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Podcast S1 E4 Are You an Organized Mom? with Annie

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

[00:00] Sav: Are you an organized mom?

Annie: I’m pretty organized. About 75%

Sav: When I was growing up, how would you describe yourself?

Annie: Very busy. Yes I guess I had to be organized to keep it together with three kids.

[00:26] Intro Music

[00:34] So Today, we’re gonna jump into an episode all about being an organized mom. Part1: One organized Parent, Part 2: Party Time, Part 3: Mommy Dearest, and Part 4: SAHM Stay at Home Mom. ‘You ready?

Annie: Let’s do it.

[00:55} Part 1: One organized Parent

Sav: So I gave some of the synopsis. Essentially pulling things, stories from Reddit or people that write in or common questions I get across social media. Part 1: Does one parent need to be organized for your kid to be organized. OP, the writer, OP writes : Children who had one organized and one messy parent, which one did you take after and why? So first you’re gonna answer the question.

Annie: Did I have an organized parent?

Sav: Yes, or a messy parent and which did you take after and why?

Annie: Well, I think my father is pretty organized but he only organized himself. But he did have a very organized desk and painting supplies, and he wrote very neatly.

Sav: Do you think you took after him?

Annie: Yes a little but he was probably a little more organized than me. But he had less to organize.

Sav: Except for all 8 children.

Annie: He didn’t organize them, that was my mom.

Sav: Tsk, tsk, tsk, bad news bearers.

Sav: The top response. The organized one. I hate living in chaos and like living in a functional space. I like things reasonably neat, put back where it goes when it’s not longer being used. I think that describes me 100%

Annie: Yes, I think you do a good job at that. I like that but I’m not as good as that but pretty good.

Sav: What is your number one tip from being a semi-organized mom. Lie if you had one top secret that you could share with somebody else and that could change their life, what’s one thing that worked for you.

Annie: I don’t know, maybe find something you’re passionate about. I always like doing art so I combine my art with my kids.

Sav: Carving out time for the things you want to do involving the kids. Oh yeah that makes sense. I did dance, you did dance. You did yoga, I did yoga.

Annie: There you go! Actually when you were young, I remember that Waldorf had this thing where you’re in a concentrated mode and then you play with your kid and then you go back and do your thing, and then you let your kid do their thing. You come in and out of it, rather than just being with your kid and them always playing with you. So like having a kind of like separate quiet time. I thought that was a good flow.

Sav: Like while you’re at home doing work? o r afterschool type of thing?

Annie: I don’t know if I remember studying or doing paperwork, or papers that had to get done. And then you being young and me wanting to give you attention but I also had to do other things. I like this idea of this flowing in and out and that the kid also have their own quiet time or just their own independent play and we would flow in and out maybe in 40 minute intervals or something.

Sav: I think that’s so helpful. I have so many clients right now that are all working from home and simultaneously parenting for the ones that have young kids. I think we’re not kind enough to ourselves, giving ourselves enough grace. I like that on and off and it makes sense developmentally.

Annie: And knowing that the kids need to play on their own too.

[5:18 ] Part 2: Party time!

Sav: Of course. Okay we’re jumping in part 2. Part 2: Party time! So I think it’s kind of fair to say that whenever we’re going to have a party, it was like all hands on deck but those captains, let’s you and me, it’s always mad rush at the end. The last hour there’s some swear words coming out. There’s like ugh, some fury and anger. And then finally like “I have to go get ready!” “ I have to clean up the house!” And then you disappear and then I greet people and you’re gonna come back down all refreshed, “Oh hi!” Would you say that’s true?

Annie: I would.

Sav: I thought of that story only because that describes some people, they’re organizing their home with the only motivation being other people coming in and them being embarrassed. And it’s so unfortunate because your home is your safe spot so it really is a bummer when I see people getting down on themselves. Really not helpful when you wanna get organized. But attention back to organizing and parties. I have an“Am I the asshole?” So ‘you get the concept?

Annie: Yeah!

Sav: These all have to do with mother-daughter stuff, so you’re in for a treat.

Sav: First read. Go ahead, asshole not asshole? Should guests be involved with meal prep or cooking?

Annie: No not if it’s their first time there.

