In the past, I’ve often called myself a bit of a control freak. When I lived on my own, it was much more apparent. I like things done a certain way. I liked things to be put away, organized and tidy. I was single-minded and not particularly open to doing things any way other than my own. It was one of the things that I was most nervous about when I became a parent, how would I adapt? Turns out it was difficult for me to let go.
When Grace arrived, it was rather easy for a while, I could keep things the way I wanted them and then she started moving of her own volition and it all changed. It stressed me out a lot. And then, of course, Monty came along and it became double trouble. I started telling myself and others that I had lowered my standards because who can keep up with the double tornado? The truth is though, I haven’t lowered my standards. I do still have a desire to have a place for everything and everything in its place, toys organized by type, clothes folded and put away as per the Konmari method, and a structured routine that everyone is aware of. What I have come to realize is that despite still having these desires, my reaction to not being in complete control has changed. I try not to let it upset me as much as I used to, mostly because it just makes everyone unhappy. Sure, we can train the kids to put away their toys (which is a constant battle) and I can express my desires for tidiness so that Eliot and the kids have clear expectations but in the end, I can’t control their actions. The only thing I can control is my reaction.
This goes for a lot of things in life. The holiday season brings a lot of expectations, whether we want it to or not. Often the reality doesn’t meet those expectations and we are left feeling sad and disappointed. I did this holiday season. I also let it impact the moods of our family. I was terse and cranky and have been since, even though I have been trying my damndest to snap out of it. This morning I realized I hadn’t taken control of my reactions completely, I was kind of reveling in the moodiness. So I tried something new, I tried an affirmation and I changed my story. Yes, saying them out loud feels nuts to start with but it definitely helped (try doing it in the shower) and I have repeated it each time something or someone has done something that ticks me off. So now I feel I am back in control, in control of me and my story.
Who are you letting control you?