Mother Clutter

**God determines who walks into your life…it’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.  God doesn’t intend for them to be in our lives forever.  It’s the lessons in those relationships He intends for us to keep.

Mother Clutter

Feeling anxious about throwing away a perfectly good whipped topping bowl?
Does going to bed without doing the dishes leave you sleepless with guilt?
Are you feeling like a failure because your apartment is a mess?

Take a minute and revel in the notion that this is not your fault—it’s your mom’s. Okay, back to reality. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is only you can fix it. Sometimes in order to address a problem, we need to know where it came from first.

For many of us, we hear our mother’s voice somewhere in our subconscious telling us not to be wasteful or messy and to clean our rooms. Mothers who take their parenting seriously understand it is their responsibility to teach us the rules of the adult world and how to take care of ourselves.

When moms do their jobs well they instill in us a Superego. This is part of the Id-Ego-Superego construct put forth by Freud. The Id is the part of us wants to satisfy basic urges like food and sex. The Superego is our conscious that tells us what we “ought” to do. Our Ego is stuck in the middle, trying to satisfy with Id within the rules of the Superego.

My favorite example of how the Id-Ego-Superego all work together was presented by Dr. Narina Nunez while at The University of Wyoming. This is very much a paraphrase but it went something like this:

You see an attractive person.  Your Id says, “I want to have sex right now.” Your Superego says, “Sex before marriage is wrong.” Your Ego says, “Well, at least let’s go over there and say ‘hello.'”

Following this idea, when we come home and kick our shoes off, drop our coat on the floor, and leave dirty dishes in front of the television, we have completely given in to our Id. The Id hates rules. The person with an overly strong Superego is an anal retentive person, which we have all had to deal with in our lives or very well might be them.  The Superego believes that following the rules and “being good” proves an individual to be worthy of love and respect.

When it comes to clutter, let your Ego do the talking. Don’t let everything go, but don’t worry about perfection. I am a firm believer in the idea of “good enough.” My friends will often comment on how clean my house always is. I look around and see dozens of things I need to do when I can get to them, like washing the blinds or cleaning the ceiling fan. However, if other people can look at my house and things appear clean and orderly, it’s “good enough.”

My mother’s voice is quite insensible. My Superego is intact, but I do not think it rules my Ego with an iron fist. I know that many people do not have the astounding good luck to have been raised by reasonable people. If your mother’s voice is too loud and demanding, nothing you do is “good enough.” This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. It can also lead to unrealistic expectations.

These problems can result in one of two extremes: Breaking your back trying to keep your living space perfect or simply giving up because it will never be “good enough” to satisfy your Superego. This is when the emotional consequences of clutter can come in.

My advice: Unless you and your mother still live together, it is time for your voice to be louder than hers in your head. Take the good lessons she taught you, decide what you believe is reasonable for you and start managing the stuff in your life the way you want to, not the way you think you should.

Remember:  you are YOU, and NOT your mother!

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