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September 09, 2008


Mrs. Higrens

Are you in my head? Because, seriously, I'm so there too. And I don't even have kids to factor into the equation (yet).

Goddess Babe

Wow. Yeah. Not exactly the same modeling, but pretty much same result!

(There's more comment in there, just not flowing coherently enough at the moment.)


Would he be more comfortable lounging in bed reading the paper? Or on the porch?

I really don't like cleaning at all. And if I'm cleaning, people either better be helping me, doing their own work or out of sight lounging. This is mostly true for the able bodied boys/men in the house. It's OK if the 5 year old is playing. I'm particlarly prickly about being bossed around about cleaning - I'll only do it happily on my own terms.


I am so with you on this. Learned behaviors and all. I try to do better ... some days are better than others. I really miss having a cleaning service! What gets me most is the clutter, though. I have no idea how to be organized.
My son is at an age where he really likes to help with everything, including cleaning ... does this end? I hope not!


@Cathy, I'm also prickly about being bossed about cleaning and then I turn around and insist everyone get to work because I'm working. Um, bossy, huh? OY! Tra-la-la, let me just pass all my issues down and see if the next generation can filter them out. D'OH! (sigh)

The out of sight thing might just help, but ... kids are frequently involved, and other locations don't function so well with company. Hmm. But that's still a good idea for possible solutions. I don't think I mind working without anyone around.

Granted, just recognizing that it is the NEWSPAPER READING that lights that ancient fuse in me may help me get past it. Okay, newspaper and coffee. Those were the cues that dad was off-limits and was not to be spoken to or interacted with. ALL we were allowed to do if there was coffee and newspaper (or beer and newspaper or scotch and newspaper) was rub his feet or shoulders. Which we did, because it was something that got good results. At the time, it just felt nice, but looking back it doesn't feel so good - "okay, I don't have to work, you have to work, and you work doing things that make ME feel better and do nothing much for you." Yeah.

Granted, my mom does encourage the massages for her, too (shoulders, hands, head, feet - she actually paid to get a massage therapist to come in and teach them how to give a massage). But she *pays* for them (so the kids get a tangible benefit as well, and it isn't just about her - it ends up being a chore option they can choose for extra pay, and she also talks about the benefits mutually in the relationship, which is another fine and true point.) It just didn't happen with my dad - it was a one-way street...

Interestingly, Mr G likes to rub my feet when he's falling asleep and I'm in there with the nest of kids, and I always thought he was doing it because he was feeling sorry for me or just generous or was reflecting the massage stuff he does wtih Baba or something. Wrong. Last night he noted to me in the midst of another conversation that he rubs my feet because HE finds it comforting, and he hopes I don't mind, and did I notice that his hands seem to be getting stronger? I did notice, by the way. And I don't mind!).


@laurapy, unfortunately, the helping mommy phase does end.

Decluttering is a life-long task. My mom at least said that she didn't start succeeding until she was in her 40's *AND* the youngest child was a pre-teen. She gave me a (mostly) free pass on the clutter with kids under 3 - though she wishes she could have taught how to do it sooner. Her house went from cluttered to orderly as I went through highschool, and I still have no idea how she did it in detail.

We're always working on the organized thing, too. More organized, less cluttered is a goal for us. Unfortunately hard to work on that one with the 'tralala, me memememe, moi moi moi' model going.

Oh, and just to note - my dad also became a round-the-clock dad with his next set of kids - he encountered attachment parenting (very early theory stuff, way before Sears books) and it clicked and he was a night-time, any-time dad. Too late for me. Dang.


I've got that hurry up and work while I'm working thing happening as well. Been trying to reform myself which is never easy.


I distinctly remember my dad using the line "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean." From the man who never really cleaned the house unless it was part of one of his projects. I just recently had a big discussion with a coworker about how I don't like to do certain "messy" things unless they are part of a "project." Amazing the things we pick up.

Good luck trying to model different behavior. I'm working on not freaking out about clutter build up and not fuming silently when I'm doing the dishes and he is just watching TV. I have to remember that hubby watches the very active child for two straight hours until I get home, then he cooks and after that, he does deserve a break, just like I need one and he never begrudges me. This stuff is hard.

Maria Wood

Arck! I haven't yet figured out where it comes from but your talk about doing "something that feels good for me, but that doesn't fit the overall picture" really resonates. A weird feeling of "I *deserve* to" whatever… check email, read a book (or a blog!), a sense that these are the real essence of my life rather than working on keeping the household functioning, or connecting with (gasp!) another human being – my child!

Whoa, hmm, you don't suppose that's the feeling I got from my MOM do you?? All those hours she stood typing at the kitchen counter? Yikes. Ok, better work on some of those patterns cause that did not make me feel good as a kid, and I know it doesn't make P feel good when I do my analogous 21st century stuff.

Thanks Hedra.

Ok, I said that sarcastically, but I really mean it for real.


It's so weird and scary when we start to see our parents in us. For me, it has resulted in an opposite feeling where I don't mind working while my husband doesn't, but feel horribly guilty not working while he does.

I adore my dad, but for lack of a better term, he was pretty lazy when I was growing up. He wanted to be done when he was no longer at work, and it was always a struggle for my mom to get him to do even the chores he'd agreed were his. My mother, on the other hand, was a hard worker and over the years I learned just how much she valued that aspect of herself, and how much she hates my dad's unwillingness to help - it is still their biggest, on-going conflict.

I was always so determined to not have a similar one with whomever I chose to marry, and thought I myself was a hard worker, and then I lucked into (or was drawn to?) a husband who's even worse (better?). He can't sit still for more than a few hours, and whether its for work or play, he just likes to be *doing.* And suddenly, I find that what I formerly thought was a good work ethic on my part is suddenly not enough - I too feel I "deserve" to come home and collapse on the couch to watch tv for a while, or read a book instead of getting the dishes done or picking up clutter. And then he'll come home after working longer hours (and more jobs) than I do and jump into the chores I've been neglecting. It was so humbling to realize I'm more like my father than I ever wanted to be (and for him and me I think it's more about fear of failure than sheer "laziness," but that's a post for my own blog :P), and yet so hard not to resent that my husband just won't *relax* so that I don't "have to" feel guilty for not always jumping to get the work done right away. I'll be very interested in seeing how this plays out once we have kids, because I hope to be a part-time work-from home parent - I think the guilt will only increase because then I won't even be bringing in a steady paycheck.

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