Sav: “So, a little over a year ago, I started a relationship with my boyfriend. We lived in different cities (about 45 minutes drive one way). One weekend, my mom invited us to dinner, and kindly asked us to go pick up something at the grocery store that she was missing for the meal. We got to my parent's house and WE had to cook the meal. It was a meal made in the oven, not really cooking but we have to check every so often, because my mom was feeling tired. That pissed off my boyfriend and he told me he wouldn't accept dinner invitations from my parents if it meant he had to cook the meal. A few weekends after, my mom invited us again for dinner. She had asked us to be there at 5 PM but I knew we wouldn't eat before 7 PM cause my dad was at work. I told her that we'd see when we'd get there. We left his apartment at 5 PM and got to my parents' at about 6 PM. My mother was slightly angry because she wanted help prepping the food and that's when I told her guests shouldn't be expected to help with meal prep or cooking. She argued, saying she'd help her sister. I told her that her sister never forced her to help and she always volunteered.”

What do you think so far?

Annie: I think that if you want your relatives to help you need to ask for it in advance. She could have invited her over, “I really wanted you and your boyfriend to come over but I will need a little bit of help. Is that alright with you?Are you up for helping?” They have to drive an hour, so that’s, they’re doing some work.

Sav: I think if it is more like if I’m hosting a party, the joy is that I’m hosting so I want my guests to have an awesome experience. However, I delegate. If I go to someone’s house, I’m always gonna offer because we’re all in it together. We’re all wanting to sit down and eat together. But I don’t know. I don’t feel like there’s clear communication here. So the person writes in: “I help in other ways, I set up the table, I help clean the dishes, etc. When I do meal prep, I'm always forced to do it. I wouldn't mind asking if they need help, I just find it dumb that I'm being forced to do it.I wouldn’t mind asking if they need help I just find it dumb that I’m being forced to. So for the first meal, I failed to mention that while my mother prepped the chicken, I made everything else for the meal. Also, what I had to grab from the grocery store was a core ingredient of said meal.” Uhm, I’m not so down with that.

Annie: No, that one was too hard. Too much work. Unless you’re gonna tell your people in advance. It's kind of like if someone invites you over and then makes you bring all this stuff then it’s a potluck.

Do you want to come to a potluck is different to Do you want to come over for dinner? And mostly if i invite people for dinner, I;m doing everything, even cleanup.

Sav: You organize the whole evening.

Annie: Yeah ‘cause I don’t always like to go to potlucks.

Sav: Yeah it’s a different vibe.

Annie: But if it’s said ahead of time then great that’s what you’re going for,a potluck.

SAav: So who’s the asshole, the mother or the daughter.

Annie: The mother is more. No I wouldn’t say. The daughter is not an asshole. The mother is not a complete asshole, because she operates in a different place. When she invites the daughter, she thinks it’s a family event and so she’s leaning on her history of family.

Sav: She did say she’s willing to help and she does help on other things like setting the table which is totally reasonable. I’m curious how old she is. I’m curious if there are other siblings and if she’s the daughter that’s kind of expected to do it. If it’s gendered.

Annie: It also depends on how long she’s had the boyfriend too, and how many meals he’s been in this mother’s house. If it’s the first, and he had to work at the first dinner, mom is the asshole. If it was the tenth meal then it’s different.

[11:51] Part 3: Mommy Dearest

Sav: On to part 3, Part 3: Mommy Dearest. It’s another AITA.

Sav: My thought is that if my mom wanted to clean my stuff I would say okay Thank you.

Annie: That’s what I’m thinking too but if your mom’s a really bad cleaner and trashes your crap, then you wouldn’t.

Sav: I don’t know, why would they do that.

Annie: I don’t know why this girl doesn’t like it. Or the mom’s nosy and goes in her stuff that's' why.

Sav: And cleaning it is a ruse [12:27 inaudible]

[12:30] Sav reads: I am a 23f who lives at home with my parents. I am a teacher and it’s too expensive to live on my own. I pay rent, bills and help them whenever needed.

My mother and I both have OCD and have struggled with each other's neurosis. I had to install a lock on my door so she would stop going into my room to clean when I am not home. All I want is privacy and I pay rent! Anyway we converted one of the bedrooms into a shared office space between my mother and I. Each side has a desk, bookshelves, etc., and of course our own things. My mother keeps cleaning my side of the office but hasn't touched her side, which is covered in clutter. I have no problem with how she keeps her side, those are her things and I wouldn't dare touch them. However she keeps cleaning my side, throwing things out and moving everything around. I sell crafts online and I am always working on a project. She moves things around so my desk is void of items. I cannot stand this and have politely asked/told her on several occasions to not do this anymore. It culminated into a shouting match this morning. I admit, I yelled at her. I told her "How can you clean my side when your side is destroyed," and "how many ways do I have to say stay the f away from my things!" I then went to her side and picked up some of her items and said "how would you like it if I threw this out or put this somewhere you couldn't find it!" She got very angry and started yelling how disrespectful and rude I was being. She said I was so ungrateful and how she is just trying to help me.

