Motherhood And The Art Of Letting Go.

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.

from pinterest…

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.

from pinterest…

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.

Chillax,

mamacino x

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31 thoughts on “Motherhood And The Art Of Letting Go.

  1. Oh Kristin, nope, haven’t mastered the art, but I hope to get better at it:-) I too find that I think better when things are tidy, although I am far from being described as a clean freak, I certainly need some order. I’ve always found some truth in the saying “the state of the house is the state of the mind” and I resonate with some of the concepts of feng shui, but without a cleaner, a cook, a personal trainer and a nanny and a study (or at least the room to store things properly), it is all a little hard to cover all of the bases, especially when you throw in some additional challenges. If you find the secret to letting go, let me know:-). I also think when it comes to parenting there are so many expectations nowadays which makes people like (us?) strive to make everyone happy and to do the best possible “job” we can, as it is a big responsibility helping to grow people. As my husband says, “you can’t follow all of the advice in all of the books all of the time”…I think there are many people reading your blog, hoping you find a way so we can all apply it to our lives:-)(no pressure;-)(definitely no judgement:-)

  2. Ah I felt so “at home” reading your post Kristin. And guilty too! I often miss out on the fun conversations between friends after a meal, or bathtime and story, because I am so caught up in trying to get everything cleaned and tidied up asap… But letting go is SO hard.
    I try to “straighten up” the house every evening after the kids have gone to bed though, as I find it easier to relax without the mess, plus its nice to start afresh the next morning.
    /Camilla

      • “Letting go IS hard…I certainly haven’t mastered it yet, but what I have discovered is that it is a skill worth our learning” I love this statement times 10 million xxx

  3. Cue the spooky music, I was reading your post while eating breakfast and watching sunrise…..one of the guests was talking about how from the moment you give birth , the job of being a mother becomes a process of letting go…..from your body, then as they walk, then to school and so on, so that they can grow up to be independent of you. Funny coincidence!
    So anyway, I think it’s fine to want a tidy house, just don’t stress if it’s not spotless all the time. A home should be lived in, we all have our quirks, I like the kitchen clean before I sit down after dinner, I like the cushions on the lounge straightened before I go to bed…..I could go on. The trick probably is not to melt down if that doesn’t happen.
    I heard a song on the radio the other day, a mum saying to her teenage daughter to slow down, she will miss these days, not to push her mum away and be in such a hurry to get out in the big wide world on her own, she doesn’t realise now but she will miss her ….then she is in her first home with her new husband and is already planning the next move, her dad says slow down, enjoy this, you’ll look back and see how fun this was….finally she is holding her first baby and is looking to when she is less dependant , her Mum again says, slow down, take it all in, you’re going to miss this ( yes, it was a country song, cheesy as all else), I may have been sitting in the car in the garage having a little tear. It just really hit home, how true that is, we’re all guilty I think of rushing, planning, wishing, it’s just life.
    So give it your best shot Kris, slow down, let go, relax. Good luck.

    • Thank you so much for your advice and comments Kez. You are always full of such great wisdom…Lucky for Ali (and me and my girls) that we have you as a role model in our life. Hope we get to catch up and chill out together soon xx

  4. Life is a juggling act isn’t it? If we spent all our time playing with the kids, then we wouldn’t eat or have anything to wear! It’s also all about getting our priorities straight. I am so glad you are easing up on yourself – you deserve it! Kids = mess, so we may as well roll with it (until they move out of course!) Let us know how you are going. xxxxx

  5. I am hardly one to give advice beacuse as you know I have completely let go of many things and not all of them are good….. but the one big thing I have learnt is that the house work will wait, but life won’t. Your children will cherish the things you did together, not how clean the house was. When the sun is shining, get out in it and do cartwheels on the beach!!

  6. I love seeing you grow! This was so well written. I am less controlled and more spinning out of control some days I think! i need a little of your control and you can have some of my lazybones xx

  7. I do believe planning ahead does actually help you let go more at certain times: I have started meal planning & this is what enables me to buy all the groceries I need in my weekly shop, and know what fruit & veg I am may be missing each day, instead of panicking each morning about what’s for dinner, what’s in the fridge, what do I have to buy. It also helps me defrost meat earlier & start dinner prep at any time during the day (or even the day before) because I know where I am at. This has allowed me to have most afternoons free to devote most of my time to my kids – homework, reading, puzzles, bathing, or even going to the beach for a run. As mothers we need to know what are our stress triggers are, but to also manage them with realistic expectations. So, yes, I do need a quick tidy up at the end of the day, but before then we will not get annoyed about the mess, but make the most of it.

  8. I think it’s around this time (I’m not far behind you,) that we start to really get a hold of this knowledge and use it. I’ve begun to let go of the past that I can not change and instead enjoy the person it made me, and learn to be a parent despite it.

  9. Oh my goodness Kristin…… you have described me to a tee and I was just thinking last night that something has to give AND SOON! It does my head in trying to be on top of everything all the time. It seriously only just occurred to me that while I had somehow convinced myself that I am doing the best by my family when I am keeping the house nice or preparing good food, those things actually matter far less than just being present with my kids and my husband. When and how did my priorities get so out of whack? What harm will come if the dirty dishes sit there? If the laundry doesn’t get put away for a few days?

    I think part of it for me is that when I fell out of control when it comes to the big things (like long-term sleep deprivation,other big picture stuff), I grasp to control all the little things to give me an illusion of having everything sorted.

    Anyway, thank you for this post and I would love to join you and support you in a quest to sort out our priorities and let go. Bring it on!!

    • Jen, I agree wholeheartedly that we grasp control where we can get it…having control over something is better than having control over nothing! Control is ok, being organised, tidy, productive – I have no problem with that…like Kerri says though, it’s resisting the urge to have a meltdown when those things don’t fall into place :-)

  10. Pingback: How To Let Go – A Beginner’s Guide | mamacino

  11. Geez. I hear you sister! I went away for a weekend a few weeks back, with the kids, my brother and sister and her family (husband and 2 kids). I still had to do it all. I felt like if I dropped the balls I would never be able to pick them all up again.
    As discussed above, it’s not a problem to have a meal plan, a housework schedule etc. It becomes a problem if we can’t cope with going off the plan. Flexibility is key. x

  12. Ah it is SO hard isn’t it! I feel like I have to control everything, but I really don’t and I know that. So that has be a step in the right direction I suppose!

  13. I think I had a similar realisation a few years ago. Either I could have a very neat home and my children would be watching a lot of TV, or I allowed them to play, make a mess, and let them keep it messy to allow them to continue to play with it over the next day or two. I like a calm space, I like neatness, but I also value creativity in play, and also in allowing my children to have their rooms how they like. A few adjustments to my own personal standards has lead to a happier household overall. xx(PoTMC)

  14. I find that such a challenge every single day…..but i’m trying. Sometimes I catch myself rushing to get stuff done, when it can really wait a little longer. I hope when my daughter grows up, she will have some lovely memories. I’m here via POTMC, Lisa x.

  15. Ah Kristin, you gorgeous girl. I meant to comment the first time around. Sensational post. I could have written it, verbatim. We are walking the very same path! Thanks so much for linking up with the POTMC. J x

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