Wedding Woes

I wouldn't ask her to water my plants again.

Dear Prudence,
I live in a small apartment. Last week I went on vacation and my mother kindly came by to water my plants. After my return she told me she was shocked to see my apartment, that I was a slob, and wondered how could I live like that. She wondered what she did wrong with my upbringing and asked why I don’t do any chores. I don’t agree with her. The floor was clean, the kitchen was clean, there weren’t any dirty dishes or dirty clothes lying around. I have some paper stacks on my desk, and some bags of stuff I want to discard and the house was a bit dusty, but does this make me a slob? Not one of my friends have ever said something to me and when I visit other people, their apartments look either the same or worse. I think my mother is something of a cleaning maniac. It made me angry to hear her talk like that and I told her that I hear her but it is my apartment and I have to live here. My question is: Do I need to be more ambitious toward chores or is a little clutter acceptable? Is there some etiquette on cleaning I missed?
—Not a Slob

Re: I wouldn't ask her to water my plants again.

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Don't ask mom to do the job again.  You can buy those little globe things that fill with water and can water the plants over the course of a week.  Unless these were special and expensive plants, I'm surprised she had anyone go over to water them in the first place if she was going to be gone a week.  Most plants would be fine with no water for a week.

    As for the actual apartment.  It sounds fine to me.  LW's mom sounds like a neat freak and probably thinks anything less than perfection is a mess.  Just ignore mom.

  • This is something I have constantly issued with my own mother. She is a neat freak and certain things she will notice as "wow this is super messy" where as I won't necessarily think that.

    We have both come to agreement that her version of clean =/= my version of clean.

    Also, what LW could do is just state that they're in midst of cleaning when she came. {given LW stated some stuff was to be discarded}
  • Sounds like my house.

    If that's mom's answer to showing up to her adult child's abode mom shouldn't be surprised that she no longer has access when her child isn't there.

  • My MIL (who is a sweet and wondering woman) keeps an extremely clean household. We do not. We clean up after ourselves and do a deep clean on the weekend, but if you were to come into my house on a weekday you would find mail on the table and dust on the shelves. She would never dream of saying anything to me about. 

    Have a friend water the plants next time. 
  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    Lol @ "etiquette on cleaning". What an odd thing to say. I agree with @OliveOilsMom that LW should just not ask mom to water the plants again.

  • My mother came to visit me once. We cleaned for a week. I scrubbed the baseboards. 

    Everything was "dirty". She insisted on doing dishes immediately after dinner, though I usually let things soak and run the dishwasher in the morning, so I can visit with my dinner guests. She was having none of it. She offered to vacuum. Like, no. 

    I told her that no, her OCD is just not very well-controlled, and she can stay in a hotel next time she visits. 

  • My mother used to clean houses for a living.  My house will never be as clean as hers.  I know she "tsk tsk"s when she comes to visit, but meh - if that's the worst my mother ever does to me, I'm getting off good.  However, if my mom flat-out  called me a slob, that would be a different story.  She would not be watering my plants.

  • I think my house would be "Immersion Therapy" for the Mom.  That's when you hire a company to come in while you're away and water the plants...  Or skillful neglect that the rest of us do...
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