Mrs. Linklater has noticed a double standard in this Women Can Have It All world. Men can be forgiven for being messy. Women
don't get a pass.
No matter how accomplished a woman is, if you can leave a few footprints in the dust on her coffee table, she's a failure as a human being.
Not only does the world put dirty dishes, messy closets, and dust fuzzies on her permanent record, but her own mother will rat her out.
Why is it, no matter how many times a woman is told to be all she can be, if Mom stops by and finds a couple of mushrooms growing in the clothes left on the floor, she'll call a therapist, or worse, write to an advice columnist about her daughter's "problem." Sheesh, maybe she was just growing a few fungi for a tossed salad.
Mrs. Linklater would like to take the toilet brush to this tattletale mom, but she used it to clean her car tires.
Published December 3, 2005
Dear Amy: I have a daughter who is married and has a child with another child due soon.
They have been married for four years. They lived in an apartment until last year, when they built a large home.
When they lived in the apartment, my daughter always commented that her apartment was so messy because there was no room. Now she has a large house and it is worse than before. There are dirty dishes in most of the rooms, food on the floor, clothes everywhere and toys scattered throughout. She does not seem to want to clean or keep the house in a nice condition.
I cannot tell you when the last time was that she cleaned the house. She worries about insects and other pests getting in. I have told her that she needs to keep the house cleaner in order to avoid unwanted pests, but it does not seem to do any good.
People tell me that it is none of my business and if they want to live like that, then I need to let them. I am only concerned for my grandson and for them having problems with their house. I am looking for suggestions to motivate my daughter to clean up a little better.
Her husband works and then comes home to cook the meals.
-- Concerned Mom
Dear Mom: There are a number of factors that could contribute to your daughter's messy habits. She could be depressed and/or overwhelmed by family life. Studies have established a connection between people who have ADHD and "hoarding" behavior, so treatment for ADHD can help hoarders control their problem.
Your daughter's house-cleaning isn't likely to improve once she has her second baby. Perhaps she would be open to having someone come in to help with the cleaning. Having cleaning help even twice a month would help her get a handle on the house.
You could help out by offering to do the cleaning yourself, or by paying for some sessions of cleaning help, as a gift.
Otherwise, you might point your daughter toward www.flylady.com. The "Flylady" shares common-sense cleaning and folksy organizing tips, meant for people who are overwhelmed and don't know where or how to start cleaning.
So, Amy, how clean is your house? Huh? Huh? Any yogurt lids in your bedside drawer?
In support of women who remember when landing a plane in the hanger had nothing to do with feeding a baby, Mrs. Linklater socks it to this meddlesome, unsupportive mother not once, but twice:
First a quickie: Back off, bitch!
Second, something longer and harder:
Just because your daughter isn't cleaning up to your neatfreak standards, that doesn't mean she is suffering from OCD, depression, or needs tips from flylady.com. Consider the facts:
1. She is a mom with two babies to care for.
2. She lives in a large house.
3. She doesn't have any cleaning help.
4. She doesn't have a nanny or a babysitter for the chidlren.
This young mother doesn't have psychological problems. She has a psycho for a mother. That would be YOU.
Mrs. Linklater knows that you and everybody else gave her husband a million points for coming home to cook dinner. You did, didn't you? Hey, anybody can microwave!!!
Which one of you Judge Hatchetts nodded your head in agreement with mom's concern about her daughter's housecleaning? You know who you are. Mrs. Linklater is tracking you down even as we speak.
Meanwhile how many points did anybody hand out to the daughter for probably giving up her career to stay home with two babies, deal with a big house, and get by with NO HELP? Can you count to zero?
WELL, SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!!! May all your vacuum cleaners choke on a hair ball.
Just because a woman can have it all, doesn't mean she should have to DO IT ALL.
If this young family has enough money for a large house, they should have enough money for a nanny or a babysitter.
They have should enough money for cleaning help once a week. Not twice a month.
And Dad can do more than dinner - he can do the dishes, the laundry, and put the kids to bed, too.
Over the years Mrs. Linklater has noticed a disturbing trend. When she was growing up Moms stayed home with their children. Even then, middle class families could afford cleaning help twice a week. That's why mothers wore dresses. They had time to take a bath and look nice. They had time to enjoy cooking.
Why is it, the more accomplished a woman has become, the more she is expected to do. The bigger the house, the better she's supposed to be at keeping it clean and decorated.
Without any help.
That's what's depressing.