My mom was a superhero (and I was an ungrateful little prick)

9 Jun

I was raised in immaculate surroundings.  Spotless floors, dustless fans, sparkling windows… even the inside of the damn refrigerator sparkled.  Everything had its place.  Everything was wonderfully organized.  Everything was perfect- always.  And the older I get, the less I understand how my mother did it.  Seriously- it blows my mind.

My parents had “traditional roles” until I was in high school, then my mom went back to work.  My dad took care of the yard, the cars, repairs around the house, etc; and my mom handled the house and the kids.  Both roles were maintained so flawlessly that it looked to be the work of magic.  And even when she went back to work, the housework didn’t falter an inch.  Not one fucking speck of dirt was to be found.  And keep in mind, my folks were raising 2 boys and a girl who was messier than the 2 boys put together.  I pig-penned all over my mother’s beautifully kept house- but you’d never know it to look at it.  But not only did she keep things so clean that you could easily eat out of the toilet bowl without worry, but she was on point when it came to holiday cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, all other social pleasantries, AND making sure that  we kids had our after-school time appropriately filled with sports, music lessons, scouts, and any other fly-by-night interests that we were currently embracing.  3 solid healthy meals a day, a spotless house even with 3 kids dead set on messing it up, every social grace in place, running 3 little arguing brats all around town to soccer, piano, dance and ice skating, and while working.  Again, I have no idea how she did it.

Kids have a tendency to be self-absorbed assholes.  It’s part of their job requirement.  Growing up, I never even noticed how perfect everything was.  But now that I’m an adult with my lone child and house that’s much smaller than my parents- I am slapped in the face by just how much my folks were able to accomplish in a day… and it’s making me wonder if my parents were unnatural superheroes, if the times have changed so much that my generation of parents are just much less organized/efficient, or if there are truly less hours in the day.  Or maybe I’m just a totally crappy parent.

I gave up on “social pleasantries” when Sully was 2.  Thank you cards, birthday cards, holiday cards, etc… I just stopped trying to keep up.  Hell- the  invitation to me and Brad’s wedding was sent out via email if that gives you some idea of just how far removed I am from my mother’s wonderful social graces.  My house is always clean- but I can’t really get on top of it.  I vacuum twice a week, do dishes every night,  scrub the bathrooms every weekend, everyone in my house does their own laundry, I try to enforce everyone picking up after themselves- but at the end of the day I want to lay on my floor and scream at the top of my lungs because there’s still clutter and dust and kid-stuff and Brad-stuff EVERYWHERE!!!!!   Running from work to Sully’s school to the grocery store to Sully’s karate to home for homework to making dinner to doing more work from home and trying to get to bed before 2am leads me to ulcers and sleepwalking.  How did my parents do it with 3 kids?!  And so effortlessly?!?!  It truly blows my mind.

Tonight I channeled my mother.  I borrowed a crazy high-tech rug cleaner from a neighbor and tackled our area rugs.  I scrubbed out the refrigerator, and am moving onto my office (which looks like a tornado hit it).  There’s such a wonderful calm that I feel when I visit my parents house- and I want some of that in my house.  I know that the majority of that calm comes from the fact that my parent’s house will forever be “home”… but it also comes from the fact that when I’m there, I’m not surrounded with chaos.  The beautiful organized calm that my parents house radiates does wonders for my OCD, and I can actually relax when I’m there.

Is it pathetic for a 34-year-old married mother to want to move back home and live with her parents?  It probably is.  Good thing I abandoned my shame years ago.

Thanks, Mom.


13 Responses to “My mom was a superhero (and I was an ungrateful little prick)”

  1. jamie June 10, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    i was raised in a very similar house [and i am a sloppy, dirty, messy, unorganized person who is always stressed because i am so USED to the perfectly clean organized home i grew up in that i am never fully comfortable in my natural disarrayed state and still can’t get used to MY OWN cluttered ways]. my mom doesn’t need a lot of sleep, and would stay up all night making art, after a full day of cleaning, sewing [she made our clothes, bedspreads, curtains, dolls, re-upholstered the furniture…], cooking, chauffering, card-sending, present wrapping, baking, laundry, remembering appointments, bill paying, etc. then she started going back to school [initially graphics programs], which was off and on from when i was in grade school until i dropped out of college the first time and she went back to finish for real, at KU in painting.

    i have no idea how she did it.

    my dad had to learn how to help with chores when she finally started at KU, and as kids, me and my sister did minimal housework and griped and groaned the whole time.

