What was your parents attitude towards housework, household chores ........

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stasia

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Oh boy. This is a very complicated and fraught question for me.

My M hated to clean. She spent a lot of time shouting at F and me for not helping her enough around the house, for not seeing what needed to be done and doing it without being asked. "It looks like a s**thouse in here and no one cares but me!" was a frequent statement, as was, "You don't understand, stasia - if the house is a mess, it doesn't reflect on you. It doesn't reflect on your father. It reflects on ME, everyone is going to blame ME for the house not looking nice because I am a woman!"

I don't recall being formally assigned chores, and recently, I realized that I have no memory of being taught how to clean - and it's something I struggle with to this day, how to clean a home efficiently without missing some spots of dirt and dust. I guess she just expected me to somehow know?

These days, her housekeeping has completely gone to hell; she hoards and doesn't clean because she is "too overwhelmed" and "no one is helping her." She's blamed me for the hoarding on more than one occasion, as apparently it's my job to sell all her unwanted crap online for exorbitant amounts of money and if I would just do that for her, her house would be clean and organized. I did try, for many years. No one would pay the prices she wanted. This of course was my fault too somehow, apparently. I don't know how I'm supposed to make total strangers want to pay lots of money for hoarded crap that smells like cat pee?

This affects me to this day; I recently went through a couple of really stressful weeks because we had some clean-freak houseguests staying with us for a weekend. I am in my 40s and still not confident in my ability to adequately clean a home. I feel judged for not being a good housekeeper and am reluctant to have people over at all unless I know for certain that they're messier than me. I spent 2 hours scrubbing our very small bathroom for fear I'd leave a speck of grime somewhere - which of course, as I explained to Boyfriend, would reflect on me and not him because I am a woman...... and then just FROZE because those were M's words coming out of my mouth.

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Mug

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When I was a kid, my mom was overweight, and it really affected her sense of self-worth. She thought because she wasn't thin, everybody hated her, like some weird cult. But, she also thought that if she was a really good Mom and housewife, people couldn't hate her for her weight. In her mind, it balanced it. So, she cleaned the house every week. I mean, she dusted each piece of decor individually, and then would pull the furniture out and vacuum under it. This was done to every room once a week. My mom also tidied up the house everyday and vacuumed every room, and some rooms were vacuumed twice a day. This of course made no sense, because we didn't use the living room; according to my mom, the living room was for company only. If we sat the couch or chair, we had to fluff up the cushions. Eventually, when my brother and I got older, we had to help, and we had to keep our rooms clean. We, too, had to completely clean our individual items and move the furniture once a week. We also had to help with the landscaping, which was usually kept up with. When my mom started exercising and losing the weight, she shifted her focus to being as thin as possible. She became obsessed with exercising and counting calories. We were yelled at for how much we ate and what we ate in front of her. She said it was rude to eat like that in front of her. Now, she's so busy going to the gym and getting ready to go places (it takes her about 4 hours to get ready to go ANYWHERE), she claims she doesn't have time to clean. Also, even though she basically lives by herself because my dad is always working, she claims she's not the one making the mess and that she cleaned up after everyone for so long, she shouldn't have to clean it up anyways. Which is hypocritical, because if she is messy, she just hasn't gotten around to cleaning it yet. If anyone else is messy, we're lazy, and we just expect her to do everything. She also hoards stuff, and now it is somehow my problem to help sort through it all now that she wants to move. So, on Saturday, my husband and I have to take our toddler to go sort through my parent's attic for hours. So excited!!! :sadno:

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Hazy111

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Just shows you, everything imaginable  is not normal and dysfunctional in a PD home. Everything is a drama and traumatic for the child and leaves its mark

I hate cleaning to this day and loathe ironing and never got the routine of it all.

My sis who i believe is a uBPD queen lives in a "showhome".  Its spotless . As she needs to impress when people visit.

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daughterofbpd

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Oh boy. This is a very complicated and fraught question for me.

My M hated to clean. She spent a lot of time shouting at F and me for not helping her enough around the house, for not seeing what needed to be done and doing it without being asked. "It looks like a s**thouse in here and no one cares but me!" was a frequent statement, as was, "You don't understand, stasia - if the house is a mess, it doesn't reflect on you. It doesn't reflect on your father. It reflects on ME, everyone is going to blame ME for the house not looking nice because I am a woman!"

I don't recall being formally assigned chores, and recently, I realized that I have no memory of being taught how to clean - and it's something I struggle with to this day, how to clean a home efficiently without missing some spots of dirt and dust. I guess she just expected me to somehow know?

