Monday, May 14, 2007

In the Name of Love

Have you ever stepped back from a situation in your own life and been shocked at what you saw? Unfortunately, I just had this experience. You see, somehow I got into a rut with my teenage daughter. The bulk of my communication with her had become me barking orders at her - clean your room, shovel the cat litter, do your homework, etc. But then this weird thing started happening. Our connection got lost in the mostly one-way conversations. She became cool, even aloof toward me and stopped doing all the sweet things she normally does, like hold my hand when we're walking somewhere together and lean on my shoulder when we sit on the couch.
The lack of warmth was what made me stop and take notice that something had changed. And thank goodness I did notice and was able to ascertain the problem. The day I changed my behavior, she changed hers. We never discussed it, I didn't want her self-conscious about it. But it drove home the importance of maintaining the connection.
As I've mentioned here before, I'm a clean freak and I don't do well with messy kids rooms. And unfortunately both my kids seem to love living in disarray. So, I'm going to work on ignoring the mess in their part of the house. Nothing I do will turn them into neat nicks. But I can do plenty to hasten their departure. In the big picture, they're really good kids. They get good grades, don't mess with drugs and still seem to enjoy our company. I'm vowing to make a concerted effort to ignore some things so I can keep my relationship with them strong. It's like an internal compromise I know will be worth it.
What do you think? Are you any good at these types of compromises?


julia said...

Yes, but mine's the opposite way. I live with my mom and grandmother. My husband, too, but he gets grouped in with me. Three women have managed to blend their living styles, with my mom outnumbered by the messies.

My gram is a pack rat, so is my husband. I'm definitely not a neat freak. My mom loves to throw stuff out! Gram's mess-style is to spread stuff over every cleared-off surface. Mom sweeps it all bare.

I've shown Mom over the years that Gram needs her clutter the way Mom needs her empty space. So they agree to have certain areas that gram can pile up to her heart's content. Mom can turf stuff as long as it's her stuff.

As for me down in our apartment, my husband is a living example that old dogs can learn new tricks - it only takes 15 years of slow and steady acquiring of new habits. Mom also has learned to be more accepting and patient, and I've learned to set aside time to accommodate the spasmodic whims of my overenthusiastic mother - because some things can't wait - like making sure she doesn't re-injure her neck doing heavy gardening work, or putting up curtain rods, or lifting furniture, or...

Dara Edmondson said...

That's great that you can all live together and embrace one another's individual styles.

Isabella Snow said...

My mother was like that. Still hate her for that. Good you changed! You can have your home perfect and neat when they move out - which will come faster than you realize!

Tempest Knight said...

Mom was/is like that but I learned to ignore her. That doesn't stop me from hugging her, or showing her how much I love her. But when she starts nagging about little things like "Why are you wearing those jeans?" or something like that I just smile and don't pay attention.

Kelley said...

Thats great that your realized. I do the same thing at times and my daughter is younger. I realize I'm grumpy, tired, annoyed and I take it out on her because its just the two of us all day long. Then I feel bad and need to set back and realize what I'm doing. Its hard but compromising is always worth it! I have to do it with my hubby too.