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Stop Listening to Grandma and Everyone Else

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Dave Ramsey always says he gives the same advice your grandma gave you, just packaged prettier. Whelp Dave, not my grandma.

My grandparents were chronically terrible with money. They burned through cash like tomorrow would never come. My grandfather passed away a few years ago but the money ran out long before that. They have lived with my parents for more than a decade because they loved to spend, spend, spend. Everything revolved around appearances. My grandmother still lives with my parents and they will be financially responsible for her for the rest of her life.

You’d think I would take any advice she gives with a grain of salt.

*sigh*

Not quite.

I’m working, my husband is working, we’re homeschooling, and quite honestly, we’re struggling to keep our heads above water. Our house is a mess. To be fair, I’m a bit of a neat freak so it doesn’t take much to call my house a ‘mess’. The kids and I tidy the house once each day but I went from vacuuming 2x daily to once per week. We haven’t deep cleaned the bathrooms in a month. Sure, I’ll pull a baby wipe and wipe down the counters but the toilets are due for a deep scrub. Everything is due for a deep scrub.

Here’s the deal. I can do a deep clean weekly. I have the time on weekends. But, I take that time for mental health. I’ll run for over an hour or hike for miles because it gives me the mental and physical break I need to tackle the upcoming week. Then it’s laundry. Errands. Spending quality time with my kids. Life. My husband works 6 days a week. I certainly won’t ask him to help on his one day off. My schedule is packed and I have to carefully choose what to drop.

I dropped my perfectly clean house.

My mom and grandmother dropped by without notice this week. My grandmother walked in and I watched as her eyes scanned my home. School books everywhere. Pencils. Papers. My computer. Stacks of paperwork. Unfolded laundry. Six people trying so hard to keep 1200 square feet tidy… and failing. I saw what her eyes saw and I felt immediate shame. She snapped at my kids, ‘Why are you so messy!?!? Clean up!’

‘They’re fine, grandma. They’re trying to do school.’ I responded.

‘Not in my day’ she muttered.

Did I shrug it off? Did I say to myself, ‘Well granny, you’ve never lived through something like this so take your opinion and shove it’?!?!

Nope. I had a good cry. Then looked up cleaning service companies. Because. You know. Grandma’s opinion.

Here’s the deal. My house isn’t a disaster. It’s messier than I would like. It’s not unsafe. The laundry will get done, the dishes as well. It’s fine. But I (and granny) am used to perfection. And that’s a freaking joke right now. We’re working hard to earn extra cash so we can spend a really great summer with the kids. This is the snapshot. This isn’t the whole movie. Every snapshot won’t be perfect.

When I told my husband I had looked up cleaning companies, he snorted with laughter. ‘Yeah, let’s work hard to earn extra money to pay someone else to impress your grandma.’

We aren’t hiring a cleaner. I told my mom to give me at least 30 minutes’ notice before dropping by the house. I realized that right now, life isn’t perfect and that’s OK. For those who are in the same boat, I feel ya. We’ll get through this. Power through. Stop trying to impress grandma (or whoever is the ‘grandma’ in your life). Stay the course. You’ve got this.


19 Comments

  • Reply J. Money |

    Good for you!!

    Life is crazy right now – if a mess is the worst of the problems I’d take it!! Lol… (And I do take it as our house is similarly like that :)). Keep being strong!!

  • Reply roxana dragomir |

    Really I am impressed with your work capacity. In my contry,you would be a stay at home mom and exhausted with 4 kids, without homeschooling. In a perfect house with kids, someone has mental problems. You are doing just great.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    Same! Based on the number of people asking for housekeeper recommendations on my neighborhood FB page, lots of us are feeling this. It’s hard to clean bathrooms when someone is always using them! I’ve been toying with hiring a cleaning person for months, but the actual research and scheduling does me in. Maybe one day for vents, windowsills, outdoor glass etc. though.

    • Reply Beks |

      It’s so tempting! Just for my sanity, not for others. But it’s hard when we’re really working to stash cash these days.

  • Reply Margann34 |

    It has helped me so much in my life to accept that there is no perfect! Striving for a level of perfection that is not attainable is damaging to my mental health. So I work on accepting “good enough”. It sounds like you took a step in that direction. Good for you!

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    You are far more restrained than I would have been. At the very least I would have pointed out this pandemic didn’t occur ‘in her day’. Likely, though, I would have told her something along the lines of ‘how about you pay your own way before to tell me how is should live?’ And then been quite cheerful any time she dropped by and was aghast at my mess.

    You made a wise choice. And at my cleanest, I have never vacuumed twice a day. You are probably doing better than you think.

  • Reply Nicole |

    I hope every day you realize you’re amazing. Because you sure seem like it from where I stand! 4 kids, full time job, working husband, homeschool, … and you make time to write for a blog and exercise? Standing ovation from this mom of 4 ?

  • Reply Accidentally Retired |

    Yeah I think the best thing you can do with family is set boundaries and be prepared that they’re going to criticize things, or in my case bring terrible moods, or sweep things under the rug, etc.

    Just got a learn that it is what it is and ignore all the grandmas in our life!

  • Reply Impersonal Finances |

    I say shame on anyone who is judgmental of anyone for anything during one of the weirdest times in human history. Take care of yourself and others, control what you can control and let the rest fall by the wayside!

  • Reply Dr. Cory S. Fawcett |

    Thanks for sharing that story. I have been in those shoes and they are tough shoes to take off. I’m adding this to Fawcett’s Favorites on Monday.
    Thanks,
    Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
    Financial Success MD

  • Reply Kate |

    Forget that! I just have one kid (remote K) and feel like we’re drowning. The constant kitchen cleaning, constant cooking, constant picking up kindergarten papers that are strewn all over the house. Clearly your grandma feels badly about herself if she has to make unhelpful comments like that. Carry on, you’re doing great!

  • Reply Financial Fred |

    Great reminder, I know we have been there too. Life is crazy and we will get through this, thanks for sharing your experience! Save your money for you and your family and take care of your mental health the house and the rest will survive.

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