Author Topic: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself  (Read 9307 times)

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SPuck

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Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« on: November 07, 2012, 10:20:22 AM »
http://www.mercurynews.com/ask-amy/ci_21928635/ask-amy-sudden-adolescent-estrangement-worries-dad

So on today's ask amy there is a letter about a future mother in law complaining about her future daughter in law not cleaning up after dinner. I know in my personal experience that I always clean up after myself at home, but when it comes to other people's houses at most I pit a dish next to the sink because you can never be entirely sure how they like to do. As for the sink thing that also rarely happens because more often than the host takes my plates.

As for an opinion on the letter writer herself. She isn't a potential future grumpy mother in law, red flags indicates she is already over bearing. She doesn't even refer to another specific person before she uses the royal we, just her family.  :P
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 11:34:33 AM by SPuck »

VorFemme

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 10:31:29 AM »
This is why a newlywed VorFemme asked her MIL if she wanted help in the kitchen or not - we negotiated that we cleaned up in our own kitchens, asking for help if we "needed" it - otherwise, we might come in and chat for a bit, but stayed out of the way (depended on the layout of the kitchen in that house - both of us have moved several times over the last 36+ years).

She is particular about her "good dishes" and where things are put - and since I prefer to put things where I can find them in my own kitchen, I can understand.  You *know* where you put your stuff - finding it after someone else has rearranged things by putting them away in the equivalent place where it is stored in their kitchen is confusing...and sometimes it takes a while to go through all the out of the way cupboards & drawers to find a particular not-so-large item...

As an example, your reusable shopping bags might have been trashed; washed; folded, & put in the linen closet; stuck in the trunk of the car; or used as "storage" containers....or even set up as a spare diaper bag.  None of those are folded up and placed in the "best" bag so that you can stick them behind your seat in the car to have handy to carry into the store, based on how many bags you expect to need on that trip.  Or the tapestry "library tote" might have all of the others put into it and it is now hanging on the coat rack....under three coats, a jacket, and a knitted cape.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

WillyNilly

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 10:35:34 AM »
Honestly 14 people all getting up and each individually taking their plates into the kitchen is the most obnoxious thing I can think of after a meal.  Crowded, messy, potential for breakage, etc.  Wow.  I wouldn't want to get involved in that either - not because I'm lazy, but because I'm reasonable and intelligent and polite!  The letter writer seems to be basing her whole opinion of this young woman on this one thing.  No mention of how compassionate she is, or how financially successful, or how intelligent, or whether she's a good conversationalist, nothing.  Just "she doesn't clear the table at my home along with over a dozen other people crowding the kitchen!"  She doesn't even allow for the idea that maybe such a huge family gathering was intimidating or overwhelming for the young woman.

(PS your link doesn't work, one needs a subscription to the Chicago Tribune to read Ask Amy, I had to google and read it on the Denver Post site)

Yvaine

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 10:41:05 AM »
I'm going to agree that the future MIL sounds like a pill. Every family does this differently and you never know what "rituals" someone else was raised with. You can't just decide someone is awful because they do things differently, if you haven't directly communicated your wishes. Maybe the fiancee's family just lingers and talks longer at the table before stampeding to the kitchen, who knows?

And I wonder if the MIL helps clear the table when she visits the fiancee!
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 10:47:18 AM by Yvaine »

rigs32

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 10:46:51 AM »
If MIL is unwilling to ask, she cannot expect this young woman to be a mind reader.  She also apparently expects her son to instruct her on what to do.  She needs to address this directly.  I'm guessing the young woman picks up on MILs opinion but isn't quite sure why she is disliked.

Jones

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 10:56:34 AM »
If MIL is unwilling to ask, she cannot expect this young woman to be a mind reader.  She also apparently expects her son to instruct her on what to do.  She needs to address this directly.  I'm guessing the young woman picks up on MILs opinion but isn't quite sure why she is disliked.

This.
Also, MIL made a point of saying she was part of a "big Italian family", so the future DIL may think it's simply the fact she is different. She probably thinks MIL is bigoted and is doing soul searching as to whether she wants to be part of the family and whether she'll ever be accepted. She probably has no clue as to what she's doing wrong because no one has told her.

SPuck

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 11:35:50 AM »
(PS your link doesn't work, one needs a subscription to the Chicago Tribune to read Ask Amy, I had to google and read it on the Denver Post site)

I'm not quite sure why that happens. It works for me though I am not signed up. Changed the link.