These days, her housekeeping has completely gone to hell; she hoards and doesn't clean because she is "too overwhelmed" and "no one is helping her." She's blamed me for the hoarding on more than one occasion, as apparently it's my job to sell all her unwanted crap online for exorbitant amounts of money and if I would just do that for her, her house would be clean and organized. I did try, for many years. No one would pay the prices she wanted. This of course was my fault too somehow, apparently. I don't know how I'm supposed to make total strangers want to pay lots of money for hoarded crap that smells like cat pee?

This affects me to this day; I recently went through a couple of really stressful weeks because we had some clean-freak houseguests staying with us for a weekend. I am in my 40s and still not confident in my ability to adequately clean a home. I feel judged for not being a good housekeeper and am reluctant to have people over at all unless I know for certain that they're messier than me. I spent 2 hours scrubbing our very small bathroom for fear I'd leave a speck of grime somewhere - which of course, as I explained to Boyfriend, would reflect on me and not him because I am a woman...... and then just FROZE because those were M's words coming out of my mouth.
Oh boy, can I relate to this. I was actually wondering if the extreme anxiety I get over cleaning (before having people over) is a CPTSD symptom.

My M would tell me that I had to do a chore (or chores?) when she left for work. I would ask her what I should clean and she would always say that I needed to figure it out for myself. Well, big surprise, I always guessed WRONG. And I always did the chore wrong as well, despite no one ever showing me how to do it. I remember her judging other people for small details like the base of the toilet being dirty. When I had my first apartment, I worked my butt off to fix it up to have family over the first time. Instead of being proud of me, she commented that my window tracks were dirty. :-[

Before this past holiday, I kept having anxiety over not being able to get this or that clean enough. I have a clear vision of M telling me that the family didn't want to celebrate any more holidays at my house because it was dirty and unpleasant to be at. That didn't actually happen though.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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daughterofbpd

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Forgot to answer the questions about sibs! GC Sis and I are 10 years apart so I can't really compare but Sis is also a perfectionist so I'm guessing it was much the same for her.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
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HeadAboveWater

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I lived primarily with my mother. She did not assign regular chores. Nor did she do much around the house herself, except for prepare meals and do dishes. So, every once in a while, we'd have a mad push over the weekend to get bedrooms and bathrooms cleaned up. It was a relief when she hired a cleaner to assist with the vacuuming and scrubbing. I learned to do my own ironing by age 8 and started washing laundry by the time I was 11 because otherwise it never got done. So it went through my childhood and teen years; if there was a household task that needed doing and my mom wasn't doing it, I just understood that, as the older child, I needed to take care of it.

My father did not assign chores either; he just demanded things get done with no pre-warning. There was never any transition period or regard for other priorities. My sibling and I, presented with a list of things to be done immediately, would then squabble over which tasks each of us wanted to take on.

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zephyrblue

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My father did not assign chores either; he just demanded things get done with no pre-warning. There was never any transition period or regard for other priorities. My sibling and I, presented with a list of things to be done immediately, would then squabble over which tasks each of us wanted to take on.

Ugh!  This is one of the parenting issues that contributed to me moving out of my partner's house.  He has 50/50 custody with his uBPDex.  She actually can maintain a schedule, albeit with a lot of drama.  My partner has trouble with routine.  It's like he can only manage so much of it.  (I suspect he has ADHD.)   So when it came to having a schedule or routine for cleaning and chores for the kids--we're talking about age-appropriate tasks here--he refused to do it.  Flat-out refused.  Instead he'd decide all of the sudden that some chore needed to be done, and one of the kids should do it right now.  It was bizarre.  Naturally, the kids balked.  No one likes to be told to drop what they're doing and do a chore RIGHT NOW. 

I tried to discuss this with my partner, about how having a schedule or at least giving the kids a time window (i.e.  "Before you go to bed, please do XYZ.") would reduce the pushback and levels of conflict and teach the kids how to manage their time.  Nope.  He was going to do it his way.  I was weird and rigid in his eyes.  Whatever, dude.  Too bad he didn't notice that when I followed my own advice, I got little pushback from the kids.

Thus ends this brief threadjacking.  Please, continue. :)

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JustKathy

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I wasn't allowed to do any chores, even though I wanted to. I made my own bed in the morning, but that was it, and NM would always come in and "fix" it after I left for school. NM was a neat-freak who insisted on doing everything herself. If I asked to help, she'd tell me no, I'd screw it all up.

I'm not sure if this was an attempt to control things at home or if she was trying to keep me in a childlike state and dependent on her. When I left home, I had NO idea how to cook, clean, do the dishes, laundry, nothing. I left home at eighteen but was more like a ten-year-old trying to learn everything for the first time.

