A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

My daughter isn’t a complainer.

Nope, mama’s lil millennial is wearing her big girl panties, tackling life’s bumps and bruises all on her own, thousands of miles away and (*beams) I marvel at her self-possession quite often.  So naturally it was with marked amusement that while chatting over the long-distance lines she began complaining about her roommates and their (wait for it) inability to (are you sitting down?) clean up after themselves.  I know, right?  (*pours tea, gets comfortable)  Let’s go!

Since I was unable to storm her castle and shake my finger at those inconsiderate co-habitants I merely listened (and covered my mouthpiece to mask any sounds of enjoyment — a bonus: she couldn’t see my eyes trail upward while mouthing “Thank you” to the heavens either).  For sure, my exasperation with the Teenage Girl Messy Room of Stuff has been well documented throughout the years:  a quick scroll of my gallery could easily display our epic Battle of Adolescence.  I knew it was the wrong takeaway from her frustration but this was a karma-tastic moment, and I was here for it.

I allowed her the time to vent.  And plan.  And vent some more.  And she promised to call back when she figured it out.

In the end she did what she always does and got through her dilemma in a smart, shrewd manner.  She did collectively address the guilty squad but only after first bolstering her argument by cleaning up the place to a spit-shine level, then tossing the baton mop and tapping out.  Sort of  a Tag, You’re It!  kind of way.

As I listened to her it brought me back to my own uncomfortable roommate intervention when I was about her age.  My household foursome would typically divide and conquer our food shopping each week and attack the thankless task in duos: one week my bedroom-mate and I went, the next, the other two would go.

My cohort and I — fiercely frugal, coupon clipping and sale item sniffing — prided ourselves on packing the cupboards and divvying up the reasonable bill four ways.  Conversely, when the other pair returned on their bi-weekly excursions, it always seemed we were shelling out similar amounts of money … yet constantly running out of food (and Tab) by Wednesdays.  We started paying closer attention and it kept happening.

I cannot lie: it took some gumption and a fair amount of seething behind closed doors before ultimately getting to the showdown.

Umm, can we see the receipt?  we finally asked.

Umm, sure?  was their confused, kinda pissed reply.

And there it was, in black and white and more than disturbing.  It was stupefying, actually.  Worse than the lack of sale items purchased was the collection of oh-my-God-why-would-you-ever-go-to-a-supermarket-for mascara and other health and beauty products that had evidently found a home right in their bedroom.

Umm, paging the awkward police.

Indeed, it erupted into an expected are you freaking me kidding me discussion but in the end, it actually turned out okay.  There was no duplicitous or malicious motive. Really. Not even a little. The not-quite-embezzling twosome were (no disrespect here) just a couple of clueless airheads, with zero sense of wrongdoing and had assumed we’d been doing the same all along (because, again, clueless).  To them it was no big deal and they wouldn’t have cared if we had in fact, been stockpiling our Revlon Frosted Brownie.  (Side note: clueless airheads go on to become attorneys and therapists so kids, stay in school).

Anyway it all worked out, the air got cleared and we lived happily ever after (until the cops raided our apartment but that’s a story for another day).  My point: no friendships were harmed in the making of this cautionary tale of coming clean.  The same happened for my daughter’s band of happy housemates.

Still, parental pride being what it is, I’m glad my big gal donning her big-girl panties did her thing and found her gumption, too.  It’s not easy bringing up uncomfortable topics with people you like (and have the opportunity to leave your bathroom a bio hazard).  But it was nice to be her sounding board and witness her maturity and thoughtfulness in bloom.

It’s even better knowing that big kids still need their moms every now and then, even if just to vent or run things by them (and their dads, too, but you know, for Venmo).

So excuse me while I go shake a finger at the inconsiderate co-habitants still squatting in my own house.

It hasn’t worked yet but you can’t blame a mom for trying, right?

(and to prove her prideful progression … imma just leave this here…)

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Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and has been featured in Huff Post.  She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone” presenting her popular essay The Thinking Girl’s Thong and her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series. That said, she still places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements (next would be as the $100,000 winner on that home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook  &  @Eyerollingmom on Instagram.  Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found  here (agent interest ALWAYS WELCOME!)


10 thoughts on “A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

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