Saturday, June 19, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 41

#41 – “When you run out of something, put the empty box or bottle in your car to remind yourself to buy that item the next time you’re at the store.” 
(Photo is of me and my beautiful daughter, just being silly)

When I see the TV shows about hoarders, I have flashbacks on this one of one hundred things my mom taught me a million times. Mom wasn’t technically a hoarder; she was more like a slob. (Sorry mom). Granted, she though nothing should be thrown away, but it wasn’t so out of control that I couldn’t tidy up the place before friends came over. Yep, I did. I cleaned house before my friends came over because I was embarrassed for them to see how disorderly mom kept it. You know what though, some of the coolest women I’ve ever know didn’t/don't give a hoot about cleaning house, so I don’t consider that a fault, just a characteristic.

So back to the empty boxes and bottles in our car. Honestly, having an empty gallon bottle of Clorox bleach, and Nilla Wafers and Arm & Hammer baking soda boxes rolling around in your front seat floorboard just felt so wrong to me. I can’t tell you how many times I cleaned my mom’s car out so I could take my friends “riding around,” which is pretty much all we did once we learned to drive. Click on Read More below...

Why mom didn’t just make a list instead of carting the trash around in our car, I honestly don’t know. There’s got to be some deeply seeded psychological trigger there. Of course her psychosis triggered an equal and opposite reaction in me – a backlash of sorts. I write endless lists of things to do, work projects, deadlines, shopping list, itineraries, etc. And although I catch myself slipping into the abyss of trashing out my car occasionally, I am truly vigilant not to let it get out of hand – which is as much about not wanting to turn into the slob in my mother as it is about not wanting to have a messy car.

I graphically recall the first time I looked in the floorboard of my car and saw a newspaper and a couple of fast-food containers scattered about. I lay my head on the steering wheel and cried, “Oh my gaud, I’m turning into my mother,” which was actually the first of many such instances.

On a positive note, by collecting boxes and bottles in her car, mom was diverting trash from the waste stream; so let’s just say she was a visionary ahead of her time. What did your mom do that drove you around the bend? Ah come on tell us! You’ll feel better if you get it out.


  1. My mother--your mother's eldest daughter--was the exact opposite in her approach to cleaning house (and grocery shopping, too!). Nothing, no nothing was ever left out on the counter or on the car floor. Not even a speck of West Texas dust could find a home on her clean, clean household surfaces. Any such unfortunate piece of dirt that found itself on the counter top wouled (surely) die from the disinfectant she obsessively wiped across anything flat enough to hit with a dish cloth (disposable, of course--we didn't keep dirty ones!). So, I pose the question: Is hers a reaction to having had a mother who kept everything or is it just the other side of the same coin (so to speak)? Do any of us ever escape the cleaning genes of our mothers? Jane

  2. I think it is the backlash effect. I pretty much think that all of mom's daughters (including your mom obviously) became rabid cleaners in reaction to being raised in an untidy house.

    Which begs the question. Are you a slob in backlash to your mom's fastidiousness?

  3. Lol! I seem to waver between being a slob and being obsessive about neatness. There is no escape!

  4. I am certainly the backlash of my mother's backlash from Mommy's poor housekeeping. In other words, I'm a slob and a minor horder. And I've got an empty vitamin bottle sitting on my dining table to remind me to get some more.