Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My work here is done

It has been brought to my attention that my standards are too high. My desires are unreasonable and my needs border on obsessive. I may have to be institutionalized.

Yesterday morning when I woke my son at 4:30 a.m. so he could polish our silver, mow the lawn, and use cleanser to scrub the rings left by the potted plants on the tile of our grand entry before school he expressed to me that my expectations are overwhelming him. He is being crushed by the weight of never having a spare moment and he feels that I am never satisfied.

Ooops! What I meant to say was that yesterday morning when I asked my son if he had done his chores (take out the garbage and sweep the kitchen floor) he let me know that it is ridicules the way I am constantly hounding everyone about cleaning. He tells me other people don’t live like this, he’s been at their houses and he’s seen how it works in the world outside of our little compound.

As soon as I was able to speak again (for I was overcome by the horrendous suggestion that other people do not take out their garbage) I gave him the old “I made you and I make the rules” speech stopping just short of the “I walked to school uphill, both ways, barefoot” speech.

The logical side of my mind knows that it is normal for teenagers to scowl at their parents, and that it would be unusual if he cared about the garbage situation, and of course he thinks I’m insane, I have spent the last 16 year convincing him of just that. But there is another side of me (just call me Sybil) that is hurt when he looks at me with pity in his eyes. The look that says- “I feel sorry for you and your little life, and I will NEVER be like you because it is just too pathetic.”

Some of our other children whine, procrastinate, or use the “It’s not fair!” argument. While none of those are fun, they are expected. Of course no one WANTS to do chores, and as for fair, better sooner than later they figure out that life is not fair. I can take all of that. I barely even flinch anymore when I find a weeks worth of socks under the bed. My endurance to whining is unmatched.

But the pity gets to me.

If I were inclined to psycho-analyze myself (who am I kidding, of course I’m inclined, who knows me better?) I would have to conclude that the reason it bothers me is that I pitied my mother. I knew her life was sad and I vowed to never live like she did. It’s a promise I‘ve worked hard to keep.

Is there anyone out there who was satisfied with their parents? Who really wanted to be just like their parents? Is it because we are comparing our parents to everyone else’s parents when really no one’s parents are perfect? {Well except Jack and Kelly Osborne, those kids have some AWESOME parents!} Or maybe he’s right. Maybe I am pitiful, I mean, does the garbage REALLY need to go out EVERY day?


blah blah blah said...

Everyday, that is asking alot. I mean they probably have to take it all of what 10 feet?

What about HT, she likes her parents doesn't she, or MT? I think both of them have pretty cool parents,but then again I am looking at it from the outside in.

I can't offer much advice, I've never raised a teenager and when I was a teenager I thought my parents were much more than pitiful. I wouldn't worry too much, you are a good parent, our parents really weren't.


blah blah blah said...

Have you tried: "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!"

I'm not sure if mom ever really said that, but I have the feeling she did.

Maybe you could all stop doing house work for a couple of weeks and see how they like living in those conditions. Oh, never mind, teenagers don't mind that. I think they may actually perfer it.