inner child knows what?

1 Mar

When I got home from work today, I organized my dirty dishes into piles, and for this I will give myself a gold star.

I want to organize the dishes so I can make it easier on myself to do them later. Because I want to have a clean kitchen so that I can cook for myself more often.

I am struggling mighty with that idea. I want to call myself lazy and stupid and silly, because doing the dishes is just not something I do.

However, there are two things at play here:

1. I do not know how to give myself credit for anything. Credit or empathy or kindness. If I haven’t moved a mountain, I haven’t done shit. I haven’t quite figured out where that came from but I do know it’s ingrained in my brain and if anyone thinks that getting over 30+ years of that is going to be easy, they are very mistaken.

2. I never learned how to be tidy. No, seriously. I have no memory of my mother instructing me on how to do anything related to that. My childhood memories are filled with being yelled at because my room was messy, but never any moments of being taught how to keep that from happening. I have no memory of doing the dishes when I lived with my mother and can only remember arguing about me not doing them when I eventually moved in with my dad. I WAS NEVER TAUGHT THESE THING! Or there are so many other horrible memories around being taught them, that I cannot access them.

I am inclined to berate myself for having a messy kitchen and a messy apartment in general. But I want to get over that. Because, embarrassing as it is, I am still a child when it comes to basic living knowledge. Just typing that makes me want to crawl under the couch! But it is essentially true.

This is not a treatise on the state of my parenting. It’s just a fact. And until I accept it and attempt to teach myself, without judgment, that this is the case, I am never going to change.

This feels like lame excuses for me but I recognize that is my negative self talk so I am just going to keep telling myself over and over again that it’s okay until maybe one day I believe it.

And have a clean kitchen.

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One Response to “inner child knows what?”

  1. Chrissy May 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    I grew up in a very cluttered house. At some point, my mom (maybe with some help from her mother?) attacked it and got it under control, but I never minded it much one way or the other. Probably because of this combined with my default laziness, I probably have the lowest baseline requirement for tidiness of anyone I know. If I didn’t live with someone higher-maintenance (and to be clear — not high-maintenance. Just higher than me), like entertaining and have a bit of shame with regards to the state of my place, it would surely be a huge disaster. Not that it’s perfect now, but I can have people in without worrying they’ll sign me up for an episode of Hoarders.

    I was also not taught much in the way of basic household skills (cooking, cleaning, repairs). I believe this is because my mom just kind of felt it was easier to do it herself than to show us how to do it, be patient with our fumbling early attempts, etc. I can’t begrudge her that, though — I’m sure I would have resisted tooth and nail had chores been a requirement.

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