Earlier this year in the month of March, I was presented with the award on the left having completed a year-long entrepreneurship programme for African women.
I was somewhat bemused by the title “Perfect Score”. What does this even mean? I wondered.
Then I reflected on another award I was presented with one Mothering Sunday, also in the March of that year, which is shown on the right, and I was struck by the difference between the two.
My Perfect Score award was for “earning all the available programme points over the course of the 12 month AWEC programme”.
It is indeed possible to earn a “Perfect Score” for an endeavour where the criteria is clearly defined. The process of earning the award is logical and transparent and can easily be verified and justified.
However, it is practically impossible to earn a “perfect score” for being a mum.
For one, who is to say how this is to be measured? How many dirty nappy changes would qualify? How many school plays attended, meals cooked, noses wiped and clothes mended would earn one points?
When the children become teenagers, how many miles of driving from one “very important” social event to the other? How many late nights waiting up for them to come home? How many hours of consoling teenage angst and drying their tears?
On the 12 month course, one would forfeit points for not attending key meetings, and for not submitting assignments by stated deadlines.
As a mother, in contrast, how many points does one lose for failing to protect them from danger? From not serving the most nutritious meals or for bursts of irrational anger?
When it comes to motherhood, perfection is unattainable and must be left at the door as we stumble and fumble our way through the nebulous process of childrearing, gyrating from moments of elation and euphoria to deepest darkest despair and unbearable pain.
Not only is perfection unattainable as a mom, it is also, frankly undesirable.
You see, children are keenly aware of their own imperfections and so allowing them to witness your struggles and triumphs will help them navigate their own challenges from a much more healthier place.
As a mother, I maintain my sanity by embracing my imperfections and striving to do better next time.
I can only pray that God will protect my children from the worst consequences of my many imperfections so they can be beautifully, and confidently imperfect for their own kids.