I love a family get together just as much as everyone else but my vision of a Norman Rockwall Painting when having my family over looks more like a Clark Griswald Family Christmas! Why? Well not everyone works as hard at getting along with each other as Cindy and I would like. My niece Stephaney Mahaney and daughter in law Stephanie Hafele often butt heads with my son jumping on his wife’s side. All of the adult children accuse each other of being “spoiled.” If you ask my son who is the most spoiled he will quickly answer Leigh Ann. But, if you ask Leigh Ann she will say Robert! Trying to keep a peaceful visit around here is like trying to stomp out a forest fire with bare feet. Don’t get me wrong I love my family but trying to teach them the value of having each other after I’m gone is far more difficult than you may think.
While we may look like we love being with each other all the time- looks can be deceiving with snarky comments and high hatted opinions by a few know it all types in my family. I call it a melting pot but it can just as easily be described as a pot boiling over. With flaring tempers between my son and his wife in the caravan of suv’s, I’m often the driver AND the referee. Someone always has something to complain about from “your seat is too far back” to “that radio station is from the Stone Age” to “I’m hungry why can’t we stop and get something to eat?!” Everyone calls me bossy but someone has to be leading this marching band with everyone wanting to take a different parade route and, that someone is me.
When I tell my son this or that about his wife, he sides with her and biting my tongue has this Texas Twins half ready to go down the list of all the things she does that bother me to no end. I can’t say anything without making myself look like “the bad guy.”
Many of my loyal readers don’t know that #Cindyisms pop into my twin sisters head everytime our family gets together. Simply observing gives her new material everyday. Her latest #Cindyism sums things up “stop hanging your laundry on my clothesline.” What does it really mean? Don’t call me because your mom got upset about this or that- work it out.
This afternoon I read a text from my daughter in law asking me to run over to their house (one block from mine) and take out their trash “because I’m at a movie and don’t have time!” As if I have nothing better to do than run around the corner doing the one thing my son asked her to do while he’s at work. I put my trash out the night before because I realize that the trash schedule here is at 7AM. A little planning and forethought would go a long way with my daughter in law.
Just when you think I’m exaggerating, she does something else to trump herself. How many daughter in laws do you know that aren’t sick or recovering from surgery that would make such an outrageous request?! Next she will ask me to come clean her house. She once told me that “washing clothes is too much work- I’m considering throwing all of our clothes out and buying new ones.” It isn’t easy to shock me and yet, she does it all the time.
Observing my overworked and over stressed son getting no help whatsoever at the HafeleHouse, I’m hard pressed to zip it but, I try. My son goes to work at 6AM every morning to Mr G’s Carpets where he works in the warehouse and as a driver Monday-Friday. On Friday evenings he puts out signs for McBee Homes that he picks up on Sunday night. Scheduled events for Texas Twins Events & The Pawning Planners are often on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. He has no time for anything other than a quick bite, video game and sleep.
You would think that since Stephanie isn’t working, she might be busy tending to their home and planning meals or making a sack lunch and, you would be wrong.
I’m a little different than my daughter in law in that I believe in keeping a clean house and ensuring all of my husbands needs are met with hot meals and clean clothes along with a hearty breakfast and a hot dinner. Taking care of your partner isn’t “optional.” In most marriages- it’s a requirement.
When they married years ago, the constant argument regarding homemaking and house cleaning often ended with my daughter in law screaming “I’m not your mother!” Of course not since I’m an overachiever and even find time to volunteer at numerous charities. I’ve never had me entire day to sit “idly” with no responsibilities and, I would be bored to tears if I did. Laziness has no place in my life.
While even I know I’m OCD, I clean my home at least twice a week whether it needs it or not. I’m from a military family and believe in order for everything involved in my life. From going to bed at 10PM every night to washing clothes, writing blogs, scheduling my calendar and even visiting my friends and family- I live on a schedule. Every aspect of my day is on a timeline which is why I rarely watch tv. I have no time for such frivolity and between running my businesses, meeting with clients, helping others and volunteering my time when needed- going back to school to add real estate to The Pawning Planners brand keeps me fairly busy.
I enjoy my clients and time spent with my family but with the chaos of business and family- control over my household is important to me since my clients and family can sometimes be unpredictable. Cleaning and cooking give me peace and structure. Rising at 6AM to start breakfast and water my plants prior to walkng my dog, laying around has no place in my life.
