Relinquishing My Inner Control Freak One Small Step at a Time

I really, really, really want to write a blog-rant against high-stakes testing. That’s what I want to do. But I won’t. Not tonight. Even if you might want me too…

Instead of an anger-filled outburst, I have to tell you what God whispered in my ear. I can’t say it’s more uplifting, but, at least for my family, it’s way more important.

Y’all. I’m a control freak.

Now. Those of you who know me, well, let’s just say you’re probably not surprise. But I was. The reality crashed over me this evening like the heat wave our Sunshine state faced this weekend.

I stood over the stove boiling water for edamame and couscous. A very tall, 10 year-old Ella peered over my shoulder. Interested. Wanting to know what I was doing.

In that moment I realized that with my watchful eye she could have prepared most of dinner tonight. It was simple. Not as simple as my staple frozen pizza, but what is?

I’m not just a control freak. I’m a control freak about efficiency. If it takes too much time, I want no part of it. Crazy messes in the kitchen? Not a problem. An extra 30 minutes teaching my daughter how to prepare a simple meal? Big problem.

I’m embarrassed to admit it

Perhaps it’s the long day at work. Or the exhaustion I feel once I cross my home’s threshold. Maybe it’s the screaming little brother in the background who just wants to eat dinner. Or that it’s just easier to do it myself.

(I think I should have stuck with my testing tirade. It would have been far less revealing.)

Despite the rationale behind my reasons for not teaching my daughter certain lessons, it misses the big picture. It misses the scope of my role as a parent.

If I am to raise children who will, one day, responsibly lead their corners of the world, I must do a better job of preparing them to live their lives without me. Because one day, they will.

This teaching of independence requires I relinquish control. Bit-by-bit. My heart aches just thinking about what my letting go will one day mean…

Dinner and independence aside, all adults need to know how to clean a toilet at some point. And as my porcelain privies seem to have a perpetual ring of mildew, I could use the child labor, I mean, help.

That’s just it. I need to be better at preparing my children to be part of the family unit. And that takes time; time I cannot control. It takes teaching them how to do chores and how to fix simple meals.

Because if they’re not expected to lift a finger, I’m raising members of the entitled generation. Lifting a finger begins in my home. Teaching those expectations? Well, that begins with me—the parent.

Oh, how I need to do a better job. But I’m not going to beat myself up tonight. Nope. I’m going to have a plan. It’s t-minus eight days before school lets out for my little bundles of chore readiness.

I can do this. You can too. Or maybe you already do. If so? You’re my hero. No, really. You are.

One simple meal a week. Aside from travel, that means my Princess will have six meals under her belt by summer’s end.

One chore a week. (May I take a moment to say, my children do have some chores already part of their repertoires.) I’m talking the bigger tasks—the ones that might allow me to have a clean house in less than two hours by August.

It may not be perfect. But I guess that’s part of what I will have to let go of too.

Washing Windows My Kitchen Mess

Who knows? You may say I’m a dreamer.

But I’m not the only one…

Will you join me? Let’s raise a generation of kids defined by their ability to do things for themselves and not by their test scores. (Sorry…it slipped.)

I promise to lay aside my control-freak-self at least twice a week this summer. And by fall I hope to reap the harvest teamwork can bring as I labor alongside my children and my Prince.

We can do this momma!

Oh. And I’m open to ideas…

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4 Responses to Relinquishing My Inner Control Freak One Small Step at a Time

  1. Chanda says:

    I’m right with you, Heather. Sometimes teaching our children to do chores is actually more for them than for us. It takes extra time to teach them, and they aren’t going to clean quite as thoroughly as we would. But, it’s a great lesson to give them the gift of service for others.

  2. Liz says:

    Heather, thank you. If you learn this lesson now it will be infinitely easier later.

  3. Jennine G. says:

    This is very much me! My daughter has asked about doing laundry so many times. And the idea of keeping track of whether or not they did a list of chores is just one more thing! But, like you said, summer is here. What better time to establish a solid routine to carry through the next school year? Thanks for the motivation.

  4. Robin Plank says:

    It helps me to let go if I think, “These are not my cookies that she is helping me to make. These are her cookies I am helping her to make. They can be imperfect because the goal is not excellent cookies. The goal is for her to own the experience of making cookies. OWN. HERS. Thanks, Heather, for helping me in an area where I struggle!