Q: I live with my retired mother. We constantly argue about how to keep the house clean. I say we need to list the chores/tasks she wants completed and when. She says I should just “see” what needs to be done. How do I get her to understand that we need a clear schedule? Without one, I feel like I’m cleaning all day. And even then it’s never clean enough.
A: They say the parent/child relationship is supposed to improve once the child is a grown-ass adult, but I think that rule goes completely out the window when you’re living in the same house. What’s working in your favor here, though, is that you are, in fact, a grown-ass adult, and you are fully capable of taking charge of the situation in a way that’s not going to frustrate the hell out of you.
Make the schedule. Make it the way that it makes sense to you. Put it somewhere you both can see it. I can pretty much guarantee that within a relatively short time of you making said schedule and putting it where she has access to it, she’ll start making changes to it, which, in turn, lets you know what her actual expectations are.
If she continues to say you should just “see” what needs to get done, tell her clearly and in a way that doesn’t invite discussion, that you, like most people, do better when you know what’s expected of you. Tell her that the house is almost certain to stay cleaner if you have a schedule to follow, and she’s welcome to follow or not follow it, whichever she chooses.
It’s hard to deal with your parents as people and not parents, but you deserve not to be treated like a child, and frankly, your mother should be thrilled that she has a daughter who wants to keep the house clean to expectations. She really lucked out with you; time for her to realize it.
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