Does Mother Know Best?2:00 AM
It happens sometimes every other day, mainly every day and mostly every hour or so where I’m sitting in the living room amid piles of books, blankets and baby dolls. Dust lines the shelves, dog hair flies everywhere, a boy has left a mud footprint by the door. Dusk is rolling in but the lights are still off. I’m sitting and I’m reading, chilling after doing blows with consumer math. And my mother enters, abhorred by the toys, the noise, the mess, the stress. Without fail, she asks me how I can live in such squalor. I look up surprised.
My motto is “Why do today what one can put off for tomorrow?” As long as everything is functional, there are no guests over and everybody’s having fun, cleaning the living room can wait till Saturday or at least when the babes ship off to bed. No point in multiple ten second tidies. To me, the house and the noise level doesn’t matter as much as romping with the kids; chores are on the bottom when it comes to spending precious time.
But my mother is very organized, logical and neat. She has chore lists hanging from a ribbon that all the homeschool mothers flock to first thing. She systematically plans meals. She disciplines herself to get up early and puts duty before pleasure. It bothers her greatly when things are amiss. She stresses getting the house in order so that we can all enjoy each other as a family afterward.
I resented this. I thought she purposefully tortured my existence by expecting around-the-clock clean-up. I grumbled all the time about how I was so not going to do this OCD thing when I grew up.
Surprise, surprise, a realization hit me on the head mid-grumble. Did my mother have all the proper techniques and approaches down? No. Did she have to?