Sunday, March 9, 2014

Letting Go of Control as a Mom

The Demas family had a bad morning getting out of the house the other day. Or, perhaps, it's more accurate to say I had a rough start. 

We were off to a family get-together and the stars were not aligning for a swift exit. Usually, my stellar time management skills make up for the added tasks that a child implies. Bad circumstances, along with poor strategic planning, made this trip different. 

First, Claire decided she absolutely, 100% needed mama's undivided attention. George and I usually attack getting ready by handing off our daughter to one another, like a baton in a relay race. On this day, Claire had other things in mind.

As did the weather, which decided to change seasons overnight. Dividing my attention between Claire and locating new clothes in the hinterlands of the closet was not part of my to-do list.

While working half-brained and one-handed, I thought I might have just entered a sadistic challenge devised for a competition reality show like Survivor (except that I had no chance of winning a million dollars for my multi-tasking efforts). 

What's more, I was shuttling between the bedroom and the kitchen to make the dish we had promised to bring (nothing like waiting 'til the last minute). In general, chopping, mixing, and stirring, while a child hangs on my apron strings, wears me out. Add a deadline to get out the door, and I feel I'm going to boil over like the pot on the stove.

I know what you're thinking: "Couldn't the free-handed husband cook and/or clothe the child?" 

To this query, my martyr self replies, "No. He would have ruined it."

I was actually pulling off most of the shitshow. It's part of my controlling nature, an illness, really -- trying to push myself beyond my own limits to see what I'm capable of doing. I end up feeling sickly proud of myself.

The flip-side of the coin is that I feel exhausted and resentful as well -- bad for me and bad for the people I love. I remind myself of Mussolini, actually. Yes, Mussolini kept the trains running on time...while losing track of humanity altogether.

Sure, we got to our destination like clockwork. My family got left behind, though, metaphorically speaking.

Children have a way of finding your Achilles heel. My obsession with productivity can make me forget that love exists in the doing. I lose faith that the result will follow. I need to remember to slow down, and take my eye off of the proverbial prize.

When I breathe, allow people to help, and let things be less than perfect, that's when the space for relationships opens. I find myself surprised that the present really is enough. Everything seems to start falling into place...or  it doesn't. That's just fine too.

Photo Source: Collins110, Fickr, this photo has been adapted and does not suggest the licenser endorses its uses or this blog.  License

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  1. You are still amazing and doing the best you can. :)

  2. i am extremely controlling. at least i know it, right? can't wait for this kid to arrive so i can exercise all my control on this human being. ha!

  3. Dali has a smart quote there. :)
    I gave up trying to achieve perfection long ago, with MOST things. ;)

  4. UGH those mornings. I love this Rachel, and so agree that we need to slow down and soak in the moments. In so many cases, being late isn't that big of a deal.

  5. I could have written this post myself. It is the same here with four kids....all of which are old enough to get themselves ready but it is ALWAYS something. I pull the martyr card a lot and I know it's my own fault. I need to learn to let go and let things be less than perfect but it's a struggle I continue to deal with. I appreciate not being alone in this :)

  6. You said it ... Rey and Claire I'm sure know exactly how to push our buttons! You know I could have written this post.
    Thankfully, much of this is getting easier ... now comes the attitude! Holy hell!


  7. I love the Achilles heel comment- so true. I'm with you on the husband not helping to cook because he would ruin it logic. We had company over this weekend, and because I had a Montessori class with my toddler and then a birthday party with both kids that day, so I put my husband in charge of the corned beef crockpot meal we would be sharing with our guests. I think you know how it turned out. (Cue Debbie Downer music...)


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