It has occurred to me lately, in my quest to bring balance to my life, that it is truly impossible to control everything and everyone all of the time. Actually, any of the time. You might think this is ridiculous, that I am only just realising this now, a few months shy of my thirty-seventh birthday, but I guess better late than never. I have some serious letting go to do, I just have to figure out how.
Motherhood doesn’t really lend itself to the art of letting go, unless you count letting go of sleep, our identity, our bikini lines…in fact it’s quite the opposite. We tend to tie ourselves in knots making sure everything goes to plan. We rely on time tables, schedules, to-do lists and rosters as the tools of our trade. We earn doctorates in multi-tasking and nominate ourselves for plate-filling competitions. Priorities become skewed in the name of ‘getting things done’…we get confused or momentarily forget what is truly important. The problem is, we engage in years of training for this role, the role of the Do-Everything Mum only to discover that we’ve got it all wrong. And then it comes time to master a new art…the art of letting go.
I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist because I certainly don’t think I am, or anything I do is perfect, which probably demonstrates my leaning towards perfectionism perfectly. I am a clean freak, a total tidiness nut, but this wasn’t always the way and those who knew me when I was young (or witnessed the state of my teenage bedroom) think it’s pretty hilarious. It’s a habit that has developed over time ( I have a few suspicions as to why but that’s a whole other post) from a need to control my environment. I don’t cope in chaos…actually, I can’t even sleep if the wardrobe door is slightly ajar! Some people can’t sit down if the dishes haven’t been done, I can’t even think straight. I have on many occasions, chosen to let others have fun with my children while I get the housework done and have forgone basic self care activities like eating properly and exercising to clean up a mess or save making a new one. I have been observing myself lately and what have I discovered? I’m missing out. Big time.
And so, I need to focus on letting go.
So what will this look like for me? It will certainly look like a less tidy house – which, if I’m honest, will take a huge amount of pressure off everyone living here. It might look like having garlic bread with our pasta (home made – I’m not totally going to lose it) instead of a lecture about the perils of gluten. It might look like stopping and looking into the eyes of my five year old as she tells me about her day and hugging my two year old when he gets clingy instead of leaving it to the Bananas while I get back to making dinner. It will look like planning less and doing what we feel like more. Hopefully it will look more like a smile and less like the deep line that is forming between my eyebrows.
This is going to be a challenge for me. Being without a partner for much of the time has created in me a fierce independence, a determination do it all, and do it well. But you’re not going to judge me, are you? If I relax a little? Lighten up? There might not be a fresh batch of cookies or a sparkling kitchen waiting next time you visit but you will be welcomed with warmth and a smile. I’m pretty sure most of my friends are thinking…thank God, it’s about time!
Have you mastered the art of letting go? I want to know all about it! What things to you let go, relax about? I would love to hear your stories and advice.