“Mom! I can’t believe this! How could you?”
I hear my daughter’s panicked questions coming from the other room.
“What happened? Why did you do this? You’ve got to put it back!”
Rolling my eyes and laying down my laptop, I get up and go into the kitchen, knowing what the problem is before I even walk into the room. There I see my 16 year-old daughter standing with all the kitchen cabinet doors flung open. The bewildered look on her face and the hands flailing about her head, tell me she is not happy with what she sees.
When she notices that she has my attention, the shrills begin again, “What have you done? This is no good, no good at all! You can’t keep changing the cabinets. The cups don’t go near the plastic bowls, and all the plates are suppose to be on the same shelf! Please tell me you haven’t changed the stuff in the drawers. Aagh! You moved the silverware! Change it back! Change it back!”
Oh, brother, I think to myself, and then reassuring her I say, “It’s fine. I just moved around some things to make it more convenient for me.” Rolling her eyes, she takes her Oreo and leaves the room. This is a familiar episode we go through any time I decide to rearrange the cabinets, or the furniture, or if I turn the kitchen table in a different direction. My kids act like I have committed some heinous crime. What’s that about?
Is their childhood so unstable that they have to hold on to every steady fixture or utensil that has ever crossed their paths? I don’t believe it is. We have lived in the same place for 25 years, we’ve been going to the same church for 10 years, their Dad has had the same job for 35 years, and they’ve attended home school all of their life with me, their stay-at-home mom, as their teacher. How much more steady could their lives be?
Regardless, this is my kitchen; I do all of the cooking and most of the cleaning. The only time my kids like to come into the kitchen is when I am fixing them something to eat and they are waiting on me to fill their plates.
I used to be more sympathetic. I didn’t want to damage them in some way that would cause them to fail in life. But now seven of my nine kids are grown, and I decided it really doesn’t matter how careful you are with their psyche, they all turn out a little screwy anyway. (hee, hee... oh wait, maybe I am the problem)
I’m just kidding on that point. I know that parents are responsible for some of their children’s idiosyncrasies (hopefully, we are their biggest influence, after all). And I think it’s obvious to this self-proclaimed doctor of psychology, that children are affected by change. However, when that change is done in my domain, they need to be able to accept it.
I do not go into their bedrooms and make them change them to suit me. There are some requirements of keeping a half-decent room, but other than that, they are free to arrange and rearrange their rooms any way they would like.
Maybe I should inform them that if they want to help more in the kitchen, then I would allow them to have an input into the way it’s arranged or not rearranged. But since that’s not going to happen, I will continue to move things around the way I like them. And I’m sure they will continue to complain about where things are…or aren’t.