Tuesday, July 9, 2013

When to Step Away

I got to close a door in my life recently that has been a source of stress for me for many months. Since my father died my mother has been slow to get the house cleaned up and organized. It's in quite a bit of disarray, my parents both "hoarding" (for lack of a better term). Over the past few years my mother has gotten to blame my father for her lack of productivity and organization.

Now that he is gone it was his "stuff" that prevented her from doing what she wanted to do with the house. She kept saying she was overwhelmed by all of the boxes so "the kids" came in and did everything for her. Then it was our stuff that was the problem. This weekend we spent hours taking our things out.

What was surprising to her, I think, is that the house is still a wreck. She's got so much stuff, so many rooms filled with years and years of possessions that she's not really paid attention to how much she's accumulated. It prevents her from opening her home to anyone, to hosting holidays, to even having her grandchildren over.

So, now that we're no longer to blame, I've stepped away from trying to fix this and being so worked up about it. We've encouraged her to get help, which she's refused. We've even offered to clean with her. She's refused. So it's up to her. She keeps saying she has to be in the right mindset, but I think that's just more excuses and blaming. I've tried to have compassion. I know that some people must look at me and think "man, I wish she'd just get it together and lose weight!", so I know that change is hard especially when people are looking at you doing it. But I don't think she'll be able to do this on her own, so things won't change. And like my Dad's stuff, this will eventually be our problem to clean up.

So much time has been poured into this home that isn't ours, time away from our own families fixing problems that were years in the making... I just kind of came to the realization that sometimes helping people isn't the help they need. So, I'm not closing the door on my mother, just the nonsense of the tangled web she's woven in her house. My own little family needs me and that is where I want to be. I do hope that when she sees that no one comes over, that it's not a place where her grandchildren can play that it will be a motivating force to get going. Honestly, you live your life with all this stuff... what meaning does it have when it lowers your quality of life and relationships...

PS: I am enjoying my post-work/evening walks with Little One. I am also proud of staying away from the trashy snack cabinet at work... baby steps are steps!!! I am taking my own medicine - looking 10 years down the road - where do I want to be and how do I want to be living ... I don't want to squander the time I have now to fix this.

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