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?


More on this at Raising Homemakers today!

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4 impressions

  1. Goodness, reading this was like getting a refreshing slap in the face! I am so guilty of doing this, and allowing resentment to build up over things that shouldn't be that big of a deal. Thanks so much for this, Bailey!

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  2. Ouch. I needed to hear that. I'll be honest with you though...the truth hurt. It hit me in the stomach and tears came to my eyes so fast my whole face hurt...and I'm not kidding. I have some major work to do, to restore my relationship with my mother. Thank you.

    I think what I was really trying to ask you was "Is it wrong to learn from our mother's (or for that fact, our father's)faults?
    When I left that comment, asking you what your thoughts were, the answer I was secretly hoping for was affirmation that it was OK to see the faults I see, and learn from them. I wanted to use you to be a second party, telling me what I was doing was just fine.

    God has made our paths meet in a strange way. Know that you have changed someones life.
    You are special. I praise God for making you that way.

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  3. Anon -- *HUGS* I think it's completely fine to see that our parents make mistakes and to learn from them. Putting parents on a pedestal takes away responsibility from us to evaluate all things according to a higher standard. It can cause just as much problems as constant inner criticism -- so there's definitely a balance.

    If you need someone to talk to, don't hesitate to email me (my email address is in the "contact" button at the very bottom of my blog). Sometimes things are deeper than just "I see faults in my parents." It's hard restoring relationships. I'll be praying for you, dear friend!!

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  4. Wow, your mom sounds like me! Unfortunately, I struggle with the same attitudes. It's especially hard because at work I run an entire household five days a week(I'm a nanny) and then I come home and my mom tells me how and when to clean the house. It's like sandpaper. I think someone over at Raising Homemakers was right, the key paragraph in here was, "In this truth of growing up is a pride lie—the one that turns detergent brands and chore lists into a huge rift between mother and daughter. It’s the lie that the real issue is “she’s not doing it right” instead of “I’m refusing to show grace.” It’s the lie that a mother is deserving of criticism and disrespect because she’s imperfect." Ahem. Guilty as charged. Thanks for the reminder to show grace as I want to be shown it.

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