Has anyone ever said you have control issues? Maybe you wear that badge with pride as you attribute a clean house or productive work to your controlling behavior. How would you say your controlling nature impacts those around? Your kids, your partner, YOU?
What if I told you that our controlling tendencies often stem from chaos? Mamas know about chaos! The skinned knee just in time to start dinner prep or the meltdown as we are packing up to leave the house. We experience daily the reality of how little control we truly have, yet we so often tell ourselves that if we just tried harder, we would have things under control. If we only had one more planner, a larger phone screen to organize our life, or another area for toy organization. This "try harder' belief, though, is such a heavy burden. We can not gain control by trying harder. There are things that we have control over and things that we do not. We have control over our responses and our actions. We do not control other people's reactions, behaviors, or attitudes, including our children.
So, what is our response to the chaos? Often it is to try and control the things that we don't have control over. This control looks like irritability, frustration, anger, or yelling. Maybe it seems like wanting to escape your situation. Perhaps it looks like being very strict with your children and you feeling like you were more fun. Can you relate?
What is a better way to respond to the chaos?
First, stop blaming yourself. Telling yourself consistently that you should be doing a better job is weakening you. It is not your fault that things don't go to plan or that your kiddo is having a hard time. These are realities of life, and you are not to blame. When you find yourself talking negatively about how you should be doing better, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can today. Your best is enough!
Second, remember what is in your control and respond accordingly. You do not have control over your children, but you control how you react to them. Today, my sweet daughter would not nap. We have all been there, and those days are hard. I can set up a routine and an environment for her to rest, but I do not have control over whether she sleeps or not. I do have control over my response. So before I went to get her from her crib, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for a more difficult afternoon than most days. I knew I would need to draw more patience than usual, but I also know that I can do that. Those are the things I have control over.
Lastly, take care of yourself. We get to the end of our ropes a lot quicker if we do not fill our buckets routinely. Have you learned what types of self-care work for you and do you participate in these things regularly? It means that you may need to read a book even though there are still dishes in the sink. Or you may need to journal even though there is laundry to be folded. If you have not learned what helps you destress and decompress, I encourage you to embark on that journey. Those things are a necessity for you to relinquish the control issues you may be struggling with.