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04/16/2010

“It won't get done without me!” And Other Mom-isms From Which I Am Emerging

Laundry I have a tendency to fall into that consummate mom dilemma.

It seems to me that if I'm not directing, guiding or literally doing chores  around the house or other specific areas of life, they won't get done adequately...or at all.

Yes, I'll admit it, a part of me feels hyper-responsible for the goings on of my home and even for my kids.

On the other hand, I have additional interests than my house and kids-- I don't literally want to be in charge of it all.

Whether it's vacuuming the carpets, folding clothes, cleaning the rabbit's pen or preparing food, there's a part of me who believes that it's all up to me. The onus appears to be on me to make sure that our home looks good and runs smoothly, that all people and pets are well cared for and behave appropriately.

In my current day to day living, I am not quite as controlling as this (or as I used to be).

But she's still in there.

There is that Amy who cringes when guests come over and there is dust on the bookshelves. There is also that Amy who steps in and takes over-- unrequested-- as my 11 year old son prepares a box of macaroni and cheese.

Yes, much of this stems from the fact that I've worked from home for over a decade now and I have a bit of ego wrapped up in this aspect of my identity.

This is also all about trust.

The hyper-responsible, i.e. controlling, Amy really doesn't believe that anyone else will (or can) keep the house, cook the food and even parent the kids the way that she can.

I'm speaking about this “other” Amy in the third person because there is also an emerging Amy who is moving past this tendency and is able to share the house chores, ask for assistance and trust others to do a fine job of it without my having any involvement at all.

I am grateful for this and I intend to nurture the emerging Amy more and more.

But life has been known to throw tests our way, and I have a big one coming up.

My husband is about to take on a second job. This is good news financially for my family, but the big downside is that he'll be home less than usual.

These changes ahead will mean that I have the opportunity to grow that emerging, share-the-load Amy. Or, I could fall back into the old controlling, non-trusting Amy.

I'm sure that there will be moments of both.

When my husband is home, I want him to be able to relax and kick back. I want us to spend that time enjoying one another's company, rather than him having to scurry around and get his regular chores done during those precious off-hours.

So this means that my sons are going to get the chance to broaden their domestic skills-- if I let them.

I plan to write out all of the things that need to happen in order to keep our home relatively clean and functioning in a way to which we are accustomed. Then, my sons and I will divide up the list among the three of us.

Here's where the challenge for me arises.

I am well aware that we all have different standards of what clean, tidy or picked up means. I understand that we will need to come to agreements about time frames and minimum standards when it comes to these chores.

Most of all, I will have the chance to hone in on my responsibilities and allow my sons to do theirs as best as they can.

I can choose to appreciate their efforts and think first before I point out where they've fallen short of my standards. Of course, there might be times when they need to do something again, but I can open up to the probability that there will also be plenty of times when they have done the job just right.

Little by little, I can learn that it really isn't all up to me. And with that knowing, I can relax and enjoy life a whole lot more.

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This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post.

When she's not doing laundry-- or opening up to her sons doing the laundry, Amy Phillips-Gary write self improvement and relationship articles for various websites, including Personal Growth Planet. You can read her weekly blog at the Personal Growth Planet Blog.

Amy is also a personal growth coach who specializes in helping women feel great about their bodies and achieve their life goals. Click here to e-mail her for more information about coaching packages available.

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