From my 2009 Journal. I’m still learning what is appropriate and what isn’t in relationship with a newly-adult child under our roof. Is it reasonable to expect our daughter to pick up after herself in family living areas? To help with the dishes? With cooking? With cleaning the house? And if she chooses not to, when is it permissible to speak to her about it? I realize communication at this point can be tricky. My expectations and desires for a neat and tidy house must be subservient to maintaining relationship. Therefore, I am far more tolerant of mess than I would be if I were still trying to train her.
Living in a dorm situation she discovered firsthand what it feels like to have a roommate who never assists in the kitchen. So when she came home from college, I was delighted to hear of her intentions to help out more in the kitchen. But if she’s too tired to help out for a couple days, why do I hold her to her good intentions? Why do I feel resentful when I return home to find breakfast dishes still in the sink? So she slept late that day, worked the entire day, and ran out of energy before the work was done after supper . . . I do not fault her, but I do have to figure out why I feel what I do and what is an appropriate response.
VISUAL: As a young mom, I had three girls in a wagon, and I was pulling with all my strength, trying to get them to follow me. If I tried to get them out of the wagon to assist or to walk on their own, they whined and cried “We’re too tired!” and then they pushed and shoved and fought each other. What am I doing wrong?
How did a friend of mine get her children out of the wagon and behind the thing or in front to help? I don’t know. I just know that I have to quit pulling. It’s time I drop the wagon handle and walk away. There’s work to be done. The trick now is not to become resentful or nagging or whining myself.
The trouble is when people in the wagon get comfortable there, they begin to expect you to bring their food to them and clean the playpen for them. But now they’re old enough to clean their own area . . . and they don’t, and I trip over the toys and have to clean around them. It’s a perpetual issue with a husband too (sorry Scott). Relationships are messy!
I feel so many times like a Martha. Lord have mercy, and God forgive me!
So . . . I can “whistle while I work.” Praise God that I have two arms and two hands. Praise Him that I’m not in a wheelchair and unable to stand at the sink. Change my attitude and enjoy the brief time I have with my daughter. What’s a little mess matter when I can have her company. She’ll soon be gone and I’ll miss her.
Since I am childless, I can only look at it from a standpoint of relationships. Being a mom would include a dynamic I could never relate to nor would I try. But, people are people and they do become their own personalities and shape their own values. It is a value to “want” to help or be of encouragement or whatever the “need” is that is starring you in the face. To not see it can be a result of many things. They don’t see it, or they don’t care enough to do something about it. It’s a fault I have in many ways because I had a grandparent that would rather do it than show me how, or have a confrontation because I would rather do something else. My mother, once we were just us, was a work-a-holic and by this time I was also working and neither of us wanted to do house work. She would get fed up and order me to run the vacuum and I would, but I hated it. She cooked and I was to do the dishes (before dishwashers were standard kitchen appliances) I hated that! Who doesn’t, but I think I just didn’t have within me to reach out and help her. I do not admit this with any kind of pride, and I wish I had it to do over again.
If anyone was to visit my house now, it reflects a lot of my “love” of housework. I do it when it when company is coming, so you get into gear and try to make it look presentable. If there is a flat surface, it has something on it. My goal for myself is to have a cleared counter in the kitchen, and the office with NOTHING on any flat surface that doesn’t have a purpose.
I’ll do that when I feel better.
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