Letting go of the June gene
Scientists haven’t discovered this one yet, but I’d bet it’s only because no one has taken the time to really look for it. I think it should be called the June gene, and it’s the part of a woman and mother’s DNA that makes us instinctively driven to be June Cleaver.
Not many young mothers of today actually watched June Cleaver—we grew up with Growing Pains and Family Ties to name just a few. But the essence of June is timeless. She was the picture perfect mother and housewife. The woman wore an apron and high heels on a daily basis, for Pete’s sake. Her hair was perfectly coiffed and if there was ever a scene without her wearing a pearl necklace, I’ll run out and kiss Eddie Haskell straight on the lips.
We all know that image of the picture perfect woman only appears on TV, but I for one have this inner desire to be that put together. I’ll pass on the high heels, but just to imagine a house so spotless and a pot roast coming out of the oven every day at 5:30 nearly makes me swoon. Conversely, if June sashayed over to my house in the afternoon she’d faint from the hotdogs cooking in the microwave and the counters piled with junk that reaches over her tall, tall head, not to mention the weeds that have taken my dead tomato plants hostage.
Deep down, I long to be her. I want to have the house all neat and clean with a feather duster and a wooden spoon perfectly perched in the pockets of my apron. I want my kids to take off their shoes when they come in the house looking as clean and as well-groomed as they do on Sunday mornings. I’d like to have ironed bed linens and a hairdo that doesn’t wilt before noon. And that’s just the beginning.
But I also like to have water fights and haul all of my kitchen chairs into the family room so that we can use every blanket in the entire house build a mansion of a fort with a room for everyone and their stuffed animals. I like to look at the pile of laundry and quickly shut the door and announce to everyone that it’s a great day to head to the park, even if it means our dinner comes in a flat box with extra pepperoni.
While it sounds like a ton of fun, it’s not always easy to do. When life piles up and I look at my son only to realize that I haven’t bathed him in a week and the closest thing to a vegetable we’ve eaten in days is ketchup, I long to tie on that apron and get down to business. The June gene takes over, and steam starts coming out of my ears at such a rate that the droopy hair starts flapping around and if I was wearing a pearl necklace, surely the bulging veins in my neck would send the pearls flying around the room.
That’s when I need to take a deep breath and silence that screaming gene. Because even though the Beav’ never really aged over the years and years of re-runs, my own children are breaking mach speed judging by how short all of their pants have become. Sadly, I know that one day I’ll long for a day filled with distracting fun and tiny muddy footprints through the house and look around only to find a coffee table not stacked high with board books and no granola bars smashed into my carpet.
So for the time being, I try turn down the volume on my June gene, although over the clatter of the children and the roar of the rolling dust bunnies, I, thankfully, can hardly even hear it.