I’ll admit it, I have a problem. I have a very hard time letting go of control. And I’m not talking about life in general, which is still true, but I’m talking about with my child. I’m a perfectionist with OCD tendencies with a toddler. It’s an explosive combination to say the least. And now we’ll (very) soon be adding another to the mix.
I wouldn’t call myself a helicopter parent, I’m pretty good about letting Mr. G explore when we’re outside, at the playground, etc. I like to make sure that he’s safe so occasionally I’ll check in or go find him and make sure he hasn’t broken anything. But the part that makes playgrounds and fast food play places hard for me (read: gives me anxiety) is the interaction with other kids. I don’t want my child to be the one causing a problem and it’s very hard for me not to jump in every 5 seconds. I understand that kids will be kids, but I don’t want him to feel like that behavior is acceptable and I also don’t want other parents to see it happening and me not doing anything about it. I get a little embarrassed, I know I shouldn’t since all children behave pretty much the same, but I can’t help it. It’s my need to control the behavior, control the situation. I’ve fought the urge to leave many times and simply give Mr. G warnings and leave when it’s time or when it’s time for the consequence if necessary.
I have this need for everything to be done “right”. So the independent threenager that wants to do things by himself and his crazy mama clash from time to time. But also, I realized this can hinder him. If I don’t let him brush his own teeth, let him wash in the tub, etc., what is that teaching him? Do I want my child to rely on me forever? No, I WANT him to become independent and self sufficient. Which means he’ll do it “wrong” or not all the way/backwards/upside down or make a mess.
That brings me to the other area that is hard for me to let go, making messes. I know….I know….I have a boy and will soon have TWO boys. Just as I didn’t choose their genders, I did not choose to be a neat freak. I grew up in a spotless home. You think I’m kidding, but it’s true. To this day, my parents’ house looks like the model home in any given neighborhood (nothing wrong with that, just a fact). The messiest place in the house was always my room with clothes all over the floor because, hey, teenage girl problems. But as I got older, had a home of my own, the neatness kicked it. I became more and more like my dad, the man behind the tidiest home on the block. Fast forward to now with a 3.5 year old running around with 5 million toys spread out across the family room, crumbs under his chair, and asking every 5 minutes to play with Play-Doh. The latter I always try to put off for another day, and another day, and another day…
Another mess I have a hard time letting go of is food messes. I don’t like the thought of stains on clothes, his or mine, and if it does I start to feel that “bent-outta-shape” feeling start. Same with the spills on the floors. Same with the caked Play-Doh in the Play-Doh toys. Same with anything that might get “messed up”. What do I do you ask? I breathe. Seriously.
|I had a really hard time letting Mr. G do this at first. But why? What or who was it going to hurt?|
I take a deep breath and simply tell myself it’s not that big of a deal. Because, in reality, I know it’s not. The mess on the floor can be cleaned. Do I want to clean it? No. But did my child eat? Did my child have fun? Yes. Which one is more important?
I try to remind myself of what I want my child to remember about me from this stage of his life. Do I want him to remember a mom that always said no and was so caught up in her own anxieties of being perfect and/or clean that he felt he couldn’t do much of anything? Or do I want him to remember a mom that loved him, let him explore, and taught him to be respectful? I know the answer is easy, but the perfectionist in me has a very hard time letting go. But I’m working on it, everyday, as we all are as parents. I constantly remind myself multiple times a day to let go, my little voice in my head asks me “what’s the big deal?”. Because when it comes down to it, try as I might, I am not perfect, but I can try my hardest to be the best mom I can be for my children.
*Insert “Let It Go” from Frozen.*