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June Cleaver Syndrome



Through my readers I’ve come to learn that so many of us want to be a good wife and mother, but we can’t help feeling that we never meet our own expectations, let alone anyone else’s.

We make plans and schedules that we follow for a while with the best of intentions, but too often we give up and return to old habits.

I think that there are two things we need to consider here. One is what my sister Betty calls, “June Cleaver Syndrome.” That is when our expectations are based on who we think we should be according to the high standards we see around us rather than celebrating the women that we were created to be.

June Cleaver Syndrome develops when we’re busy imitating someone else’s expectations, rather than those that are a reasonable fit for our lifestyle. We have an idea of what a “perfect” mom should look like, but that image isn’t anything near to the woman we are.

This desire for perfection can take the shape of anything from body image to the way we clean our house.

Let me give you an example. My sister Kathy is an organizational freak. Every nook and cranny in her house is well organized. Even her plastic bags are folded into perfect little triangles and carefully placed in their perfect little drawer.

I’m a writer. You won’t hear the word “perfect” when it comes to describing my drawers. My bags are crumpled up and literally stuffed into a clothespin bag that I hang on the kitchen wall. I like a tidy house that is comfortable and clean, but if you pop in unexpected, you’ll see a house that looks lived in.

With that said, let me address my second point: “self-control.” The fact that I’m not a clean freak doesn’t give me a ticket to be lazy in that area of my life. Scripture after scripture tells me that I’m called to be self-controlled in every area of my life.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit
is like a city that is broken down,
and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28, KJV)

Ruling our spirit isn’t any easier than training our body to run a marathon. It takes patience, repetition, exercise, and action. Those who are domestically-challenged need to stay focused and avoid the temptation to let the mess get out of control.

I failed high school English, but failure doesn’t dictate my future. I have written two books, I own a self-publishing company, and I’m a New York Times best-selling author. Failing merely meant that it wasn’t time to give up. Rather than letting our past failures set the stage for our future, they should be the very thing that tells us we need to press on!

Here’s a quote I wrote for a post on I love how it applies to every area of my life and sums up the two points I’m making here:

What about those nights when you get so down on yourself because you made a mistake? Have you ever thrown the plan out the window because you didn’t meet your own high level of expectation? We’re not created to be perfect—we’re created to press on!

And let’s not forget the words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians:

Not as though I had already attained,
either were already perfect: but I
follow after, if that I may apprehend
that for which also I am
apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)

This article is an excerpt from Darlene Schacht’s eBook, The Good Wife’s Guide: Embracing Your Role as a Helpmeet.

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New York Times best-selling author, Darlene Schacht is an ordinary mom, living an extraordinary life, because of who she is through Jesus Christ. As help-meet to her husband Michael, she guides and nurtures their four children, leading them toward a deeper walk of faith. She's the author of the book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages, as well as co-author with actress Candace Cameron Bure of the book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. You can find her blogging at Time-Warp Wife where she empowers wives to joyfully serve.

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June Cleaver Syndrome

by Darlene Schacht time to read: 3 min