actually made them feel normal, I realized that I wasn’t alone either.
And today at 50, I am so grateful to be surrounded by women who are finally OK with opening up about the imperfection of life, love and motherhood. We can laugh at the pressure we are under to have it all, be it all, do it all – and look good doing it. This goal to reach some definition of perfection is just impossible! But boy does it make for good humor copy.
I say if you want perfection in this life, find the perfect hairdresser. Or the perfect place to lunch with your girlfriends. Or the perfect soup that makes you feel good no matter what’s happened. And surround yourself with funny people who make you laugh your head off. Because if I’ve learned anything, it’s don’t be perfect. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t hide your imperfection.
And for heaven’s sake, wear pigtails.
Tracy Curtis’s new book, “Trophy Mom,” is available at Park Road Books; firstname.lastname@example.org