“Mom, I really like it that you’re anal”, M, my psychology major daughter told me the other night.
The word “anal” sounds deregatory but I’m pretty used to my family teasing me with my neat freak attitude. Haha, I just laughed.
“And that’s a compliment!” they chirped..
I was touched.
I never thought I’d hear the day my daughters and husband would appreciate the effort I put into my household.
So I asked my 2 daughters “Why do you now appreciate my being anal?”
The two girls then narrated to me that their dormmates have even messier rooms than their own. Often the thoughts running through their minds are “If only mom can see this mess”. The girls can’t stand disorder in their own rooms but still I raise my eyebrows whenever I pass by their rooms. I just give a one-liner like “You have a lovely bed that cost me $___. Too bad it’s messy” or “studies are not an excuse for being sloppy” or “you have so many drawers . Use them to organize your things”
Whenever I drop by the dorm, I never step into their rooms simply because I want to avoid lecturing them on neatness. One time, I had no choice but drop some important items inside their rooms. Know what I did? I closed my eyes , opened the door and dropped the bag on side of the door.
The other day, I noticed that my husband folded his towel the way I wanted it to be. Aww, I never imposed that on him. I don’t bother him with little details like these. Since we moved in, he showers me with praises on the renovations and organization of our household. Before you think I am such an evil homemaker, my neat freak attitude is this: Create a peaceful and calm household that brings joy and comfort to the family.
I am not a neat freak in the strictest sense of the word. I am more of a neatness lover. Neat freaks live under tremendous stress and spend a significant time, sometimes several hours a day, trying to maintain immaculate neatness, precise order and faultless arrangement of their immediate environment.
I don’t nag my family to the point that my neat freaky attitude drives them crazy. If they are messy with their things, that is their problem. If an item gets lost because they were not organized, it’s their loss. “Don’t come crying to me that you lost a book , a CD or something”.
The most important thing is that each family member knows what their own space is for and my definition of clutter control. I don’t want to develop stress-related disorders because of a compulsive obsession for neatness. My overall goal is to find order and peace of mind in their busy lives through easy to maintain solutions that will help them get and stay organized.
My comfort lies in seeing my family member’s contented faces as they relax in their respective private spaces.