I had an epiphany this week that it was time to give up control and it was the strangest thing. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the fact that I’m getting older and things are clearer or perhaps it’s because I’m just tired and I’m entering the beginning of a mid-life crisis, but here we are. Either way, I’ve had a complete mindset shift and I feel really good about it.
I’m Going To Start Living My Life Like My Husband And Give Up Control
Let’s talk about how this all started. The kids were fighting. Shocker. My two boys were literally ripping one another apart right in front of my husband. I was in the middle of doing something and I assumed he would handle the situation. But here’s the thing… he didn’t.
Instead, he sat on the couch and looked like he didn’t hear what was going on around him. Instead of watching the kids, I watched him because it confused me? How could it be that he didn’t register the volume and the negativity that was happening right in front of his body? It was absolutely impossible.
My brain could not compute what was happening. He was an intelligent man with normal hearing. So, what was going on?
It only took a few seconds for me to realize that it was me. He was waiting on me to handle it. Like I always do – because I am a control freak and I am psychotic and I am always so quick to end all fights that happen in the house which means that he never has to.
Except on this particular day, I was so busy as I sat next to him and I was hyper-focused. So, I didn’t want to jump out of my situation. I assumed he would handle it if I didn’t and I was wrong. He just ignored it because he assumed that if he waited long enough it would bother me enough to say something.
Instead, I just stared at him… with a shocked face. Like, are you not hearing this? After what felt like an eternity – he finally noticed me noticing him not noticing them and then blurted something softly to the boys and everything calmed down. But it took so much longer than if I just said something like I always did. The control freak.
My Children Think I’m The Mean One
And you know what? After walking through that eye-opening scenario, I realized that I literally am the mean one. It’s me – I’m the one that is always screaming and correcting and teaching life lessons.
So, after this scenario played out in slow motion for me, I thought about what it would feel like to give up control in marriage and decided that its what I want for my 2020 personal resolution. Giving up control isn’t easy for a Type A control freak – but here we are.
I Did This To Myself
Listen, let me pour a little honestly into this post right now. This is all my fault – I am literally psychotic. Something happens, I respond immediately and with fire. I don’t like fighting and I want things to go a certain way.
I am a dominating force and my children don’t stand a chance. I’m from Queens and am half Italian… ya feel me. I mean, I’m not a “no wired hangers” kind of mom… but I won’t let them treat each other unkindly. I just won’t have it.
As an only child, I didn’t have anyone say mean things to me growing up, so I just don’t get the “sibling rivalry” thing that people tell me is NORMAL. What? No. It’s not.
I can only handle so much and then I shut it down. So, I am very on top of everything that is happening and maybe that makes me a lot but it’s only because I want them to love one another. If it makes them love me less, then so be it.
No More Guilt
My husband goes out a lot with his friends and I know when he steps out the door, he doesn’t feel guilty about time spent away from the kids or money spent from our bank account. He just goes out. Me? When I take a shower and the kids are up, I think that I should have done it at a different time because I could be with them.
And I never make plans with friends because I work so much that if I go out with friends then it’s even less time with the kids. So, I never go and do things with my girls. I don’t even go and get my nails done. All I do is work.
And speaking of work, I get up at 5:30AM every morning so I can put a few extra hours in a day – even on the weekends – because I want to help the family make as much money as we can because times are changing and I want to hustle while the kids are sleeping.
These are all ways that I feel pressed under a pin. These are all ways that I feel different than my spouse. These are all things that I have placed on myself that I now release. I am giving up control and am moving to the backseat.
Why on EARTH should I feel guilty about the timing of a shower? Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? I mean – writing that felt so stupid. But it’s true.
After I decided to relinquish control, something happened with my daughter. It was on Christmas Day, in fact. Yesterday. We were at my mother-in-law’s house and she was serving us dinner.
My daughter turned to me and said, “I hope you are just like Grandma when you get older.” Now, she meant that as a wonderful compliment to her grandmother because she was serving us a beautiful meal. But I literally turned to her and said, “like what? spending two days preparing a holiday meal for an entire family and then serving it to them on the holiday so they can eat it – even though they didn’t help?” BECAUSE I LITERALLY DID THAT THE DAY BEFORE ON CHRISTMAS EVE BUT FOR 9 PEOPLE.
I shouldn’t have snapped because she’s my daughter, but are you kidding me? She just ate the meal that I literally made the night before along with the three desserts I cooked with her brothers! What is happening?
Mothers are invisible. I am invisible. If you are a mother, you know exactly what I mean. My children say hurtful things to me all the time and I know they don’t mean it because I am SUCH A PART OF THEIR LIVES THAT THEY CANNOT EVEN SEE ME. I register this because I did this to my own mother as well. But it doesn’t make it easier.
Usually, during the holidays, I spend all day rallying the kids back to the table to make sure that they are with their grandparents. I spend hours upon hours flicking the phones out of their hands. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Not this year.
