First Impressions

Is it wrong to hold someone’s neatness against them?  We had Kaylee’s playdate with G on Thursday.  The girls got along great.  They ran back and forth between the upstairs bedroom and the playroom just off the kitchen, while the mom (P) and I chatted.  The house was stylish and beautiful and spare and immaculate, with the only hint of clutter being photos and such stuck on the refrigerator.  Granted, I didn’t go upstairs, and P said that she hates to go up there, because her older boys don’t keep it as neat as she’d like, so maybe the upstairs is a different story, but it just felt… cold… and impersonal… and artificial.

P also turned me off a bit when she repeatedly spouted parenting techniques and such.  It sounded a bit as if she were brainwashed, and the way that she said it felt like she was saying “this is the right way”, thereby implying that if I wasn’t doing it that way, then I was doing it wrong.  And maybe I am doing it wrong, but that’s not something I really receive well from someone I just met.  She also came across as very image conscious and very driven, and it seemed like she really pushes her kids, much beyond just helping and encouraging.

Frankly, it seemed that we had nothing at all in common other than our kids, and I was pretty much ready to write her off as anything more than the mom of one of Kaylee’s friends.  But there was something in her eyes… when she talked about wanting more for her kids than what she’d had, and about it being hard to be away from her family and the area where she grew up, but that it was good to have a clean slate and not be running into things that triggered those memories all the time.  So I am hoping I do get a chance to actually know her a bit better, get to see behind her mask and get beyond the uptight supermom first impression… assuming she doesn’t run screaming if/when she ever gets a look at our version of a lived-in home. LOL


Melinda said…
I've had friends on both ends of the spectrum over the years. I have to say that I identify with the 'well lived-in' look more myself.

It sounds like there sure might be more to the story and that she needs a good friend or two.
Francine said…
I have a supermom-house-from-a-magazine-with-absolutely-no-soul-in-it- SIL.

She drives me bonkers.

I much prefer my rowdy kids, playing in my let's paint-this-wall-orange type of house.

But it still gets to me for some reason, when we've been there. Makes me feel... I don't know... inadequate? I *know* better, but still.

You need to move to Holland and live next to me :D
karin said…
Kim, the introspective look at this lady, and your willingness to get to know her based on your gut says so much about you! I love the lived-in look, myself .... however, I think I am an organizer of "stuff" to keep the mess reasonable. Perhaps walk the line right in between?

At any rate, I hope that you and she get to know each other well, and find many more things to have in common ....
Gina said…
It definitely sounds like super-neat-house mom needs a friend. And I'm willing to bet the "lived in" house won't scare her too much. Just read about your truck-meets-house incident (I've not been blog hopping in a while). I did that when I was a teenager. Scared my mom to death. Glad you'll be able to get it fixed in a way that fits the budget!

Oh, and you've been tagged:
Natalie said…
Have I really not checked your blog since Saturday? Man, getting your house ready to sell (LOL, I know *you* can appreciate what that means for me!) is such a time-suck.

So this was the much-anticipated playdate? Wow, how interesting. But I think there's a difference between those houses which are neat and tidy and still hold onto their life and breath, and those which are like Fransie's SIL's house.

Okay, gotta admit - I often think that being so...disorganized and not on top of things also lets (at least my) soul seep away, because I go into myself. The clutter just makes me shut down.

Uh...but anyway, I loved the latter part of your post because I just knew the first part wasn't the end of it. I hope that behind the supermom mask is a totally cool person with whom you can find some comfortable common ground.
my2boys said…
yeah...the kind of houses scare me a little bit...for many diff reasons. First it makes me wonder if anyone is allowed to Live and play there....and if you spend all your time cleaning...are you enjoying your kids. then I feel inadequate, lol...even though I shouldn't. She would def turn me off with the telling me the right way to raise kids thing, though. I am so glad that you are going to look into the person though...very cool. I hope you can bring her out of Stepford and get to know her a bit!

Angela said…
Well, this post was quite interesting. At first, I thought, Kim would hate me! (No, my house is NOT stylish and beautiful and spare and immaculate... but I do try to eliminate clutter!) Then I read the cold… and impersonal… and artificial, and I knew she wasn't talking about me! While I do try to be neat, I am not always the cleanest, and our house is certainly lived-in... every single square inch of it! LOL!

I like Karin's comment about walking the line in-between. For some people (like me) there is just too much chaos in clutter, and to have it cleaned up is soothing.

Anyway, reading about P makes me relate to her, and I love the fact that you are willing to get to know her a bit better!