Mommyhood // Learning to Let Go

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.*
XO, Kelly


  • Mrs Bishop

    I am right at that 3 1/2 stage with my son. And you sound a lot like me- it's hard to let go and let him make messes and explore, and do all of the things that toddlers love to do. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

  • Kerry Bisig

    My little one is only 5 months but I can see myself being a lot like this! Messes, un-organization and chaos make me a little cray-cray, if you know what I mean! 🙂 Thanks for the reminder to just let it go!

    • gavandro

      It is very hard but if I stress out about it, what good am I doing myself and my child? Right? Plus, my son is getting to the age where he can help clean so sometimes we just need to stop and clean for mommy's sanity! LOL

  • Tawnya Faust

    GREAT post! I think a lot of moms struggle with perfectionism. I do in other areas and I've had to learn to let it go. The thought os having another baby scares me because I know I'll have to adjust my expectations even more but I know it'll all work out.

    • gavandro

      Thanks you! I have no idea what my mindset ill be once number 2 is here, but I've heard that you start to let go a little easier with each new addition. LOL *fingers crossed*

  • Emilee

    Beautiful. I struggle with a lot of this too. I am not a spotless house cleaner but I certainly find myself losing patience when my children throw food and pull toys out just after I picked them up. I think it is so important to remind ourselves that these are seasons of their life. That they won't always be little babies and toddlers who love to learn and explore.

    • gavandro

      Amen! That's always he best reminder for me. That he will never be this little again, and the same when his brother comes. It's a great ay to put my mind in a better place.

  • Alicia Williams

    I love this!! I struggle with the same feelings, every single day. I want my daughters to remember a fun, loving mom who let them explore their creativity and be kids, not a mom who gets frustrated over a messy (aka lived in) house! I've really been trying to work on this within myself and I like what you said about thinking things like "let it go", or what's the big deal?! I have to constantly think the same things, or recite quick prayers for peace and patience. If we keep trying, I know we'll be able to loosen up a bit 🙂 hang in there, and just let it gooooo (currently sitting with my toddler watching Frozen right now! 😉 )

    • gavandro

      Amen girl! It's all about the breathing and inviting Jesus into my heart in those moments! And I'm laughing so hard that you're actually watching Frozen! We missed out on that trend here, all about the Ninja Turtles and Minions here. 🙂

  • chelsea.ahlgrim

    It's difficult, isn't it? Just letting them be… especially with boys! I'm constantly reminding myself to trust the Jesus is working in their hearts just as He is working in mine… and yes, that the mess can be cleaned, and education/ nourishment/ FUN is more important than keeping things spotless ALL the time! One mess at a time 😉

  • Ashley

    Oh goodness! I am so right there with you! I have 3 boys and 1 girl and oh the messes. Everywhere and some less than pleasant. Okay, most, but whatever. I have gone from anxious about messes, to more relaxed, to now – with my youngest – hiding all the art supplies. Mainly because he doesn't believe in rules. Thank you for the reminder that messes are okay. Maybe we will pull out some art supplies this afternoon! 😉

  • Katie Brown

    I tend to have trouble letting go of control as well. In my work life and my home life! I have a had time trusting others to do it "right". Especially when it comes to my son. But I'm trying to learn to let go. Great post!

  • Marielle Petkoff

    Oh my goodness, I could have written this myself! We are so similar, even down to our parents homes made spotless by our fathers! I feel your pain, mama, especially with #2 on the way! You'll have to teach me your ways once your second little man arrives!!

    • gavandro

      That's so funny! I'm definitely a lot like my dad but I think I'm just gonna have to breathe a little harder, a little more often, and say 5 million prayers once my second is old enough to join in on the fun!

  • Mrs ABC

    he's such a handsome guy!!!!
    i think that parenthood has taught me how much i don't have control of in the world today. like you, i wish i could control my kids more–only to prevent them from getting hurt on most days. and it's so hard to sit back and let them experience life.

  • Lorinda Mamo

    I know the feeling of wanting things to be neat and tidy, I am very much like you, but I have given up – little people and tidyness just don't mix. I grew up in a tidy house and we were 3 kids, and now with one I can't keep up, I don't know how my mom did it. I have learned to let go, because I also know that its not what's important.

  • Jaclyn Kent

    Aw he's adorable! I have learned this lesson over and over again. 😀 I agree that it's really important to let them be independent! (One day we'll be thankful! Until then…cheers to toothpaste on my pants from sticky toddler hands.)

  • Amanda Baldwin

    I love that picture of him with the bulldozer! So cute! I, too, am a control freak. Never was but something clicked once I became a stay at home mom. I didn't grow up in a spotless house and my car is still a mess but boy, I am not a fan of clutter or messy messes. This often results me putting off projects with the kids.

    The whole letting go business is hard to do but it is attainable. Often time with just baby steps. I'm sure you will look back and see all the little baby step that led to you letting go. It may not seem like any results now but it'll happen. And when you have two boys, you'll eventually just jump in the mud with them!

  • Alisha Parker

    I totally understand this. It's hard to let go of things or not project your anxieties onto your kid. But the fact that you are aware of it and trying to give your child a happy childhood means you're doing just fine.

  • Jennifer Lazarski

    I'm right there too! Especially when dealing with my children's interactions with others! I don't want to be overbearing but want them to know what's appropriate. It's so hard! But you're right, I need to let it go! At least once in a while 😉

    • gavandro

      So so hard! I want him to be respectful of people and have freedom at the same time. As a kid though, he's still learning and that's hat I have to remember. Thanks for reading!

  • Jennifer Lazarski

    I'm right there too! Especially when dealing with my children's interactions with others! I don't want to be overbearing but want them to know what's appropriate. It's so hard! But you're right, I need to let it go! At least once in a while 😉

  • Paige Hampton

    My Landon is the same age as Mr. G. I feel your pain. I cringe at half the stuff he does all day, every day. I have to give myself constant pep-talks to remind myself…"he is only little once…mold him into a good person through discipline, but let him explore, have fun, and make messes." It CAN be cleaned up, but boy is this a struggle for me.

  • Tamara Goyette

    It can be such a challenge to not micro manage what a child is doing, especially when we have a this idea in our minds that we want things done right. It is incredible though to watch them learn, make mistakes, try again, and figure things out.

  • sylvie

    i'm SO with you, mama! i'd love our 2 1/2 year old little guy to get crazy with paints and mud and all the messy things kids are supposed to be loving….but I shudder at the thought of him immediately trampling into our house with his marvelous mess. Thankfully, he has his daycare where they encourage them to be as messy as their hearts desires and I'm working on more outdoor and indoor sensory and art fun that pushes us out of our comfort zone. 🙂

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