Attempting to Embrace the Chaos

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lately I've been trying really hard to embrace the crazy. I threw my hands up and cried 'Uncle.' My Type A, anal side is having a hard time accepting the reality of how frenetic our lives have become lately, but the practical side is encouraging the the Type A side to take deep breaths and realize things will slow down soon enough.

I think it would be easier for me to let go if my mom and I hadn't had a few 'discussions' about everything from the state of my carpets to my son's wrinkled shorts. We're having one of those mother daughter moments where advice is really criticism in disguise. I've had to defend the choices I've made (or not made).

She doesn't understand why I can't "do it all" while one of the first things she did after my brother moved out a few years ago was hire a someone to clean twice a month. Things got heated. The phrase 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' was used. I realized I was on the verge of saying things I would end up regretting only after the satisfaction of getting the last word wore off.

Here's the thing: no, you can't eat off my floors but why would you want to? I have a perfectly good (and clean) kitchen table. My carpets are embarrassing, but the couch is clean. Sure, you'll have to move a pile of laundry to sit down but at least it's clean and folded. No one who comes into my home is afraid to sit down or eat anything I've made.

When I look back on my childhood and tell stories, I don't say, "man, my mom sure kept a super clean house." Instead, I talk about the green cookie jar that was always full of homemade cookies, us going shopping, her taking me to the library and buying me Sweet Valley High books, taking me to our local indoor pool and to the skating rink.

I don't think about our house or the laundry, I think about my mom herself. And that's what I want for Tyler. I want him to remember getting excited when I made his favorite meals for dinner and that I was at almost all of his practices and games. I also want Tyler to see me doing things that make me happy.

Am I happy that my house is a mess? No. It drives me absolutely crazy. But I decided awhile ago that I'm not a maid. I've already tried spending two hours a day making sure the house is exactly the way I like it (basically, perfect) and I've also tried screaming at my family to get them to help out more. Both ways left all of us miserable. I was resentful that I spent so much time cleaning for two people who could obviously care less and they got tired of me nagging.

The way I left it with my mom was to tell her that I don't have to do things the same way she did. We don't have to be the same kind of mom. She's a great mom and I like to think I'm doing a pretty good job myself. But, that doesn't mean I have to follow in her exact footsteps. And it definitely doesn't mean I should feel guilty for doing what works for us. Things may be crazy, busy and messy but we're having fun. At the end of the day, that's really all that matters.

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  1. Ah - flash back about 18 years ago and I had this same Come To Jesus moment with my own mom :-) To her credit, she learned and has only made positive remarks since. As you put it - she thought "advice!" and I felt "Criticism!" I wrote up a sort of Day in The Life synopsis for her and that seemed to give her an "ah hah!" moment of understanding. Our life styles are just SO different between the generations. Yes, even yours which I know are much closer together since your mom is much younger than mine and you are younger than me.

    You are wise to re-prioritize your life to match the day to day needs of what you guys do and what is important. If she hasn't already, I'm sure your mom will get it.

    1. I think the social media stuff is hard for her, too. She doesn't see that I'm working during the day. So, I may be physically at home, but it's different than being an 'at home mom.'

  2. I'm trying to "let go" some of the same issues myself. I did finally cave and hire a cleaning lady twice a month. With a newborn and a toddler I just don't have time for my crazy cleaning!


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