Our Little Pawners have chores at both Cindy and my home and are paid an allowance for contributing. Stephanie always tells me that since she was raised by her grandmother, chores and other contributions were never expected of her. Real Life requires that you put something in if you expect to get something back.My twin sister is primarily concerned about her twin granddaughters having perfect outfits and having a happy fulfilled childhood. From good grades to activities, Maryssa & Makenna are always “dressed for success!” From their heads to their toes- Cindy coordinates everything they wear from one day to the next. For nearly 12 years, my sister has put her granddaughters before everything else in her life and sacrificed in order to give them everything they need. If you ask my saucy sidekick Cindy Daniel about cleaning the house she will advise you to “throw that book in the trash!” Why? Because Cindy prefers to have a good time and has a valid point “our kids and grandkids won’t care how clean our houses are but they will care about happy memories and fun.” Cindy’s right because everyone loves going to her house and visits to mine require that you clean up after yourself or I will for you. My family adjust visits to my home or Cindy’s accordingly and if you are visiting my home, you are expected to eat. I’m always cooking and cleaning and believe in feeding my guests. Although the Little Pawners, Maryssa & Makenna love to come for a few nights a week, other members of my family think I run a strict household and, maybe I do. Planning picnics and activities to keep the twins busy, I believe that constant activity rather than couch potatoe lounging are good for you and plan for everyday the kids are here. After a whirlwind weekend of activities, I walked to my son and daughter in laws home this morning to get the camera and disc in order to print film and CDs for our weekend event. Visiting my son’s home aka HafeleHouse, I’m rarely invited in. Why? Because my daughter in law is not a homemaker! Cooking and cleaning are at the bottom of her list with social activities taking priority. While my son works 2 jobs, Mr G’s Carpets (for his father) McBee Homes (for my husband) and Texas Twins Events/The Pawning Planners (for me) his wife Stephanie hasn’t held a job in quite a while. Stephanie decided to go to school and advised me of her busy schedule “breakfast with Amanda then taking her to work, lunch with my grandma and dinner with my dad.” Amanda has her own car but I decided not to point that out while standing in the front yard and instead watched my daughter in law march into the house and grab my camera prior to handing it to me and slamming the door! On Sunday I asked my daughter in law, Stephanie Hafele if she could upload the photos to FB for the three ladies who hired us to perform a “Friendship Ceremony.” Three days later, I see no photos in the timeline. My son and daughter in law seem to think that I “rush them” to edit and upload photos and because of this- I’m doing it myself. After five years of trying to have a relationship with my daughter in law- I’ve basically given up! She puts everything in her life ahead of my son. Her friends, her activities and even her homemaking skills have me begging my son not to add a baby into the mix. After my niece had a baby- the idea of Stephanie Hafele having one was perhaps one of the most ridiculous ideas she’s approached me with yet. My son is overwhelmed and overworked and while Stephanie has a full schedule of fun- my son works in a warehouse 40 hours a week on top of everything else he does to support his wife! The yard hasn’t been mowed in some time but, if you ask Stephanie about it she will tell you that she’s yelled at Robert about it but more importantly, has taken no steps herself to do any yard work. I’m at a loss for trying to have a good relationship with my daughter in law because I give and give and give but apparently any and all of the sacrifices I’ve made to help my son and his wife are invisible to Stephanie. Why? Because she’s a narcisstic and self centered human being who will need to grow up before considering bring a parent! My son can’t continue to do everything without having any help. Marriage is a commitment and it’s a partnership. If both of you are not giving it’s simply not going to work or fix anything by adding a child who will have needs of their own and while my son understands this- my daughter in law never will. If telling her the truth makes me a meddling mother in law, so be it. Speaking to my niece Leigh Ann Blais yesterday on speaker phone with my twin sister, we were both concerned about Leigh Ann’s apprehension regarding their move from San Diego to Lemoore California. Apparently, Leigh Ann is very upset about leaving Sunny San Diego to move to Sandy Lemoore for three years but, that’s the Navy Life and as a Navy Wife she will need to adjust. Cindy and I have tried to instill the ability to be a homemaker for all three of our adult children including my son. Eating out everyday on a Sailor’s pay is an expensive and costly endeavor for the Blais family and we are hoping that anchoring down and saving for the fun things my niece wants to do while in California for three years (Sea World, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, etc) is on their list in order to budget accordingly and enjoy their time there.
Although their time in San Diego was cut short from two months to five weeks, Cindy and I explained that we would love a month in San Diego and to try and act like you’re on an extended holiday. After all, we researched Lemoore and it’s only 34 minutes from Fresno.
As children, Cindy and I along with our baby brother, Jerry Lee spent summers with my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Albert in Desert Center. We actually were in the “middle of nowhere” and still had a great time.
Perception is everything when you are living the Navy Life. But, adjusting to leaving home after 31 years has been a true transition for my niece who would love to come home and surrounded by family and familiarity. We miss her and the baby immensely but as parents we have to occasionally push our children out of the nest!At 8 months old, Madyson is already exhibiting a fun and outgoing personality that mimicked her mother. We miss this saucy Latest Little Pawner everyday and are looking forward to seeing them soon.
The fact is that you can’t live your children’s lives for them and even though you do whatever you can to push them in the right direction, they won’t always listen to your advice and sometimes avoid you because even they realize you know what you’re talking about.
My husband constantly watches the news and talks to me about politics. Many of our clients and friends ask me about religion and politics- I never discuss either and my reasons are that 50 percent may agree and 50 percent may disagree which would provoke an argument. Because of this I keep my opinions to myself.Ceremonies that include religion are at my clients request and I’m happy to discuss options with you but please don’t ask me about political views.
My daughter in law loves to bring up topics she doesn’t understand and I quickly change the subject to keep from arguing because as we all know- she won’t take my advice anyway…
Wendy M Wortham
Comments by Wendy Wortham