Health

Saying goodbye to my inner control freak

I’ll just say it — sometimes, I can be a wee bit controlling. To give you some embarrassingly clear examples of this issue: I lay my children’s clothes out every night — right down to socks and underwear. I argue with my husband over who does the laundry — and nope, I don’t beg him to lighten my load by tackling the laundry every once in awhile. No, I’m the one arguing to do the laundry, fold it and put it away.

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I’ll just say it — sometimes, I can be a wee bit controlling. 

To give you some embarrassingly clear examples of this issue: I lay my children’s clothes out every night — right down to socks and underwear. I argue with my husband over who does the laundry — and nope, I don’t beg him to lighten my load by tackling the laundry every once in awhile. No, I’m the one arguing to do the laundry, fold it and put it away. I’m the one who does grocery shopping because I’m picky about the brands I prefer for our family. When baking at home and my children are helping me I have been known to get worked up about how to stir the dough or when some sugar jumps over the side of the bowl. Need I go on?

But lately — and I don’t even think consciously — I’m letting go just a bit. On my weekend trip to New York, I barely planned a thing — mostly I went along for the ride and was happy to follow others to the sights they really wanted to see, with the exception of my two “musts”: Magnolia Bakery and the Canal St. shopping experience. Then last night, I startled my husband by asking him to put the groceries away while I tucked my kids into bed. Aren’t you worried I’ll put stuff in the wrong place?, he wondered. Nope — go for it. I’m also letting my six-year-old daughter coordinate her own outfits for school more often. (I’m using the word “coordinate” loosely, since the other day she worked a rainbow-checked skirt, red tights, a pink shirt and a tie-died blue camp t-shirt overtop of that. Whatever, I thought.)

So what’s behind this sudden letting go of the reigns? I think I just became tired — tired of being the only one in our house able to share exactly where the animal crackers or cereal boxes are kept. Tired of picking out the clothes and wondering if I was extinguishing my daughter’s creative expression if I didn’t let her do it. (Maybe, maybe not…she’s only six, after all.) Ditto the baking — tired of just being uptight over what should be a fun experience.

Through all of this, I’m realizing the absolute joy in letting go and how liberating it can be. There’s more mental space in my brain and more breathing room in my house. And while I’m not giving up everything completely, I am going to continue to control my controlling. Now if only I could let someone else tackle the laundry…

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