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Radical Unschoolers Who are Messy: but Hate Criticism - Page 2

post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
-- and I just took it as a very small child making an observation.

I can't exactly put it into words -- but dd's friend's comments just felt more like intentional criticism, like she was really saying, "We're better than you!"
I think that is a lot of personal baggage to put on a 6 year old!
post #22 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I think that is a lot of personal baggage to put on a 6 year old!
I think it would be, too! It's a good thing I'm discussing this here, with adults -- and not with the 6yo, huh?!
post #23 of 51
As Eleanor Roosevelt said: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
post #24 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sionainne View Post
As Eleanor Roosevelt said: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Yes! And no one can make my dd feel inferior without her consent -- so I just need to keep feeling good about myself, and responding with that "feel-goodness" to any criticism that rares it's ugly head, and quit worrying that dd will start feeling like she's "less" for living in a messy house.
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I think it would be, too! It's a good thing I'm discussing this here, with adults -- and not with the 6yo, huh?!
That's why we're all here, right? :

And I meant 'attribute' more than I mean 'put on'. I know you're not saying anything inappropriate to the child, I was afraid you're thinking she's thinking things she is not. Kwim? I can barely read my dh's mind and I've know him forever...some little kid...well, I'd proably suck more at it.
post #26 of 51
haven't read through all the posts...

I am glad you started this thread, OP, b/c I have been going a little bonkers over the weekend about this very topic. Well, except no one is bugging me about the house but...ME!

I am NOT messy, but my house can be sometimes. I get so tired of picking up toys that will be spilling onto the floor in 20 minutes anyway. The hardest part is there is so much stuff and no closet to put it in, so things can be put up when guests appear. I would love a closet with lots of shelves and bins so the kids could still get their things out and play with them, and then when it's cleanup time, everything could "disappear". Sigh. Someday.

I like order and tidiness. I am not a fanatic. But if I have a shoe shelf, I like the shoes in a row, not a pile. I like to put things in their places so I can find them again, and I like my bed made during the day.

Now, I am one person. I happen to live in a home with a wonderful husband who's idea of organization is a pile. Yep, and throw in a 5 year old and a 3 year old, it gets messy. They help in small ways, and it's nt toal chaos, but it's not my idea of a well-ordered home, either. But I think someday, when I have less preschool age kids and more teens it can be nicer. Or is that just wishful thinking??


I grew up with a messy home, my mom being a tired SAHM with 8 kids and a DH who worked constantly to provide for us. I remember resenting the state of disorder our home was in. I asked my mom for chore charts so we could all keep the houseclean--I was always cleaning bathrooms and floors and tidying up when people came over. Not that it was barely a dent. I loved my friends' clean and orderly home--it was so nice to be in, compared to being at my home! Her family all were expected to pitch in and rotated jobs. I was embarrassed when she would come over and immediately offer to vacuum the crumbs from the couch or whatever, though.

Now, I understand that my mom was lucky to grow her kids up and out and remain sane. It was a miracle we ever ate off clean dishes and I hold nothing against her.

What bugs me the most, and I know b/c I vowed I would never have a house like the one I grew up in...messy ...is that if someone walks into a messy house, one sometimes assumes the people who all live there are messy, or messy/lazy people. This is not true in my case. I used to have a little saying on the wall about how we value relationships over tidiness, and you've probably seen them too.

These days, I just say, "step over the things in your way. We've been busy with projects lately, the house is clean beneath the layers of wonderful things we are doing". Most of all, I know being a mom is much more important than being Martha Stewart and I try to ignore those shocked expressions that appear from people who never grew up in or are not used to a messy home.

But some days, I just wish IKEA would deliver a home organization kit and that I could somehow get our home in beautiful order. The saga continues...

Just think, you are modeling for this girl who is your dd's friend a home different than her own...you are helping her learn a bit about diversity, LOL.

I have a good friend who comes over so our kids can play. She homeschooled her oldest DD, 1st grade age, for a few weeks before enrolling her in school again. Keeping her home spotless and decorated is top-priority to her, and whenever this friend comes over, I catch her cleaning my stove-top or loading my dishwasher.

Sometimes I just join her and wash a few dishes and thank her for her help, and other days I just ignore it. She just wanst to help, and sometimes I think it's what helps her to be comfortable in my home, so I let it be. She has her own opinions and beliefs about how a mother should keep her house, she doesn't know my whole story, and she is entitled to her opinions anyway. So I don't try to change her mind anymore. I hope she can accept me for me, and I will continue to accept her for who she is.

Don't know if any of this is helpful, just do your best and let your friendliness shine through
post #27 of 51
Yeah, the keeping your DD feeling confident is important. Did she say anything? Is she bothered? If so, how does DD feel about your house? Would she like help keeping her room clean or does she need to practice some comeback lines about the fact that she is OK with her room?