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RoseQuartz

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My house was always a mess growing up. 4 kids, lots of pets. uBPDm worked full time and Nf left the family when I was 12. He was never any help, never instructed how to do chores but shamed everyone for them not being done when he visited.

M was another story. My siblings and I were basically her servants. M was a victim of her circumstances and chose a job with a 4 hour commute each day so would leave 6am and be home 9pm. M is a mail hoarder, pet hoarder, and never cleans up after herself or takes care of herself. Most days she doesn't even shower. As the oldest in the house I was expected to do all of the cooking and shopping for the family once I got my license. Dinner was always to be timed for her exact arrival home or I would be subject to intense rage. I was also expected to drop her off at the train station and pick her up after work, while driving in the morning 5:30am(if we were running late it was always my fault of course) she would list what I needed to pick up from the grocery store that day and refused to write anything down for me because "you're not stupid". OF course I would forget a thing or two, because I was a sleep deprived, 16 year old maintaining a household and taking care of my M, younger siblings and a dog, and I wouldn't hear the end of it. Repeat one weekly.

Still a mess when I visit, have had a hard time adjusting to adulthood with chores. Things that seem very normal for me to be untidy are unthinkable to friends and my bf.

oh yeah and if I try to tidy things now I get the guilt trip about what a terrible mother she is. Damned if I do damned if I don't.

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Marinette

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Our house was a mess. Clothes were thrown around, unorganized.
My unPD M hated cooking and cleaning. As a result I was never taught how to cook and clean. I am still kind of a slob and drive my husband crazy :)))
I taught myself to cook and now have hundreds of healthy recipes that I like trying out. I am doing my best to create  a cozy, tidy house for my kids and husband. It is hard since I never witnessed it growing up.

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louisebt

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Just a slight aside but not really- it IS possible to break conditioning around this stuff. About 5 years ago I was really miserable about my house situation, i had bought my own house but didn't feel comfortable in it, it was a cluttered mess, I hated cleaning so much and couldn't handle papers like an adult as had taken on so many fleas around all this from my uBPDm. Was afraid to throw things out even when broken even though could afford to replace stuff...

So I took intense action and did the whole process of 'the life changing magic of tidying up' my Marie Kondo. And boy, she was not joking in that title. It took me 6m in total to do all the categories but it was like having about 5 years of therapy. If I didn't work full time i would train as a consultant and help other people, it was that impactful for me.
When I sorted all my papers into 2 little folders I sat down and wept that I finally felt like an adult.
When I only kept things that bought ME joy, not my mother, it was so amazing to carve out my own identity.
I even finally sorted through my estranged NPDF's stuff i'd had after he died, and made peace with that.

Then I got a cleaner. And still have her. Hatred of cleaning solved. I had the money, I just had to value my own worth enough to let someone help me.
My house is homely but tidy and organised. If you asked where any item was in the house I could tell you!
I have broken my mothers pattern. It's possible.
 :)

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all4peace

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We did almost all the work in the household except laundry and cooking. M had extreme ideas on what clean looked like (had to vacuum furniture every single week) and was pretty demanding about the standards. I once had all the household garbage emptying (along with all my other jobs) for an entire year for not doing it exactly right, without being asked. M has followed behind guests, wiping up dirt from their shoes, literally less than 2' away from them. Several of us siblings have had to unlearn that level of obsessive-compulsiveness in our own FOC, so as not to drive our own families insane.

I don't mind working hard as a child. It was a good prep for my adult life. What I do mind is how demanding (never asked, always told), unappreciative (generally not thanked) and rigid M was about it all. There was nothing quite as important as getting work done, and absolutely perfectly. There was only one way to do it (hers) and one time to do it (now).

As an adult, B and I have actual anxiety when our homes are cluttered, and I've worked really, really hard to let things get more messy without getting anxious about it.

There was a lot of anger and control revolving around work growing up.

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FromTheSwamp

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Just a slight aside but not really- it IS possible to break conditioning around this stuff. About 5 years ago I was really miserable about my house situation, i had bought my own house but didn't feel comfortable in it, it was a cluttered mess, I hated cleaning so much and couldn't handle papers like an adult as had taken on so many fleas around all this from my uBPDm. Was afraid to throw things out even when broken even though could afford to replace stuff...

