Why Updating Mom's Decor is Like Going to the Dentist


by Lisa Hs 12 Mar 2013

Ever had to do something painful, that you did not want to do? In fact, something that you did not want to do so much, that it seemed easier or more appealing to bear excruciating pain rather than suffer through dealing with it? You know.. kind of like going to the dentist when you were a kid... or an adult. My husband had to go to the dentist 5 years ago because he had a painful cavity. He was so scared of the dentist, he spent months doing research on the internet looking for a dentist that would completely knock him out so he did not have to be awake at all during the visit. Well, I had a similar scary experience last month, when I had to tell my mother that it was time to update her home decor.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get through the experience unconscious, like my husband's dentist visit. So, what does my mom's decor have to do with going to the dentist? Stay with me here people. 

Reason #1:  Both are scary. When I was a kid, I thought the dentist was a scary stranger that wanted to hurt me, and I was not far from the truth. But, last month I had to bite the bullet and tell my mother that her decor choices were hideous, and needed to be updated if she ever wanted to sell her home. Talk about scary! I knew she was proud of her stylish home, and anticipated some issues. And, needless to say, my little talk did not go well. My gentle nudging towards a decor re-design was taken like I shot her in the face. I am pretty sure I saw steam coming out of her ears.

Reason #2:  Dental work makes me want to gag, and so does my mom's decor.  There is nothing that my mother would rather do than brag about the retro Kermit-green lava lamp she purchased when I was little, or the luxuriousness of her wall to wall, rust-red, shag carpet.

 CHRISTMAS 1976: A SUNNY DAY AROUND THE TREE...

(Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)

But, she needs to sell her house and downsize.  I am certain that potential buyers walking through her home as it is now would have to fight back their gag reflex and focus on the potential of the home with better decor.

Reason #3:  Going to the dentist office and pushing my mom to update her decor are uncomfortable and painful experiences, but have to be done.  As painful as it was, I told mom it was time for a decor update. I swallowed the painful jabs at my taste level and the rising volume of her defensive replies, and simply told her that her current decor needed to be toned down to allow buyers to imagine themselves and their stuff in her home. I held her hand as she picked out and ordered neutral toned carpet, picked out modern area rugs, and packed up all her "stylish" decor accessories.  With some additional paint, cleaning, and organization, her house was ready to sell 3 weeks later.

Reason #4:  Both involve a lot of smiling. Taking pain with a smile on your face can be hard, but I love my mom, and I really was just trying to help her. So, I put up with her angry reactions and passive aggressive comments with a forced smile on my face, until we had gotten the job done.  This is my mom, and I decided to put away my pride a bit in order to make sure that I could still count on her friendship and Sunday dinners at home.

Having said all of that, after my experience last month, I think that if I had the choice again, I would choose going to the dentist instead, if it would get me out of mom's home decor update. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with the way things turned out in the end. Mom is happy now, we are still friends and she has just accepted an offer on her house.  But, if I ever find myself in that situation again, Dad will be the one stepping up to the plate.

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