I guess I'd make sure she actually has a problem first. And then if she does, find out how she wants to handle it, since this is really between her and her friend. My suspicion is that right now it's bothering you more than her, but that might change as she gets older. On the upside, as she gets older she'll be more and more equipped to work out a balance she can live with between messiness and neatness.
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumb3 View Post
What bugs me the most, and I know b/c I vowed I would never have a house like the one I grew up in...messy ...is that if someone walks into a messy house, one sometimes assumes the people who all live there are messy, or messy/lazy people.
Interesting. I think they assume the *women* in the house are slobs. I've never felt like anyone put judgments about our house on DH, but I do feel like those judgments get put on me. And while I am a messy person, I am not solely responsible for the mess around here!
post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassiopeia View Post
Interesting. I think they assume the *women* in the house are slobs. I've never felt like anyone put judgments about our house on DH, but I do feel like those judgments get put on me. And while I am a messy person, I am not solely responsible for the mess around here!
Yeah, I think that could be true, too, that folks assume that moms are supposed to keep everything spick and span on their own all the time, right?? Oooh, bad, bad mom! She MUST be popping bon bons and watching soaps all day, right!?
post #30 of 51
I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
or
"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."
post #31 of 51
Where's the love for the poor 6 year olds of the world??

They get reamed in schools for being impulsive, and now the homeschooling mommies are selling them up the river.

People people...just how much is a 6 year old child supposed to understand about life and adult insecurities?


--I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
or
"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."---
post #32 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
Where's the love for the poor 6 year olds of the world??

They get reamed in schools for being impulsive, and now the homeschooling mommies are selling them up the river.

People people...just how much is a 6 year old child supposed to understand about life and adult insecurities?


--I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
or
"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."---
I'm not being mean, just informing her since no one's done it yet. It's rude to comment on people's appearance, and on their homes. A 6yo is certainly old enough to told this. It's better than the poor kid having no idea why her invitations to your home are gradually getting less frequent until they stop alltogether. Eventually the OP's dd is going to have had enough of it.
post #33 of 51
I don't feel comfortable with assumptions about what this little child was actually thinking
post #34 of 51
Sorry I didn't read all the replies so I might be duplicating, but I don't think the other kids think there is anything wrong with the messy house or they probably wouldn't ask so many questions about it. I think if there was a judgment made by one of them about you or your cleanliness situation that is where the discreet comments start. I will outright ask somebody any question about themselves or anything else as long as I just want the answer, and I usually shut up if I am feeling judgmental because I would hate to come across that way, or it would be uncomfortable talking about it. It isn't my job to figure out how you feel about it, of course you can always decline to answer.

I have people stop by all the time (I'm in town, as opposed to rural where most people live here) and I just cringe and apologize the whole time they are here because I can't get over how messy my house is. You go girl- but some people just don't like mess.
post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
meowmix -- what your son did doesn't seem offensive to me. Like you, in such a situation I'd talk with my child about how such remarks can sometimes hurt others' feelings, but I wouldn't assume he was doing it to put others down. There've been times when a very small child has commented about my mess, or told me my thighs were fat (it happened when swimming, I don't normally display my fat thighs!) -- and I just took it as a very small child making an observation.

I can't exactly put it into words -- but dd's friend's comments just felt more like intentional criticism, like she was really saying, "We're better than you!"

Still, she's just a kid ... dd really likes her ... and her mom is a very nice person as well. So I know I need to be the grownup here.
Since I haven't heard her directly, I can only assume.. But maybe her mother has instilled a strong value in her child that a house should be neat and tidy. And this has been interpreted by the child as "all houses should be neat and tidy and messy houses are wrong." I have never passed a "houses should be neat" judgement but I have for other things (sometimes unintentionally) and have had my children say some pretty rude things in the presence of others (thankfully strangers we don't have to see again!) because of something I have said previously (ie: I told the kids McDs was unhealthy and that's why we didn't eat there very much. It was junk food. They know too much junk food will make them feel ill. Hence, they concluded McDs will make them sick and everyone in the joint is making themselves sick by eating McDs. they made it known loud and clear the whole time we were in line that they would get sick from this awful junk and so would everyone else for eating junk food everyday. They weren't saying this politely, either. Or making observations. They were down on McDs and everyone in the place. ).

What would you do if your DD came to you with the same attitude? Couldn't you take the same approach with DD's friend?
post #36 of 51
I wonder if part of it is the girl seeking to justify her family's way of doing things in her mind? That is, if your way of being and their way of being are both entirely valid, maybe she's starting to wonder why she has to spend so much time cleaning? If she doesn't like to clean, it's easier to accept if she can believe it's best. I can see a six-year-old grappling with that, definitely. My daughter's six, and has certainly worked through issues at least this complex. So perhaps she's challenging you. If you can't convince her that it's okay to be messy, her worldview and faith in her parents knowing best can remain comfortably unaltered.

Just a guess. In any case, my only real concern, like yours, would be that my daughter would be having to put up with unfair criticism and might internalize it as being valid (because it's coming from someone she likes and respects.) I'd be talking to my daughter about it, as well as just emphasizing to the other little girl that "everybody does and likes different things, and that's okay" etc as you were saying before.
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
or
"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."

