The Perfect Family


A family posing in coordinating outfits.I’ve been repeatedly told that someone thought we had the “perfect family.” Or that my children looked so “well behaved.” Or they didn’t know how I seemed to “do it all” and keep it all together.

All I could do in those situations was smile and say “thank you,” but inside, I was actually screaming out for someone to recognize that everything was not ok. I was not ok. My family was not ok.

We were far from perfect.

Almost exactly one year ago to the day, my husband and I decided to stop hiding from each other and our problems. We decided to divorce.

We didn’t share this news with many people at first, and even a year later, there are still so many people who don’t know what we have been through this past year. However, when we began to share that our marriage was irrevocably broken, there was a recurring theme in the reactions from people we told:

“You always looked so happy.”

There’s a reason we always looked happy. We didn’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable around us. We knew how to put on the show that we needed to get through the family function, the friend’s birthday party, or the random Saturday at swim lessons.

We knew how we had to behave when we were around other people. But we couldn’t hide from that when it was just us.

Once the show ended, we didn’t know how to be together anymore. And there wasn’t anything we could do to fix it.

The perfect family doesn’t exist. But what does exist is understanding, support, and compromise. Since we acknowledged that we didn’t want to be together anymore, we have learned how to exist as two separate people and co-parent our children in the way that works for us.

When you see that family that looks like they have it all together, remember they probably don’t have it all figured out, even if it looks like they do.

I no longer want to compare our truth to what any other family chooses to share in public. We can never truly know what another family experiences when they close their doors.

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Charity is a newly-single mom of three with a son born in 2012 and identical twin daughters born in 2017. She lives in Monroe and has been writing for Fairfield County Mom since 2019. Charity is a full-time speech-language pathologist, working with patients all across the lifespan. She is also an intuitive medium. In her life before children, Charity was a professional stage manager, working in theatres throughout Fairfield County. Charity is passionate about her family, career, ballet (which she began at 39 years old!), musical theatre, and her amazingly-supportive friends as she begins a new chapter in her life. She firmly believes that you are never too old to stay stuck in a situation that is causing you pain. You can follow her on Instagram at @charityferris.


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