I did it my way


The day after Thanksgiving was reserved for putting away fall decorations and putting up all of my Christmas decorations and the tree. I had promised my granddaughter that she could help me and she was excited. My girls were laughing at me because I am so meticulous about everything is done and taking videos of me singing Christmas carols. They were cracking jokes about how mom has to the ornaments just right on the tree. I blogged about my tree perfectionism in Gone are the Matching Bows, where I told the story of how my mother in law encouraged me to let the tree be a kids tree instead of my own beautiful, flawless creation. Since my girls are grown, I have reverted back to decorating “my way”, so I assumed having a five year old help might be a little crazy. However, Ayda is a lot like her Nana and she handled everything so carefully. She packed away the fall decorations one by one, wrapping them carefully in tissue paper. Nana was very impressed!

This all caused me to reflect upon one of my failures as a mother. Yes, I had failures; lots of them, although it wasn’t for lack of trying to be the best one ever. I was always such a stickler for perfection in all of the household tasks, that I never could accept how other people did the job. It’s not that I think I am perfect, or even that I did things perfectly; it was that it had to be MY way. There was only one way in my mind to load that dishwasher, fold the clothes, clean the bedroom, or organize underneath the bathroom cabinet. So, instead of saying, “I don’t like the way you do things”, I would just do them myself.

I remember when the girls were young and they would clean their rooms. I remember being careful to tell them thank you and praise them for a job well done. However, I didn’t realize that they took notice when I went behind them rearranging and re-doing. I couldn’t help it, but they probably felt like it wasn’t good enough. When they got older and I would try to have them do their own laundry, it went much the same way. If they didn’t switch from washer to dryer right away, I just did it, because I didn’t have the patience to wait. When they folded and put away, I would cringe to open a drawer and see all the mismatched socks and wrinkled shirts. I spent way too much time arranging their drawers and sincerely thinking I was doing them a great service. I have now realized that they really didn’t care; for them, it was fine just the way it was. I know this because I have been to their homes and they didn’t learn from our drawer cleaning events; they look the same way they did in high school.

When I try to figure out why I was the way I was, I remember my mother behaving very similarly. She was a stay at home mom most of our lives and she took great pride in her home. She was kind about it and I always felt nothing but love, but I got the sense that she would just rather do some things herself.

You don’t get much help from the kids or the husband if you don’t take what you can get and be thankful for it. And it isn’t helping you anyway, if you are constantly re-doing it. I also ended up with spoiled children and a spoiled rotten husband. I’m not complaining because I’m to blame, but I feel like it was a dis-service to my girls. They both know how to cook and clean, but they hate the cleaning part and I wonder if that is because I made it such a big issue and did so much myself instead of making them help.

I guess what I am trying to say is let them help, or MAKE them help and be happy with what you get. If you have daughters, their future husband will thank you and if you have sons, don’t you want their future wife to appreciate the fact that he does dishes? My husband doesn’t do any household duties; never has and probably never will. I almost passed out the other night when he offered to dry and put away the dishes. The dishes were almost done but he did try. After he dried a couple of things, he got distracted by something on t.v. so I grabbed the towel and finished myself….see there I go again.

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