They were gone 3/4 of the time and I did not care. They were having fun with their toys and that is how the day played out. It was out of my control and I am not going to die of cancer because my whole body is filled with stress because I have to have things a certain way. That life is over. If Bill doesn’t care – then I don’t care. It must not be a big deal.
No More Pictures – I’m Going To See Events Like My Husband Now
I’ve spent the last 15 years documenting our entire life. Every step, every song, every moment of every event. Most vacations I am not even in a picture that I don’t force my husband to take. And how NOT FUN are photos if you have to say, “CAN YOU TAKE THIS PHOTO OF ME?” UGH – my FREAKING LIFE.
ON Christmas Eve, I saw my husband dancing with my daughter and I immediately grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of the two of them dancing. And then as soon as I snapped it, I thought to myself how lucky he is to have all these memories to look back on when he is 80.
I will have NONE. I am crying right now. I will have NO pictures of REAL moments of the last 15 years of my life with my children. Not one. Because no matter how many times I BEG my husband to plug into our lives and take pictures of our family naturally without me saying, CAN YOU TAKE THIS FORCED STUPID PHOTO? he just won’t.
He is incapable of thinking like that. He just doesn’t get it. That we only have so many years left of them like this. And I want to remember them like this – naturally. NOT POSING AND FAKE AND ME HANDING HIM A CAMERA AND THEN RUNNING BACK AND EVERYONE WITH A FAKE SMILE. That is my legacy with my children – 15 years of that. At least he will have something nice to look back on.
But anyway, I took the picture of Natalie and Bill dancing – naturally – without them even knowing and then we went to church and my son sang up at the altar and I was the one videoing the whole thing while my husband was able to just watch and be present and THAT is when I decided that I would no longer film or photograph anything obsessively. I’m giving up control. It’s not my job anymore – I don’t want it.
When I grew up – we had one album a YEAR. Nowadays, we have one album a WEEK. Give me a break. Control Control Control! Buh-Bye.
I can’t wait to be present. We don’t need all this footage and I am finally ok with not having every moment photographed. And WHO KNOWS? Maybe someone will wake up and pick up his camera if we go for 6 months without a photo. Time will tell. It’s a chance I am willing to take.
I can’t wait to lose all the anxiety that is associated with feeling like I have to document every waking second of our lives. It already feels so freeing. This is a true gift to myself.
Don’t Give Up Don’t Ever Give Up
Last example and then I am going to let this one go. We were watching Christmas movies – three in a row kill me – and I suggested that during the last movie we play a game to try to break things up. Liam got a new game in his stocking and it was Bill’s job to read the instructions to figure out how to play.
Here’s the thing, though. He did not want to play. He just wanted to watch the movie.
Now, normally, I would push – I would keep asking about the directions, I would take the directions from his literal hands and take over because that’s what I do. If it’s too much for him, I just do it. But this time, I chose to give up control and see what would happen. I am no longer steering this ship.
We all voted – as a family – to play a game. Would he push through even though he didn’t want to do it? Or would he draw it out for two hours and never actually hand out the cards?
And I sat there – on fire, but not showing a single emotion because I am growing – waiting to see how the scenario would play out. And it ended with us NOT playing the card game because Bill just wanted to watch Christmas movies last night. He did not want to play anything.
When the movie was over, I made no mention of the game and said the movie was great and went into the bed and called it a night. The other me would have complained about the non-game – but giving up control means the game just wasn’t meant to be.
It bothered me – but I refuse to go crazy anymore about silly things. It’s just a game and it was Christmas, but I was curious to see what he would do and I just knew that he would never hand those cards out. What changed was me – and that’s the only thing that you can ever change. Yourself.
When you relinquish control, I am sure that it feels like a rollercoaster ride. Actually, I know it does – because I am on it.
This Year, I Am Changing The Only Thing I Can – Myself
My name is Vera and I am a control freak. I am Type A, order obsessed, borderline obsessive, power-hungry, self-righteous, all-around downright annoying at times mom. And I want to change that. I want to push over the Type B column if it is possible and I am going to make strides at just that – small steps – one decision at a time.
It isn’t going to be easy. Awareness and acceptance is the first step. I think I’ve moved past denial. Is that step one? I should have looked that up before I started writing this? Either way, I’m on the road to recovery and I hope my decision to unplug from this control addiction will do my skin some good.
I’ve already emailed two girlfriends and told them that we are hanging out much more this year because screw the fact that I don’t get out enough! I’m going to get a pedicure TODAY. And there is a bubble bath in my near future. That’s number one.
Everything else will fall into stride as it all comes. Less tech, less stopping fights, less decision-making. More downtime with the kids. And… I don’t know? Time will tell. Hopefully, I hold onto these beliefs because I think my life depends on them,
- What’s Stopping You?
- My Favorite Time To Visit The Beach Is At Night
- Serving Others And The Reasons Why We Should Do Good In This World
- What Is A Happy Marriage? Creating A Happy Married Life
- Sometimes I Feel Guilty About Having A New Dog Because I Miss My Old Dog
- It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect. It Just Has To Slow Down.
- I’m Smiling But …