Opinion: Service: A language of love
Why does my family hate me? Why, after I’ve been gone all day at work, must I come home to find two kids on an Oreo-crumbed couch, one hiding out in her disaster of a room and the other ensconced in a five-hour Xbox extravaganza while, quite literally, the house is dying a slow, agonizing death as it suffocates under cups of congealed milk, bowls of fruit-fly-infested cherries, tufts of random stuffing from a half-eaten dog toy and an avalanche of “New School Supplies!” debris? Why, dear Lord, why, can’t they think of their poor overwhelmed mother, and just for once, Pick. The heck. Up.
I get it. They’re kids with bigger and better agendas. Keeping the kitchen clean and the hallways navigable are clearly at the bottom of their “Consider Doing” lists, along with brushing their teeth and folding laundry. But my husband Doo isn’t any better. He’ll spend hours organizing the garage or the refrigerator, but won’t waste one minute on picking up a wet towel. I’ve actually seen him walk right past a countertop covered in a questionable orange “substance”, plop his computer bag down in the middle of the floor, and continue on upstairs to bed. Arghh!!!
I’ve tried passive-aggressive whining, scary-mommy screaming, and on occasion, stink-eye staring, but nothing seems to work. Even when I remind my family that my love language is “Service,” meaning I feel loved when someone completes a task for me, I receive little more than a patronizing smile. Seriously, how hard is it to toss the empty milk jug? If they can hug, they can recycle!
Over the summer, the house was immaculate. My kids did their chores, I constantly tidied and everyone was happy. Now that we’re back in school, there’s no time for dishes or vacuuming or stray Pop-Tart wrappers. So I’m stuck with unmade beds, a dining room table covered in pencil shavings, and a family who apparently enjoys watching me go red-head crazy. I know they aren’t slobs on purpose, and deep-down I’m certain they love me, but lately it sure feels like hate!