The scene: Friday, late afternoon. My house is a pit as per usual during that particular time of the week. X is napping. The big kids are at a movie with my mom. I choose work over a plethora of options that could occupy my time (because I don’t want to spend 8-10 hours working on Sunday, that’s why).
Shell: Is it okay if come hang with you for a while before we head out tonight?
Me: Um, sure. My house is a shit hole but as long as you don’t care, come on over.
Shell: HA! I’ll see you in a bit.
(Enter Shell- who I’ve known for forever.)
Shell and I chat (topics of discussion: attempts to swim in the Missouri River, allergies, That’s What She Said, Hunger Games, our kids) while I finish up work. Then I hurriedly begin to tidy before my mom drops off the kids. Shell may not care, my mom will.
The scene: Shell is in the living room, I’m darting back and forth between there and the kitchen. The children and my mother arrive home much sooner than I’d anticipated. My house is nowhere near tidy enough. Shit.
My Mom: Hi Shell!
(Mom looks around, a look of horror, disgust, and disappointment cloud her face. I sigh internally. Mom walks into the dining room to unload her purse full of movie snacks.)
Mom (whispers): Oh Kell! I feel so sorry for you!
Mom (whispering): Did you know she was coming over? Or did she just drop by?
Me: I sort of knew, like 20 minutes before she got here.
Mom: Your house!
Me: It’s okay, she doesn’t care.
Mom (in disgust): Well you should!
Me (wandering back to the living room): Hey, Shell? Would you please reassure my mother that my house being a cluttered mess does not affect your judgement of me or her and that you don’t really care?
Shell (brightly): She has three kids! It’s fine!
Mom (clearly horrified): Uh-huh.
This part of our play hasn’t actually happened yet, as I’ve avoided talking to my mother all weekend! When we do speak I will be chastised for: my abysmal housekeeping skills (or total lack thereof), allowing a friend to come over when my house looked that way, not giving a rat’s patoot about what Shell thinks, for drawing attention to my mom’s obvious disdain for the situation, and for not being properly embarrassed. She will be huffy and haughty and judgy. I will be irritated and reminded of why I’m (back) in therapy in the first place.