Out of Sync and The Older Generation

>> Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My mom is visiting. She's been here sinc mid-October. Now, I must preface this whole post with the fact that I love my mom and I love when she visits. It's nice having an extra pair of hands to help with the girls and I love that she gets to spend some time with them. But.....my mom and I clash.

Since she's been here, my schedule and routine is all out of whack. I have my routine. I like things in order. I don't like change - even for a short period of time. My mom is staying on the pull-out couch in our family room -- which is the heart of our home. When she's not here, I get up in the morning, have my coffee and have my early morning "me" time -- usually a prayer then computer time. I've had to relocate my laptop to my bedroom, so my morning "me" time has now been replaced with morning sleepy time. I've been lazy.....why get out of a nice warm bed? So my computer and devotion time has suffered....which sometimes isn't bad. But I haven't been in touch with friends, I haven't been devoting time to my eBay store (no new listings = no sales = no money for Christmas), and I haven't been blogging.

But this week, I've forced myself to adapt my routine. Hey - I'm a military wife -- overcome and adapt is our motto! The sickies are gone, I've been feeling better, and I was actually feeling very anxious about being so out of sync. So I pulled out my calendar and to-do list and got to work. So -- here I am.

Part of my getting back into sync included doing some laundry and cleaning up my kitchen and living room which had been sorely neglected thanks to illness (mine & the girls') and visiting parents. I should have known that my version of cleaning versus my mother's version of cleaning is gigantically different.

My mother comes from a generation where you clean & do laundry every day. Everything is in it's place and your house should maintain a museum-like quality. Her generation vacuumed every day and hand-picked lint off the carpet. I'm lucky I vacuum once a week (maybe twice if the dogs are shedding) and the only lint I'm handpicking is the stuff that Nudgie puts in her mouth. Her generation washed walls.....I paint over them or hang more of Nani's artwork. Her generation made sure our toys were put back into their proper places.......I leave them go for a day or two, kicking aside a path through the house.

Leaving laundry in the basket irritates my mom. I can leave the laundry so I can sit on the floor and color with my daughters. My mom will ask - can I fold that for you? I think it's her subtle way of saying - you know, your house is a mess, let me help you clean it up. And I'll tell her no -- I didn't ask you to fly thousands of miles so that you can fold my laundry....play with your granddaughters. Which is my subtle way of saying - leave me alone, I'll have plenty of time to clean when they are in school full-time.

Now, I will admit that there are times when I am a complete slob -- usually when My Marine is out of town. I'll let things go for days on end because I just don't want to be bothered. But I eventually get with it and put my house back in order. But I'm not going to devote hours on end to cleaning and scrubbing and folding when I could be devoting those same hours to my girls.

Again - I love my mom. She raised us with what she knew. But I can't recall a time when laundry would sit so she would color with me or play a game. I can't recall a time when the vacuum would sit so we could take a walk or go to the playground. During one visit, I was doing a craft with Nani and my mom made the comment that she never did that stuff with me & my brother. I agreed - but in her defense, she didn't have a lot of the resources that we as moms have today. Again - she raised us with what she knew.

I just wish she knew to relax and know that it's ok to let the house go -- for just a little while......

And I guess that I could learn too that it's ok to put a little extra effort into your home.....


Too Many Hats November 4, 2009 at 10:11 AM  

I am so blessed to live close to both mine and hubby's families. This means no overnight or long visits for the most part. It would be hard for me to adapt to someone sleeping on my couch.

Susan November 4, 2009 at 7:10 PM  

My mom needs to stop and smell the roses. Still does everything, every week like clockwork.
I love her, but pull my hair out when she visits.

Helene November 4, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

My mom has always had housekeepers to clean the homes we lived in. But she still never spent any extra time with us.

Even now, she doesn't really come over but when she does, she makes the same kinds of comments. And she says, "You should just hire someone to clean for you", as if everyone has extra money laying around to pay a housekeeper?

I hope your visit with your mom goes well...if she could only see things through your eyes, she may understand you better.

Andrea November 5, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

I just want to say you inspire me! One of the reasons I was drawn to your blog was your description of the your home and it being in the toy box years. Over the last few weeks I have reminded myself that it's the "toy box years". There is nothing is wrong with toys, books, and homework scattered across the living room. It means I am an involved mother that wants to be involved with my kids.
My sister had the same sort of thing happen to her when our mom visited a few years ago. Mom was watching my sister help her son with his homework one evening. My sister had said, "Mom, I don't remember you sitting down and helping me with my homework". My mom's reply was, "I didn't". It was a different time, and I think I'll enjoy the time while my kitchen counter is busy (and messy) with homework and kids, because like you've said, "I couldn't be happier, I'm living in the Toy Box Years!"

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