My mother. I happened to mention that Helena was becoming quite mobile, spending much time scootching about on the living room floor. Horror of horrors, she must be wiping up a lot of dust and cat hair in the process. I responded to my mother quite sarcastically — well, I never clean. And I think my mother actually believed me. I had to explain the joke. But that she had to consider this? What must she think of me, my cleaning abilities, my mothering skills? Why would she even mention such a thing in the first place if not to criticize or lecture?
Of course, it's not easy to brush off (no pun intended). I must be a neglectful mother, letting my daughter wallow in filth. I slept restlessly, instead planning my cleaning agenda for the day ahead. The guilt as I write this, sipping my coffee... I should be scouring something.
What does she think I do all day? God forbid I should spend time playing with my daughter — my mother admitted when I last visited with her that it was different in her day. It was unthinkable to spend an hour lolling about in bed with baby when there were breakfasts to prepare, beds to make, cleaning to do. Well, I still manage to prepare breakfast and make beds. I even clean — I'm just not obsessive-compulsive. God forbid I should trade dusty shelves for the little corner of sanity I defend by reading the news, writing to friends, trying to think a little. And with a little planning, I even manage to keep the pantry stocked and often have dinner ready and waiting when our breadwinner comes home.
My relationship with my mother has changed considerably since I've become a mother myself. I have new respect for her. But I also feel the gap in our perspectives widening.
(Why isn't "scootch/skooch" in the dictionary yet? How am I supposed to know how to spell it?)