So I took intense action and did the whole process of 'the life changing magic of tidying up' my Marie Kondo. And boy, she was not joking in that title. It took me 6m in total to do all the categories but it was like having about 5 years of therapy. If I didn't work full time i would train as a consultant and help other people, it was that impactful for me.
When I sorted all my papers into 2 little folders I sat down and wept that I finally felt like an adult.
When I only kept things that bought ME joy, not my mother, it was so amazing to carve out my own identity.
I even finally sorted through my estranged NPDF's stuff i'd had after he died, and made peace with that.

Then I got a cleaner. And still have her. Hatred of cleaning solved. I had the money, I just had to value my own worth enough to let someone help me.
My house is homely but tidy and organised. If you asked where any item was in the house I could tell you!
I have broken my mothers pattern. It's possible.
 :)

Yep!  Me too.  It took most of my life to get there.  The hardest part was that the parents had offloaded a bunch of their junk on my over the years, which I was supposed to keep forever and treat like it was all valuable treasures.  Marie Kondo really helped me sort through the reasons why I didn't have to do this.  Most of the extra stuff I got rid of was from the parents.  It was like a heavy weight had been lifted. 

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Malini

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Quote

I don't mind working hard as a child. It was a good prep for my adult life.

I thought this too, always trying to find some positive in the negative, but not subjecting my kids to this either.

Until one day, DH overheard me saying this to a friend (also a Cinderella) and said, 'Adult life is hard enough, don't our children deserve to enjoy childhood ?' Wow - what a foreign concept. Children enjoying childhood without carrying adult responsibility and being used as cheap labour?

In my family, it was not about learning skills for later on, it wasn't 'chipping in' because dad works two shifts and mom also, or mom is single-handedly raising a family. It wasn't about a family living on the breadline.   It's was about abuse of power and controlling us. My parents could have easily hired a posse of cleaners, babysitters, etc. But they didn't, preferring to unload a large part of their caretaking role onto me without any thought to my needs, and then using it to shame and control me. I was punished and grounded for 4 months when they found a speck of dirt behind a bathroom tap!

All these stories are linked by abuse and dysfunction, whether we were raised in a dirty, messy, hoarder-type environment or in a pristine, obsessively clean and tidy environment. It's heartbreaking.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

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'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

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Gromit

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If I was told to do a chore, I did it. Had to do more in the holidays & I never saw much point in dusting something I had dusted the day before.

I had to look after my room, clean my shoes, and, once I was at senior school do my own ironing. I don't think I had to do that much really, it was quite a good preparation for leaving home, I knew to separate washing, how to clean a fridge. My sister resented it, I found out later. I also learnt not to wash the dog bowls until last, & to leave them to air dry, something my partner didn't seem to know.

I am not such a clean freak as my mother, she used to do a lot, but then get upset if dirt was brought in, where it shouldn't be.

I certainly notice if other people's stuff is dirty. However, I saw someone today sorting out their rubbish after the collection had been with plastic gloves on, now I wonder if I should? Surely washing hands afterwards is better? Less plastic!

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all4peace

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Quote

I don't mind working hard as a child. It was a good prep for my adult life.

I thought this too, always trying to find some positive in the negative, but not subjecting my kids to this either.

Until one day, DH overheard me saying this to a friend (also a Cinderella) and said, 'Adult life is hard enough, don't our children deserve to enjoy childhood ?' Wow - what a foreign concept. Children enjoying childhood without carrying adult responsibility and being used as cheap labour?

In my family, it was not about learning skills for later on, it wasn't 'chipping in' because dad works two shifts and mom also, or mom is single-handedly raising a family. It wasn't about a family living on the breadline.   It's was about abuse of power and controlling us. My parents could have easily hired a posse of cleaners, babysitters, etc. But they didn't, preferring to unload a large part of their caretaking role onto me without any thought to my needs, and then using it to shame and control me. I was punished and grounded for 4 months when they found a speck of dirt behind a bathroom tap!

All these stories are linked by abuse and dysfunction, whether we were raised in a dirty, messy, hoarder-type environment or in a pristine, obsessively clean and tidy environment. It's heartbreaking.
Yes, yours sounds a lot like mine. We didn't learn the actual skills needed--laundry, cooking--but were the grunt labor for absolutely every job. I had to actually teach myself everything I now need to run a household, as I'd only been the labor part, not the skilled part.

And, yes, mine was sooooo much about power and control. Work was a punishment. Imperfect work meant more punishment. And there were the times when we couldn't remember what latest thing M had demanded (perhaps in our own thoughts, reading a book or whatever) and simply had to start working and working until we accidentally did the thing she had asked us to do.

I also had to do a lot of adjustment in married and parenting life, as did one B, to unlearn that control, that hyperperfection, the nonstop working, the inability to simply relax and allow others to relax.