I was wrong to yell at her and touch her desk, but I'm at my wits end. AITA for being ungrateful towards my mother?

Annie: No, because she didn’t want it so she wouldn’t be grateful that her mom would clean her desk and throw shit away.

Sav: So she’s not an asshole for yelling at her mom for cleaning her stuff?

Annie: Well, she shouldn’t have cursed, and she shouldn’t have yelled, but her mother is not acting appropriately.

[14:45 crosstalk] Sav: Boundaries Nope,red flag.

Sav: There’s a top response and the top response also gives their verdict. Their verdict, also's her responsibility to manage her condition. That does not include violating your privacy by messing with and throwing away your stuff.

Annie: That’s good that she’s in charge of managing her own condition. See this daughter needs to put a sign on her desk “Manage your own condition”

Sav: Any final thoughts? I mean it’s kind of a hard scenario, they’re in a shared space and she’s at home.

[15:31 crosstalk] Annie: I’d say it’s very rare. I never heard of somebody not cleaning their own stuff. I could see cleaning their own stuff and still have an OCD and start cleaning other people’s stuff . But when you got plenty of stuff to clean up that should keep you occupied.

Sav: I enan I see people though focus on or avoidant of their own problems and just focus on other people as an avoidant strategy, so I get that.

Annie: Ok that’s probably it.

Sav: But if it is a shared space, personally I wouldn’t be able to let like, let’s say you and I shared your office space, I think we’d do a great job because our vision of what that office space would look and feel like is aligned. Where in this scenario they’re just not really on the same page. And then if that was the scenario like okay let’s say that you and I are sharing and we didn't have the same opinion on look and feel and layout and everything, I would not be okay to trash your side, I would offer to help you. So, I don’t think the daughter’s the asshole but I think that she could have come from a more a place of empathy because OCD’s real, and it’s hard for people to manage it and people have different flare ups at different times. So, I think that maybe she could’ve been more helpful. But it also extremely sucks that the mom is not sticking with the boundary which she set, which she did.

Annie: I think if I was the daughter, If after talking and all that didn’t work. I will take a cover and cover my desk. So the mother could see my desk and touch my stuff.

[17:26 crosstalk] Sav: Or take a curtain too or a wall divider.

Annie: Just something over it so she’s not compulsed to.

Sav: Or move your desk to your room and have separate spaces.

[17:26 crosstalk] Annie: And just forget it.

[17:42] Part 4: SAHM - Stay-at-Home-Mom

Sav: Okay Part 4: SAHM - Stay-at-Home-Mom. Have you heard that?

Annie: Yeah people said that.

Sav: I heard some people say SAHM

Annie: Never heard that.

Sav: I can’t believe [17:57 inaudible] Okay I have another AITA and this is the fourth and final part. Oh wait let’s just pause. So the first story the mom was the asshole, second story the mom’s the asshole so oh gosh.

Annie: Finger’s crossed it’s not the mom.

Annie: What is she then? An unemployed person?

Sav: I don’t know

Annie: Does she have kids?

Sav: I don’t know. We’ll find out in a second.

Annie: if she’s unemployed and she takes care of kids and she doesn’t leave the house then she's a stay-at-home-mom.

[19:01] Sav reads: So, I am (50f) have been married to my husband (53m) for 25 years, and I have 21yr twins, and a 13yo. I used to be a network engineer for many years. I have 2 medical conditions that I have dealt with since I was in my early 20s. I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and Adhesive Arachnoditis (AA). While most know what MS is, many probably don't know what AA is, so here is a quick description. AA is a spinal cord disorder where the nerves that come out of the base of your spine, start to break down and adhere to each other. 19 years ago, my conditions became worse, and my doctors declared me permanently disabled. So, for the last 19 years I have of course raised/am raising my kids. I do most of the cooking, but we have someone that comes in twice a week to do cleaning and laundry, as it is impossible for me to do those things. My husband is an absolute gem. He works 8 to 10 hours a day, and thankfully works from home. My mother as always has been dismissive of my medical conditions, saying that she had aches and pains but didn't let that get in her way. I have tried to explain that what I am dealing with are not simple aches and pains. I have even given her printouts on my conditions. But, she continues to blow it off. Well, she arrived last week for a 2 week visit. As soon as she walked into my home she started complaining about our clutter (things like a pile of mail). During her visit her remarks became more frequent, and nasty until finally she told me I am a terrible stay at home wife/mom, and she is surprised my husband tolerates this and stays with me, because I am physically and financially a leech that is too lazy to do anything. I LOST IT! I told her I am not a housewife, and I didn't stop working 19 years ago to become one. I told her I am physically disabled, and spend half of my time in a wheelchair. I told her if anyone was a terrible mom it was her for not recognizing and taking my medical conditions seriously. I then told her to leave and go back home. She yelled back and said fine, she will not be coming back, packed, and went home. When she got home she told my step-dad, and sister her version of what happened. They both started calling me and telling me I was an Ahole for throwing my mom out, and for the other things I said. They wouldn't even listen to my side. I think I might be TA, because she is my mom, and maybe I shouldn't have been so harsh. Well, aita?

