DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: All my life, my mother has kept a sparkling house. She follows behind me and my dad to pick up water glasses in the living room before we have a chance to finish drinking from them. The same is true of dishes, magazines, anything she thinks is out of place.
Before we can do anything, even on weekends, we have to wait for my mother to clean the kitchen, the powder room, the living room, and the mudroom.
When I was playing soccer and then tennis, she would be late for games/matches because she can’t/won’t leave the house until she gets through her whole daily ritual.
It continues to frustrate everyone else in the family because she still does this routine every single day, no matter what else is going on.
I don’t know if she’s OCD or anything like that. My dad and I have always guessed she is just stubborn and maybe a little selfish.
Which do you think it is? --- STUCK IN HER RUT
DEAR STUCK IN HER RUT: It’s possible your mother does have something going on that compels her to give perpetual priority to her housework routine.
It’s also possible she feels this is her job, and just as you wouldn’t cut out of school or a regular workday before your work was done, neither can she. But her lack of flexibility is concerning.
I’m figuring since this has been a cause of friction for as long as you can remember, someone’s spoken to your mother about how her seemingly compulsive dedication to housework impacts the rest of the family. If you haven’t, I think it’s well past time to do so.
Having an open and honest conversation will give your mother a chance to justify or defend her usual practices, and the rest of the family to make your case for wanting her more engaged in the people and other activities in her life beyond her housework.