Mother’s Day would have been a perfect day if it wasn’t for the argument…no, fight I had with my daughter just before we left for brunch. I had asked her to wrap my mother and mother-in-law’s gift while I was at church because I would be pressed for time when I returned.
When I got home the gifts were still sitting there, unwrapped. Apparently, she couldn’t find the scissors. I spoke harshly to my daughter as I started to wrap the gifts (using a jack knife to cut the paper, because I also couldn’t find the scissors) only to realize that I didn’t have enough wrapping paper. That’s when I lost it. Because now, not only would we be late, but I would be handing my mother-in-law a partially wrapped gift. What a failure…
Afterwards, as I apologized to my daughter, yet again, I thought about my reaction…or I should say my over-reaction. And I realized that this event struck at the core of one of my biggest insecurities. My inability to run a tidy and efficient house. A house where there’s a place for the scissors so anyone can find them. A house where things are done ahead of time, not at the last minute.
I always assumed that once I became a mother I would naturally know how to run a household. My own mom ran a tight ship. In fact, so tight that I wasn’t able to help out. She liked to do things herself, so I never learned how to cook, or run the washing machines. We were allowed to bring the groceries in, but not put them away, because she had her own systems that worked for her. So I stayed out of her way and learned how to mow the lawn and clean the garage and the cars instead.
However, once I became a mother, under the assumption that now I should be able to run the house like my mom did, I failed miserably. I was constantly fighting an uphill battle to stay on top of the grocery shopping, the laundry, the dusting, vacuuming, finally concluding that I “can’t” do it. And there must be something wrong with me.
So I went to the self help books, ultimately convincing myself that I must have ADD. I hired coaches, therapists, professional organizers and even convinced a psychiatrist to put me on Adderall. Thinking that if I could cure my ADD I could run the house. All to no avail. But it occurred to me as I was mowing the lawn yesterday (which is a chore I still love to do and where I do my best soul searching), that maybe there isn’t anything inherently wrong with me. Perhaps, I can’t run an efficient household because I simply wasn’t taught how to do it.
And I wonder….what else have I convinced myself I “can’t” do, when really I just haven’t learned it yet.