Annie: Well sounds like the mother was harsh with the daughter and the daughter was harsh with the mom.

Sav: I think the mom is the asshole, I’m gonna say it.

Annie: Yeah.

Sav: I didn’t realize that these are the stories that came up but I mean I guess it makes sense, it makes it very dramatic of course. But like, Oh man! If your parents, if your mom, any kind of guardian figure is not recognizing a permanent disability and medical conditions. That’s really harsh. It's heartbreaking.

Annie: Partly, she objected to being called a SAHM?

Sav: Yeah and then the mom is dismissive of her medical conditions that are deemed permanent disabilities.

Annie: Well, that’s the asshole part.

Sav: I think also in the world of disabilities as I know, there are invisible disabilities and people oftentimes don’t recognize that.

Annie: It messes, it's very difficult.

Sav: And does it get progressively worse? And isn’t it like a really short time period, like life expectancy, like 10 years or something?

Annie: Yeah, usually shorter life expectancy but it progresses at different rates so. But the mother should've been able to recognize that it was a bigger problem because her daughter has a wheelchair.

Sav: I know!

Annie: So te nother for whatever reason can’t believe that her daughter has such a terrible illness.

Sav: Also, it started because of these remarks that her house was cluttered, her house was disorganized, and that’s why she was failing at being the mother or the wife figure, where it’s like, no, no, no. That’s ridiculous. Of course I believe in my core that living an organized lifestyle is best for everyone, but just because you’re not organized doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom.

Annie: Well let’s just say she’s organized to get cleaning people to come in to help. So that’s pretty good.

Sav: Yes she was. I think that’s stellar. I think that’s perfect. If you have a need that you cannot meet for whatever reason, hire out.

[24:23 crosstalk/inaudible]

Sav: I mean he has a disability income. Poor thing though. So I have more, I have a response. So OP writes, she gave an update: WOW I cannot believe how this has blown up! Thank you all much for the love and support you have given. It literally brought me to tears. To update a bit. I sent an email to my sis and step-dad. They both called me and apologized, they said (of course) my mom didn't tell them the whole story. She only said I got angry for no reason and kicked her out.

Sav: Oh gosh, what’s your final answer? Is the daughter, the one who has the disability, is she the asshole or not?

Annie: No, she’s not the asshole.

Sav: I agree. In fact there are about 7800 who said NTA. Top response: NTA at all. You set your boundaries because your mother does not comprehend and respect your situation. You did a great job, and I would go NC with her. (no contact). And we have a response from OP, OP says: Thank you. It's sad that it has come to this. But, stress only makes my condition worse. I have decided to go no contact.

[25:49] Conclusion

Sav: Kids can learn to be organized despite their parents being disorganized.

[25:53 crosstalk] Annie: Yes, they can. I agree.

Sav: Let me phrase it a different way. I would also conclude

Annie: Okay then.

Sav: I would also conclude, to say moms and boundaries that was a recurring theme. Actually Brene’ Brown had a beautiful quote that recently stuck out to me which was essentially saying what a boundary is and I think it gets confused a lot but I really think it was just beautiful. It says” A boundary is how I can love you and you can love me. How we can continue to love each other and have a relationship. That’s the purpose of a boundary is to continue a loving relationship. And I think that oftentimes you know if you’re new at setting them it’s really hard and if you’re new at getting them, it can feel harsh. The last theme was just about parents and their role, like how you started how kids should have their independent time, where then in the story of the woman who has multiple illnesses, what was the role with the mom? Why couldn’t she be helping out, because she didn’t believe her daughter. Trust. But really in the ideal scenario, grandma would have been supporting her daughter as opposed to just coming in as someone coming with so much judgment and hate. It’s definitely not helpful in that scenario and I feel for the daughter especially with an illness that progresses so quickly. Due so much perspective and yet mom’s clueless.

[27:35] Outro Music

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