29 August 2009

Criticism - taking it positively

Now, that's not an easy thing to do, taking criticism positively and smilingly. Even gently worded suggestions may be hard to take. Especially when it comes from (a well meaning, I would add) MIL. It's just one of those things. It probably has to do with ego, self esteem, pride and the fact that sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice to be told that "yes, hey, you did a good job and I have NOTHING further to suggest for you to improve on."

An example: on inspecting our garden, MIL pointed out that the filter for the pond was poorly designed. That point was not however, directed at me. The recipient of that criticism merely acceded to her point.
She then went on to note that certain plants should be repotted and branches pruned, and that the carpet grass was sprouting some weeds. Now, I am not unaware of these plant issues and indeed, my maid and I are primarily responsible for caring for our rather large garden. My MIL on the other hand has 2 maids and a gardener and a DIL who lives with her (who doesn't work and doesn't have kids), and still there are times when she comments that her garden is not adequately maintained! Imagine me - one maid, 2 kids, 3 dogs, garden, no gardener. I feel I manage my household, on the balance, reasonably, so I am rather piqued that she should highlight such points. Maybe she thinks I am not aware of them and perhaps I should really take her critisim constructively and graciously.

Then comes the comparison - which is a weak point, I would confess, but I can't help it. The DIL who lives with my MIL doesn't work, and I have never seen her do a kilojoule worth of gardening or cleaning (she does take snapshots of the beautiful flowers in the garden when they are in bloom). Not even something as light as trimming off dead flower stems. While I have hoed, and weeded, and planted beds of seedlings, and carried decorative rocks to augment the appearance of the garden, not to mention repotting and getting into the pond to place my aquatic plants! And my maid and I bathe our 3 dogs once a fortnight while the dogs over at MIL's are never bathed (despite the huge workforce over there). Save for one favourite dog which the DIL does bathe. Yet, I don't hear anything about the DIL not doing enough around the house.

Is it just me being over sensitive? Breathe, focus, positive vibes...


  1. Aiya...its because your SIL has not been to Gerik, perak la...we are all rednecks who developed green thumbs when Gerik rubbed off us.
    Should send her for Household Training camp..haha

  2. Thanks Kev, you sure made my day and made me laugh about the situation!