Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Wanted To Be June Cleaver

leave it to beaver, i love lucy, barbara billingsley, lucille ball

As a kid, I watched "I Love Lucy", "Dick Van Dyke", and "Leave It To Beaver" religiously.  They all have a common thread - all of the mothers had on a perfect outfit, pearls, a frilly apron, perfectly coifed hair no matter what task was being performed, a spotless house, a scrumptious dinner served every evening in the formal dining room, and they raised their children effortlessly.

Growing up, I was in awe of their prowess as housewives and mothers.  When I played with Barbies with my childhood friends, I always wanted to be the mom.  "Kids!  Dinner is ready!  Wash your hands and face.", I'd say.  The Barbie that was the mom was always the most fashionably dressed of all.  I loved how June Cleaver always had dinner on the table at the exact right time each night and it was a well-balanced meal.  Children drank milk from tall crystal glasses and ate their dessert from beautifully footed dessert bowls.  Their homes were always clutter-free and devoid of even the smallest speck of dust.  The children's bedrooms had beds that were expertly made and their toys were neatly displayed and put away.

When I became pregnant with our first child, I cleaned and organized everything in sight.  All of the baby clothes and socks were washed and put away according to color and size.  All of the toys and baby implements were sterilized several times just to be sure there were no lingering germs.  The nursery was decorated perfectly and everything was in its place as we awaited the arrival of our little bundle of joy.

I brought our son home from the hospital and my husband went back to work, my parents went home and I was excited to begin my June Cleaver-like life.  By the end of the first week, I realized I'd worn the same shirt four days straight and hadn't brushed my teeth in two days.  By the middle of the second week, I took our son for his first doctor's visit and, as I was driving, I realized I hadn't put on deoderant or brushed my hair........ in days.  If I'd had on pearls like June Cleaver, I might have sliced them in half and worn them as dentures so no one could see I'd also forgotten to brush my teeth........ again.

I came home from that doctor's appointment and looked at my house.  The mail was stacked up to the ceiling, there were burp rags and baby paraphernalia scattered helter-skelter, the laundry was overflowing the laundry basket in the middle of the family room where I'd been trying to fold it for days, the pantry which I had stocked extra heavily on the off-chance I might be taking a bit longer to find my "baby-legs", was down to a jar of strawberry preserves, a loaf of moldy bread, and a can of cream of mushroom soup.

While I admire those who are the June Cleavers of the world, I quite obviously wasn't cut from that mold. My kids drink from plastic cups and eat their dessert from disposable bowls. Dinner is rarely on time and I'm usually covered in food splatters.  I'm the Mother who has the sign hanging up at the front door that warns "Beware!  Trained killer dust bunnies on guard!".  There's always some comedian in my house who's written "dust me" on a piece of furniture and there's still a stack of mail reaching to the ceiling that will make the headline story if it comes crashing down: "Family crushed by pile of junk mail!  Story at 10!". 

I have hope that one day I will achieve June Cleaver status and win the coveted frilly apron award.  It'll probably be about the same time as my youngest graduates college.............

by: Christie Bielss

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