Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Martha's No Nag

I grew up in a nag-free household. There was no persistent and annoying urging or being painfully bothersome to get someone to do something.

That's because I lived in a Tiger household, and my mom only had to ask once.
Preferably, my mom did not have to ask at all.

If we had been asked to do the dishes yesterday, then we took the initiative to do them today, and every day, ad nauseum. My brother and I visited my parents over Christmas and it was the first time I'd been to their house in years but yep, we did the dishes. I did not have to be asked to clean my room, to do my weekly chores, to do my homework.

Now, as an adult, I'm shocked when I have to nag people especially to do things in their own self-interest. Allow me to give you a representative conversation:

Me: Don't forget to clear up the guest room before your sister arrives tonight.
Husband: Yep.
(four hours later)
Me: The guest room hasn't been cleaned - would you please do it?
Husband: Yep
(four hours later)
Husband: Crap, I forgot to clean the guest room - why didn't you remind me again?

The first time we had this exchange, I was shocked. You see, I knew the room hadn't been cleaned, but I figured, huh, he still hasn't cleaned it, and this is HIS guest who he knows well, maybe the room is good enough as is so I'm done here.

I didn't realize that some people expect to be nagged, that they count on it to get things done. That they think of nagging like a snooze button and they'll decide when they are done pressing. Especially because, like Adrienne, I hate being nagged. If I want to do something, I'll do it. And very little "encouragement" will change my mind. So imagine my surprise when I find myself on the other end of very good-natured nagging.

You know how there's that saying that there are two kinds of people in this world? Maybe nagging applies. People who need to nagged, and people who don't. People who like to nag, and people who don't. May we all find the right partner. :)


Lisa Hughey said...

I suppose it is too late for me to become a Tiger mom?? It would sure help me out if I didn't have to ask (nag) my kids to the things I want done TWENTY MILLION TIMES.

Sophie Littlefield said...

i think the key phrase in all of this is "i'm done here" - no matter who you find yourself living with, you have to figure out what you can and can't control, and when you tip from one to the other, put that phrase into play. Or, make yourself crazy - your choice :)

L.G.C. Smith said...

Yeah. "I'm done here." Words to live by. It does seem that people with high anxiety tend to be procrastinators (fear stops us doing anything, and especially those things which are good for us), and procrastinators tend to respond to nagging. It prods us into accountability to someone else, which is always easier than doing something on our own behalf.

Then again, some people are just lazy-ass, absent-minded, poor time-managing slugs. Not me, of course. God no.

Martha Flynn said...

Ah, Lisa. Effective Tiger Momming begins in the WOMB, ideally.

Rachael Herron said...

I love to nag. Lala hates to be nagged. It's not the ideal situation (but I'm one of those people that when asked, I DO IT NOW so when someone doesn't jump at my voice like I do at my own, I ask again five minutes later. It doesn't really work that well).

Jane George said...

Interesting tale, Tiger cub! There was no nagging when I was growing up either, but I was raised by an anti-tiger. What would you call that? A Loosey-Goosey? I hate nagging. The fam hates nagging. I'm about to give it up, but will have to have everyone sign papers releasing me from liability first. :)

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