    i do know that over the years, she has re-prioritized, and doesn’t do the cards, or clean every single day [and sometimes hires someone to come in and clean] and uses the dry cleaners for my dad’s shirts and ironing [oh god! she used to iron stuff!] and has decided a lot of stuff isn’t important to keep up, and so does not. she still doesn’t sleep, and is in her studio everyday, and reading and researching and errands and helping her aging parents and spending time with my dad, so just as busy, but with different things.

    i still don’t know how she gets it all done, as she amazes me with what she accomplishes daily.

    well, i do know she is way more organized and focused than me. for me to get from point A to B, i have to stop at C, G J, K Z, 56, %, F and sometimes loop around again.

    i am a colossal failure compared to what my mom did and does accomplish. i can’t even imagine how inept i would be if i had a child to look after.

    i also really want my mom to come clean and organize my home for me.

    • Kristen Ferrell June 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

      Your mom is a hard worker and a tough cookie. I think it does boil down to very efficient organizational skills. Both my parents are CRAZY organized and efficient- which is probably why they are able to tackle life with what appears to be very little effort.
      I’m organized- but still have much room for improvement.

      But DO NOT consider yourself a colossal failure!! I don’t want you to talk about yourself that way. Because you’re awesome!! I think our moms are just super-magical. 🙂

  2. mitzibel June 10, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    I now understand why people used to have front parlors where the family was NOT allowed except when company came. I suspect that when they were able to catch an odd moment when nobody was looking, moms used to go into them and just *sit*. In the clean and the quiet and the utter lack of clutter and chaos, just for a minute or two. I want my own front parlor, dammit!

    • Kristen Ferrell June 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

      Holy shit… I want a front parlor! My office used to be my ‘safety zone’ where I could escape to and not see the chores that awaited me outside it’s doors. But it’s currently the messiest room in the house, so that tactic has failed. My parent’s house’s front rooms (a dining room and a front parlor) are always PERFECT! I wonder if my mom ever goes in there to just sit… except the rest of the house is also perfect, so I guess she wouldn’t need to.

  3. christine June 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    I grew up in a realy clean house, but we were expected to help out with everything since both my parents worked. I’m so glad i’m now a clean freak/control freak, People always compliment how clean my living area is (usually I live in an apartment with people that are pretty messy)

    I hate bringing people over if my place isnt clean, its embarrassing! good for you for being on top of it all! I feel like I cant relax unless I have everything cleaned.

    • Kristen Ferrell June 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

      Sully is expected to help out with the housework. Partially because kids need to know how to care for themselves and their surroundings, but also partly because I just can’t handle doing it all on my own. Hopefully he’ll become a little neat freak when he’s older… but from the state he prefers his room to be in, I doubt it. Ha!!

  4. LRA June 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    LOL! There is no way you’re a crappy parent! Besides, a messy desk is a sign of a creative mind!!!! (and so is OCD, btw)


    • Kristen Ferrell June 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

      I’m going to cling to the fact that messiness and my OCD are just byproducts of my creativity and not my inadequacy. Thank you!!

  5. savannahshutup June 11, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Yeah, I’ve already laid it out that I’m a momma’s girl. I never want to move out, and with college around the corner, the smell of Ramen Noodles and dorm rooms is making my weak stomach. She makes me homemade food, doesn’t judge my living habits and pays ALL OF THE BILLS.
    I never want to leave. HAHAH.

    • Kristen Ferrell June 11, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

      When I graduated from high school, I bawled like a baby. Not because I would miss my high school friends, or because of any sentimental bullshit… but because I knew that I would be leaving the safety and security of my parent’s house. It meant having to juggle all the soul killing things my parents juggled… and I KNEW that I wouldn’t be able to do it with the same grace as my parents. And I haven’t mastered it yet. But I guess there’s still time… right?!?!

  6. Brandi June 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    It’s not a thing. You do just as much. You just have different priorities.

    • Kristen Ferrell June 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

      It just seems that my mom was able to do EVERYTHING! I want to be able to do EVERYTHING. And I get grumpy when I don’t get what I want.

  7. Celene June 12, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    HAHA. I have the same parents. My dad works on building things all the time, my mom has the house SPOTLESS. I think it’s rubbing off on me…. D= I read something bout murderers and psychos always needing cleanliness too, so I figured, eh, I can deal with myself being crazy. Always have, right? Anyway, the house is always calm and feels like the kind of feeling you get when you’re in deep meditation mode. I’m more than positive I’m going to miss that when I move away.

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