Irreverent Mama

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The toilet paper is backwards on the spindle.

Backwards to the way I always put it, that is. I immediately lean forward to set it straight, to put it back properly, the way it's supposed to be. Then I hesitate.

I know what's happened, of course. If and when my own kids put the roll back on, not, lord only knows, that they by any means do this as a matter of course, but when they do, they put it on "right". So, what has happened is that one of the stepkids has replaced the roll, and put it "backwards". Except of course, to them it's not backwards; to them it's "normal", the "right way", it's been put back "properly".

I itch to correct it. This is my home, after all. Why shouldn't things be the way I prefer in my home?

Except that we, my husband and I, we want his kids to view our home as "home", too.

Not that this notion is in any way encouraged by their mother. In fact, we have been told point-blank that "It is not good for the children to believe they have more than one home. There (sic) home is with there (sic) mother." All their times with us are referred to, by the children as well as their mother, as "visits". At the beginning, when they said "home at dad's", they were firmly reprimanded by mother - solely in the interests of their mental health, of course. They have learned: the two houses between which they travel are "home" and "dad's house".

Still, the principle is important to me, and to their father. (When my children were travelling between the homes, they referred to both their dad's house and mine as "home". When speaking with me, their two houses are "home" and "home with dad". With their father, I assume, the names were parallel: "home" and "home with mom".)

No such egalitarian thinking is allowed by my stepkids' biomom, though. Thus, it is sorely tempting to say, "the hell with it. If it is not to be their 'home', then they'll have to behave as guests on their 'visits', and fit in to the way it's done here." Sorely tempting, and entirely reasonable.

My husband, however, has a principle: Do what you think is right regardless of the other person's response. (Or potential response.) He's a wise man.

So, although it irks me just a wee bit, I leave the roll as is. It's a small thing, this symbol. The children won't notice. To them, it's just normal. But I know that I've taken a stand for a principle that I believe is in their best interest. Because, whether mom likes it or not, this is one of their homes. Not their primary home, but certainly a home. A place where they have a bed, where they have clothes and belongings, where they can bring their friends.

A place where they can leave their mark.

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  • I think you made the right decision, for the right reasons.

    Me, I'd be so thrilled that any family member had actually got out a new toilet roll, never mind put it on the spindle, that I wouldn't care if it had been put on inside out. Usually, they just take care not to use the very last square of paper. So then it's the next person's responsibility.

    What is the 'right' way for a toilet roll, by the way? I'd hate to think I might have had it wrong all these years....

    By Blogger Z, at 1:08 p.m.  

  • That's one of the things I like best about you; you stop to think before you do things.

    As for "right" and "wrong" with regard to toilet paper...I've never understood it! I don't put the roll on a certain way, I just put it on the holder.

    The way the shirts hang in my closet, though; that's another story.

    By Blogger Candace, at 2:44 p.m.  

  • Z - The right way is the way I do it, of course!

    The denizens of this house are not nearly so considerate as yours. The roll is left empty for the next guy, without any compunction whatsoever. So you're quite right: a fresh roll, which I did not put on, is cause for celebration, no matter how it's aligned!

    Candace - Thanks. I try. I am not successful nearly as often as I would like.

    Funny the things that become habitual, isn't it? For you it's shirts, for me it's toilet paper. Why should it make a bit of difference? All those little things: toothpaste squeezing, how towels are folded, dishwasher loading, how the car is parked. For some silly reason, when they're done "wrong", it grates.

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 3:42 p.m.  

  • GOod attitude.

    And look at the flip side - they changed the emtpy toilet roll! THat's not done by just anyone!!

    By Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy), at 2:48 p.m.  

  • Good on you. They will not notice, but you will know that you have opened up your home and heart that much more...

    By Blogger crazymumma, at 1:32 p.m.  

  • My stepkids' biomom has been out of their lives for years, and they have major issues as a result. However, when I hear about biomoms like this one, I think maybe there are advantages to my situation - we don't have to deal with details like the language applied to "home" and "parent", etc.

    I think your decision was sincere and thoroughly thought out. Your stepkids are lucky.

    By Blogger Kristen, at 10:02 a.m.  

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