I think that's a little harsh for a 6 year old. I mean, that's still pretty little, and she's just talking about what she's seeing vs what she's used to living. I think it could be quite the shock at age 6 to learn that not every family lives like yours does. Well, I think kids that age are getting it, but it could be that this particular child hasn't had a lot of exposure to many homes that are different than hers.

It's all a part of growing up and figuring it out. For a 6 year old I'd just say something like has been mentioned in this thread: "Yeah, we do have some messes. Our house is just that way I guess. Every family is different. I'm glad you like your house." Or whatever. The point would be to not shame her, not to trip over yourself apologizing for your home. and to focus on how every family/person lives in their own way and style.

I like having a clean home, but it's never going to be spotless or perfectly organized, decorated, etc. And that's just fine with me. It's pretty much going to have to be fine with everyone who comes to visit too.
post #38 of 51
I think you are taking it a bit personal. If you are comfortable with the way your house is then why does the 6yo's opinion matter? Or is there a twinge of uncertainty there because the 6yo's comment hit a nerve with you?

Do you think the 6yo has enough life experience to really get that other people do things in a different way and it's socially unacceptable to comment on it?

I hope this doesn't come across rudely, but I'm just throwing that out there for you to consider.
post #39 of 51
It's hard to get "tone" in email sometimes, but it didn't sound to me like she was being snotty or rude about it... more curious, and maybe somewhat uncomfortable because it was so different than she was used to. I mean, it is hard to play sometimes when a room is too messy. I guess I wouldn't necessarily expect more social skills from a 6 year old - maybe your daughter is ahead of the pack in that regard? Or maybe it's just been a while since I had a 6 year old...

Dar
post #40 of 51
Thread Starter 
You've all given me more great food for thought!

As to my dd, she doesn't seem overly concerned: She did mention that she'd like to get her room cleaned up before this friend comes again, and she knows I'm available to help her. There have sometimes been times when we've visited a very clean house and she's come home and said, "I wish our house was clean like that!"

But she hasn't asked me for a chore-chart or anything like that. She seems very happy and impressed whenever I tackle a room, and comments on how clean it looks when we're done. And she usually helps me some. I did get her room cleaned about two weeks ago, and she was thrilled.

Then she had 2 overnights (nice 24-hour visits) with one little girl (one who's happily not the least bit disturbed by mess -- but sadly she's moving away!). The morning after the 2nd overnight, dd's "neat" friend came unexpectedly for a visit (I'd misunderstood her mom about the dates and thought she was coming a week later).

Yeah, I don't think I need to read too much into dd's friend's comments -- just respond in the same way that I'd talk with my dd if she were saying things like that to others. I don't know if my dd's really "ahead of the game" -- I just think that maybe, as I mentioned last night, she's been aware from such an early age that other families are very, very different from us. Diversity isn't new to her!

When she was 3, I heard her asking a little playmate, "Do you still nursey?" and he was like, "What's that?" and she said, "Oh, you don't get to anymore?"
And later I explained that in our culture, most children are only nursed when they're tiny babies. And that her friends might feel sad to know she got to do something that they didn't.

And of course, she also noticed all the babies who were getting bottles, and I explained that some mommies don't get enough help learning to breastfeed (oversimplifying, I know), and that it might make the mommy sad to have people asking questions about why she's giving a bottle and not breastfeeding, so it's better just not to comment about that. And dd seemed to really get it, and just leave it alone (other than sometimes asking me about it when we were alone).

I'd been horrified a few years back, when the 7yo of a friend of mine pointed to a mama feeding a bottle at church and said, "Look, that's BAD!" Of course, I'm not saying dd's never gone and blurted other stuff out, such as telling people they shouldn't smoke ... but since she's almost always with me or her dad, we've just talked with her at the time, and she's seemed to get it and hasn't repeated the "same" thing in future.

As a toddler, dd used to get really upset whenever she was aware of other parents punishing their children, and she'd go up and hug them when they were crying in their time-outs, and so on. And there were one or two times when she asked a parent, "Why are you so mean to your child?" and we'd explain to dd that the parents were doing what they felt was right to teach their child ... it's not what we do, but it's what those parents feel is right. So, though it's probably not great that she's "used to" other parents being punitive -- long before now she kind of got that, too.

So I think dd's become more tolerant of diversity, simply by her constant awareness that we're most often the different ones.

I also think fourlittlebirds was on-target about dd's friend maybe trying to justify, in her mind, what her own family is doing. When she comes here, she's getting a first-hand picture of what things might be like (especially in her own much larger family) if there wasn't a lot of cleaning constantly going on.

I also think her responsibilities have greatly increased now that she's older, because when she's come in the past, her older sisters have sometimes said cr@p, but she's never seemed bothered by it before: she just played. But now that she's got more responsibility, she probably does think more about the whole cleaning issue.

I know she almost didn't get to come because of behavioral issues (and for them, behavioral issues seem to often be related to whether or not they're keeping up with their chores). So maybe she went home happy that she has chores, and happy that (in her own words), "My mom always makes us clean and that's why our house is always clean."
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