Father of three Clint Edwards has made a name for himself as the honest, hilarious voice of parents across America, writing blogs and books about how tough it can be to raise kids sometimes without feeling totally lost.
Edwards has made some all-too-relatable confessions over the years, from his frustration that even churches don’t always have changing tables in the men’s restrooms to his difficulties figuring out how to explain her own health crisis to one of his young children.
One of his posts, though, shed an especially important light on a difficult disconnect that many families find between the boomer generation and modern-day parents.
In a post on his blog from August 0f 2017, he described a conversation he had with his mom on the phone about the state of his home.
“A few weeks ago I was chatting with my mother over the phone when she said, ‘Doesn’t it bother you that Mel won’t keep a cleaner house?’” he wrote. “It was a Saturday. I was working on the dishes. I honestly didn’t know what to say. My mother didn’t say it in an antagonist way or anything. It was more out of curiosity.”
Thousands of parents across the world have dealt with overbearing parents of their own, who offer advice on everything from how to raise their children to how to dress or conduct themselves at their jobs—even long after they’ve hit adulthood.
This was one of those times—but where most people would likely find themselves quarreling with a parent who criticized their spouse like that, Edwards took the opportunity to think critically about how he was going to answer his mom. And in the process, he came up with an answer that everyone can appreciate:
A few weeks ago I was chatting with my mother over the phone when she said, "Doesn't it bother you that Mel won't keep a…
“Thinking back, I believe my mother’s perception of our house really reflects the era she grew up in,” he mused.
“She’s part of the baby boom generation. I didn’t know my father all that well, but I do remember him giving me this advice about picking a wife: ‘Stop by her house unexpected. See how it looks in there. You can tell a lot about a woman by how she keeps her house.’
“I think my mother’s concern over a clean house has a lot to do with her trying to meet the expectations of her youth.”
He realized that his own thought process when finding a wife had less to do with the cleanliness of her house and more to do with the emotional qualities that his wife could provide. He looked for someone who shared his values, and who seemed like a good person—not just a great housekeeper.
I was chatting with an old friend. He stuttered for a bit, gave a couple false starts, and then told me he was getting a…
“Unlike my father, I didn’t really think about a clean house when I married my wife. I thought about how I liked what she had to say. I thought about how she made me feel. I thought about how she smiled a lot. I liked that. I thought about how she was sweet and thoughtful, and how she seemed like the kind of mother I’d want for my children.”
His response to his mom told her exactly that. “I didn’t get into this marriage for a clean house. I got into it because she seemed like someone I could spend my life with,” he explained.
The line was silent on the other end for a moment as his mom thought about what he’d told her. But her rebuttal proved that even generational differences can sometimes only take a moment to overcome.
“Eventually mom said, ‘Well … that probably is more important than a clean house,’” he wrote.
The story resonated across the web, as families of all shapes and sizes recognized many of their own struggles when it came to connecting with older generations.
We went to a local parade yesterday. I realized my kids are horrible at getting candy. Look at them sulking in the back…
“My moms [sic] house was spotless I guess when my older brothers were growing up. I said something once about how mine isn’t very clean all the time & she said she wishes she had let hers go a little so she could have enjoyed their childhood more,” one commenter wrote.
“Hopefully my kids will remember that I played outside with them or did crafts with them. I would rather they remember that then well, my mom’s floor were always sparkling clean..” another added.
Clint and his wife may not always have a perfectly clean house. But it’s clear—they’re raising their kids with all the attention they deserve!
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