WillyNilly

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 12:07:20 PM »
(PS your link doesn't work, one needs a subscription to the Chicago Tribune to read Ask Amy, I had to google and read it on the Denver Post site)

I'm not quite sure why that happens. It works for me though I am not signed up. Changed the link.

Aww shucks, I didn't mean it as a criticism, so much as an FYI for others, but thanks!  :D

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 12:09:41 PM »
I don't think we have enough information.  The future MIL sounds like a pill, but if she's right in her description, I also can't imagine being the one person who remains seated at the table while everyone else around me are clearing up. 

BeagleMommy

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 12:10:39 PM »
This MIL sounds a lot like my aunt who got her knickers in a twist because a visitor to her home didn't know the rule that "you're not allowed to sit in the good living room".

POD to those who've said the future DIL can't read minds.

Yvaine

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 12:14:19 PM »
This MIL sounds a lot like my aunt who got her knickers in a twist because a visitor to her home didn't know the rule that "you're not allowed to sit in the good living room".

POD to those who've said the future DIL can't read minds.

One BF's mother in my history had an arbitrary number of visits after which you switched from "guest" to "family," but didn't discuss that magic dividing line until I'd already messed up and she could criticize. The first few times I visited, I tried to help after the meal and was told to sit down because I was a guest. Then, after I'd passed the magic threshold without knowing it, I did just stay seated after a meal and was chastised for not helping. I wonder if this is a situation like that. You can't have magic secret rules and expect that everyone else knows them. It's like expecting that everyone else knows that if you say yes after the second time cake is offered, you're greedy, but if you say no after the third offer, you're snubbing the cake.

Donovan

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 12:14:48 PM »
Every family does it different and does things differently. 

For instance the LW states that 'everybody knows the cook doesn't clear'".  I don't know who 'everybody' is, but they don't live at my house.

She needs to ask her to help clean up if it is so important to her to have 15 people tromping through the kitchen.

She should be focusing on how happy her son is with the future DIL, as it looks like she is going to be his wife.

heartmug

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 12:19:55 PM »
Every family does it different and does things differently. 

For instance the LW states that 'everybody knows the cook doesn't clear'".  I don't know who 'everybody' is, but they don't live at my house.

She needs to ask her to help clean up if it is so important to her to have 15 people tromping through the kitchen.

She should be focusing on how happy her son is with the future DIL, as it looks like she is going to be his wife.

POD!  Is her son happy and is this the only "flaw" with the girl?  Things could be worse.

Or just open your mouth and politely ask her "Would you mind taking your dishes to the sink?"
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

Emmy

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 12:39:06 PM »
I don't think we have enough information.  The future MIL sounds like a pill, but if she's right in her description, I also can't imagine being the one person who remains seated at the table while everyone else around me are clearing up.

I agree.  As a new person at family gatherings, it isn't always easy to assimilate into traditions that the family may have.  The MIL mentions that she didn't take her own dish because 'everybody know the cook doesn't clear'.  That kind of thing may be traditions in some families, but isn't common knowledge to everybody.  I think most people in DIL's situation would have made an effort to help, but I can see why she would feel uncomfortable trying to squeeze in a crowded kitchen, not knowing where to put the dirty dishes, and feeling generally awkward and in the way.  It also sounds as if the future MIL is judging her as unworthy her based on the failure to clear the table alone without considering her other qualities.  It reminds me of a 'test' that a guy I know said he performed on a woman on a first date.  If he opened the car door for her and she didn't lean over to open the door for him, apparently she was unworthy to date.  These little things alone are not enough to make a fair judgement of a person.  The future DIL may very well be lazy, but it seems like the MIL is using only this to draw her conclusion.

I agree with Amy that MIL and her family enjoy gossiping about the outsider.  I wouldn't be surprised if this story stayed in the family for years to come.  If MIL really resents DIL not cleaning up, maybe she could request specific assistance either before or after dinner such as setting the table before dinner or pouring drinks and bringing them to the guests.

SPuck

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Re: Today's ask amy or cleaning up after yourself
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2012, 12:52:32 PM »
I was just wondering, if you take the family/closeness out of the situation, isn't a host expected to clean up after everyone, barring a disaster or accident?