I love my Mom. I know she has made mistakes about things, but I also know she has always had the best of intentions. That took me about 50 years to figure out. But….my Mom can also drive me crazy. Because even though she has known me my entire life, she still does not understand me. Or chooses not to understand me- I’m really not sure which……
She pet sat for us last month when we were on vacation. She loves to go to the theater, we live in the city. We needed someone to take care of the girls. This was a win/win situation. And I really do appreciate the help. Truly.
My Mom’s hobby is shopping. Seriously. Shopping. She DVR’s shows on the shopping channels. Mom only uses the internet is to look for things to buy. The only reason she wishes she didn’t sell her big suburban house is because it had lots of rooms to store the things she purchases. She literally has gadgets for everything. And multiples of everything. When I go to her condo, I want to bang my head against the kitchen cabinets- because she has so much stuff, it is impossible to find what you actually need. (This problem also causes her to rebuy things that are already in the house….it’s a vicious cycle)
Now, if you read yesterday- you know I am a serious purger of goods- I hate clutter. I hate things that take up space. I am clearly function over form.
So what happens when a person who values objects stays at the home of her daughter who hates things? Well- Mom buys things that she thinks will be helpful. And daughter doesn’t want them, but feels a little bad, because she knows her Mom is trying to be helpful. But maybe no one actually needs to be helped……
Case in point- the laundry basket. I have a rattan hamper- it is just attractive enough to sit in my bedroom and not make my eyes sore, it is just large enough to hold clothes for a few days, small enough to fit in my bedroom, and light enough to carry down to laundry room. My Mother bought me a different laundry bag- because mine didn’t make sense to her. Hers was “better”. For ten minutes she extolled the virtues of her laundry system over mine. She exclaimed “Isn’t this great?” to which I answered, “Not really. If I wanted that I would have bought that.” She made a hmpf sound. I felt a little guilty- after all, she just pet sat for me- she didn’t have to do that. But I’m 53 years old- I can figure out my own laundry solutions.
I also know, that in the end, it is about control. My Mom still wants to control everything I do. I get that- to a point. I am a control freak (I know- you guys are shocked to hear this) I like things to be my way- because I know everything, and I’m always right…… (My Husband has actually said to my Daughter- just listen to Mom- she’s always right)
No one can control everything. There is a point when you have to let your kids make their own decisions- you can guide them- but the final choice is theirs. Kids have to learn how to make choices- list out pros and cons, figure out the worst case scenario…..They also need to learn to adapt if something isn’t working, know when something is seriously wrong and needs to be scrapped- learn how to take control of their own lives. This only comes by trial and error. A parents job is to help them pick up the pieces if something fails- to support them emotionally if the choice they made was wrong. If my laundry storage system goes awry, I should be able to call my Mom and cry, without her saying “I told you so”.
So what’s the point?
- Don’t buy your kids things just because you think they need it or will make their lives better- ask them first, They’re allowed an opinion.
- Don’t feel guilty about saying “No” to a parent- it’s not healthy to say “Yes” to anything you don’t want to do
- Let your kids lead their own lives. They’ll probably be fine.