Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My mother in law visited recently. Here's all I really remember about the visit. During dinner, a bit of something fell on the floor. Mr. Bunny did a half-assed job of wiping it up, and I said good enough.

Mother in Law: I HAVE noticed your standards slipping a bit.

To be fair, she and I both know her standards are far lower than mine, so I don't think she meant it in a you're filthy and I'm appalled way, I think she meant it in a thank heavens you're finally sinking to my level way. But I sure did want to punch her in the face. Particularly since we would have cleaned the house that very weekend, but for her visit. Turns out it's hard to find time to clean when there's an endless stream of visiting relatives wanting to be entertained.

I will eventually let this comment go, but it made me think about standards, and what to do about mine.

People like to tell you that when you have a baby you just have to let things go. Can I let things go? Hmmm...

I'm not anal, I swear. There are whole areas of the house that I don't give a shit about. Like that spot between the fridge and cabinets where stuff falls and can't be retrieved, or, you know, other things that make me sound genuinely not anal. And I have relaxed my standards a fair bit, for Mr. Bunny's sake. But I grew up in chaos, and keeping things orderly makes me feel safe and in control. Plus I find cleaning therapeutic. Like, I actually have a duster and vacuum in my office, and when I'm struggling with some project, I clean. This does not mean I always feel like being elbow-deep in dirty dishwater or shitty diapers, but by and large, cleaning is not something I detest. So I don't want to let things go, and I don't want to do the other obvious thing, which is hire a cleaner, for the above reason, and others.

The solution is clear, of course. Refuse to allow anyone to visit, particularly my WHORE of a mother in law.


  1. Does it sound bad that I'm glad I don't have inlaws? My dh swears his mom & dad would have loved me...but OMG, since IF, I'm not as nice as I used to be and I've gained quite a mouth on me. Yeah, I wouldn't be a good DIL at all. Kudos to you for not punching her in the face.
    Rae (Barrenista...for some reason blogspot won't let me leave comments as myself anymore..go figure)

  2. I'm a cleaner too and I think it has a lot to do with the same reasons you mentioned above feeling safe and in control. I like my house to be clean but look in some of my drawers and you'll find stuff jammed in everywhere. Drawers are where I like to hide the junk that would otherwise be all over the counters, nightstands, etc. R's mom likes to make comments about how I start cleaning before they're even out of the door..."Weelllll, if you weren't such a dirty slut, I wouldn't have to do that, now would I?" MIL's sure can drive a girl to the breaking point sometimes. Ish.

  3. Oh, Bunny, you crack me up! In-laws by definition are a pain in the ass.

  4. Oh the MIL! I actually generally like mine but I realized while living with her this summer that she is much easier to love when she is many thousands of miles away.

    On the cleaning front, I have a bit of a problem. I REALLY like things to be clean and organized but I equally HATE to actually clean. The only reasonable solution I've found over the years is to try and keep the absolute minimum of things I can live with so that less clutter happens........and then I had a son.

    I feel like I should warn you that as bun bun gets a little bit older you are likely to discover that primary colored plastic toys have a tendency to multiply like single-celled organisms.

  5. Ooooh, blimey. Standards! Isn't that an odd thing to say? I must say I hate any kind of judgements on the state of my house. I mean, am I asking you to live in it? Or to examine my glasses in the light? No. Most emphatically. I like to employ a clean as you go policy, with occasional bursts of demented energy for the shiny. It's so nice when it's done!
    Ah yes. Clean long and prosper, as you see fit, bunny.

  6. I used to be close to anal, but with a 4 year old and a 6 month old, the anal has left the building. Now it's messy. I hate it but I hate being totally exhausted more.

  7. I'm like you -- I clean to control my environment when I feel overwhelmed. When I was writing my masters thesis, you could have eaten off my bathroom floor it was so sparkly.

    Your MIL? Oy. I totally get this. Except my MIL's standards are way higher (and mine are high). She gets me all the time on eating healthy (which I do, but the woman weighs about 95 lbs). Makes me want to scream.

  8. Ohhhhh.... Don't get me started on my MIL, I really would have had to say something in regards to that comment. I like cleaning too I'm sure your house is lovely and yeah cleaning (just like everything else) changes when you have a bebe but that ok.

  9. I officially hate this low standard MIL. Tidiness is never a bad quality. Given the chaos that you've endured, it makes all kinds of sense to keep what you can control in perfect order. Working at home is improving this skill for me and I highly admire it in other people. I also respect giving Mr. Bunny room to breathe, as I think that's what my husband needs to endure.

    We have maid service at this place and I feel weird with a stranger in the house. I get it completely.

  10. Attention all MIL: suck it.

    Standards are not slipping my love, but perhaps priorities are changing?

    ps - you owe us some new pics.

  11. I am on record as being anti-MIL because, godammnit, whatever it is that gets under your skin the most, THAT IS THE THING THEY WILL DO THE MOST. It's nature's way of ensuring that humans spread out to disperse within civilization. Or whatever.

    And also, Roccie has a point. Pictures, please.

  12. What a weird judgy thing for her to say, as if you have finally gotten your comeuppance by having a baby!

    Good freakin' lord.

  13. I dunno, perhaps I have allowed my standards to shift a bit. The other day I let my kid play with the cap that covers the screws that bolt the toilet to the floor, because holy erupting bladder I had to peeeee. Just sharing in case you ever have a desire to truly appall her.

  14. My MIL refers to herself as Nana while speaking to me. As if the third person shtick didn't make me crazy enough, let's just add in annoying nicknames that she insists on being called. Siiigh. I think all inlaws should be obliterated from our lives.