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Malini

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All4peace,

I learned a lot of skills because I had to redo jobs over and over until they were perfect. EnND threw a chefs knife at my head when one of my meals didn't meet his expectations. I ducked, but the oven door still shows the traces - yikes!

I actually told DH that I didn't know how to cook when I met him. :bigwink:

Like you, I had to learn to relax around mess, let my kids play anywhere and leave toys and projects out. NM always had a snarky remark on crossing my doorstep threshold  :meh:  It's a wonder my kids survived my housekeeping failings and haven't died yet since leaving home and taking care of themselves.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

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zephyrblue

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I learned a lot of skills because I had to redo jobs over and over until they were perfect. EnND threw a chefs knife at my head when one of my meals didn't meet his expectations. I ducked, but the oven door still shows the traces - yikes!

 :jawdrop:   Terrifying!  Thank goodness you ducked and are free from your PD parents!

Sometimes I feel bad posting here because the abuse enSis and I endured is nowhere near as extreme as many of you have suffered.  Your stories are heart-wrenching and in a strange way validating. Thank you all for sharing. :hug:

uPDfather excelled at "no visible signs" abuse.  It was like water torture.  He'd talk and yell and rant and rave for hours, often trapping you in a room or in a car. Sleep deprivation was rampant.  He once provoked enMom into throwing a hammer at him.  There was a hole in the drywall for years. 

One night when I was a teenager and he was on a tear abusing enMom in their bedroom (which enSis and I could hear plain as day), I got a big knife from the kitchen, threw their door open, and through tears threatened to kill him if he didn't stop.  I didn't want to kill him.  I just wanted him to shut up.

uPDfather didn't bat an eye.  IIRC he was kind of bemused.  enMom was horrified.  He let her get the knife from me and leave the room.  I don't recall if my ploy worked.  I just remember their reactions.  Needless to say, the abuse resumed the next day.

To get back on topic, I learned some life skills from enMom--not uPDfather, who was too wrapped up in his own misery.  I learned to cook a little, do laundry, and general housekeeping.  For whatever reason I am naturally an organizer.  My house is definitely "lived in."  It goes through cycles of being nice and neat, then gradually getting cluttered until I hit my threshold, then I clean up.  It works for me. 

What I wasn't taught and had to figure out myself is how to budget, not be super anxious over money, basic home maintenance, any sort of DIY, and how to work with people.  I much prefer doing things myself and alone.  It's so much simpler.  I hate asking for help because too often it comes at a price and with strings attached. 

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blacksheep7

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So many sad stories here :(
We were their little slaves.  I do agree that we have to learn the basic of holding a house but having PD parents are always the extreme, all or nothing. I see many similarities.
Daughter: you typing at 10  :stars:   I also had to type in my teens for NF, with the same old fashion type writer, no corrector.   I did all the sewing on the sewing machine, M didn't know how.
English is not my first language, I had to teach NF to read and speak proper English, help with the two younger sibs with their homework.  GCb, the eldest did none of this, although he did participate in the Saturday chores when M worked on weekends. I helped with the cooking. During the summer, I babysat the youngest which was the normal thing at the time with larger families but the load got larger, like Ironing which I hated.  My parents  socialized a lot on Saturday nights, so I would babysit, not GCb, free as a bird (he is 15 months older).  Even when at times he was grounded he would go out, I always protected him thinking he was my best friend.  We are nc today.

OMG Malini, the knife! Crazy people is all I could say.
I got pasta thrown at my face by NF telling me I didn't cook it right, they never told me how. :doh:
I was pushed, pushed too hard to do well at school which I did in grade school but not in high school, too much going on at home to concentrate. I wasn't allowed to read fiction novels, always had to learn, learn and learn.  I went to school to breath and have fun. 
I was 18 and happy to work not doing as many chores but one of the times my PD parents were having a dinner party, NF wanted me to help M with the cooking...no way, I already had plans to leave that weekend the a big winter carnaval with a trusted friend.  NF threatened me Again that my bags would be waiting for me if I decided to leave.  I did.  M never said anything about any matter.  NF was the Boss in the house which we all feared.







 
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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Dukkha

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My PDm announced when I was 4 that she would no longer be anyone’s slave.  As the oldest, and the girl child, the house and food became my responsibility.  My PDf would come home from work (the days I was not required to work with him) and inspect the household to make sure I did my duties well enough.  There was always a reason for punishment.  I recall vacuuming around my sibs/parents feet while they watched tv and getting yelled at for the noise.
As an adult I have emotional issues with housework.