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In my 3+ years of mothering, I’ve now know that some of the challenges in Motherhood are all about control. I’ve seen or heard from others that being a Mother invites control into your life. Even if you didn’t struggle with control before becoming a Mother, you now struggle with control.
It’s like the love we all have for our children somehow creates a desire to control everything. We want our children to be safe. To feel supported. And, we also want to shield them, at least for a time, from some of the more terrible things in the world. Above all, we want them to be children, to grow, learn, and play.
We also want our homes to look and feel nice. Our bodies to recover from pregnancy and breastfeeding. To have a sense of our own identity even as we give so much to and for our children. And, we’d sure like for everything to flow nicely, or at least in a way that makes sense.
Yet, just about everything about Motherhood and raising children is out of our control.
Let’s let that sink in.
Just about everything in Motherhood is our of our control.
We may have a hand in getting pregnant to begin with, but actually getting pregnant is our of our control. We know we need to eat well, drink water, move our pregnant and uncomfortable bodies, and we also need to find that ever-elusive comfortable sleep. But, in reality, our baby’s growth in utero is out of our hands. And, for the most part, birth (when and how long) is out of our hands.
And as soon as that tiny little, adorable baby arrives in our hands, our love explodes. We are immediately consumed with trying to figure everything out. We constantly learn how to care for, protect, and nurture the wonderful blessing that is our child.
We all do our best. We read, research, talk with others, try one thing and then another. All of this is done in the best interest of our children. We work to keep our homes in some semblance of order, we pin things on Pinterest, we cook, we play games, we print or make sheets of activities. And, we’re constantly doing everything we possibly can and seeking ways to do more or better than we are.
Still, our children grow at their own pace. They each develop in their own way and time. No matter what, they don’t really pick up behind themselves or listen. No matter what, they throw tantrums over the tiniest and unimportant thing (like whether they have toast with their eggs or not). Our children even outsmart us from time to time.
And, sometimes, no manner of knowing and understanding that this is childhood and Motherhood and we’re all growing up together, soothes us. Sometimes, the lack of order and tidiness, the endless picking up, diaper changes, nursing sessions, cooking and cleaning with little hands that want to help, gets to us.
Sometimes our desire to do the best for our children looks and feels as if we have serious control issues. In those moments, we often forget the little hands are learning. Our tiny babies are growing and changing and doing exactly what we want them to do. We might even forget in those moments that we’re doing exactly what we want to do, too. Maybe we don’t want to teach right then, but we do want them to learn and we want to be their teacher. Because, who really wants eggs splattered all over the counter when we’re showing them how to bake? Or half the gravy you just made to be sloshed and left to dry on the stove while we finish cooking? Or even for all the books to be pulled off the shelves and scattered aimlessly about the house?
We all want all of the things to have a place and stay there, the dinner to be cooked with minimal mess and cleanup, the floor to not be sticky, and the walls to not have “lovely” crayon lines and drawings on them. We don’t want to labor over stained clothing, marvel over hours-new shoes with scuffs on them, or discover our brand new pack of menstrual products have been unwrapped and found in all manner of places.
And then, we step back for a moment, or our children fall asleep peacefully at the end of another busy day of learning and growing, and we remember that all is right in the world. Our children are safe and happy. They’ve learned something new. We’ve done our best to keep order in our homes. We may even have gotten a few minutes to ourselves.
And, in those moments we release the control.
We put it back in that special interior closet and we remind ourselves of the highest order work we could ever do in nurturing our children. We remember that we have to let go in order for our children to grow into the kind of people we really want them to be. And, if we’re lucky, we also give and receive grace in those moments – sometimes from ourselves, sometimes from others.
So it is, in Motherhood control is a different thing entirely. It stems from the deepest and strongest love we could ever have in our lives. And, I ask, do we as Mothers really have ‘control issues’? Or are we just learning and growing, shifting and changing, loving and giving right alongside our children?
What are your thoughts on control in Motherhood? Tell me how you manage these interior aspects of Motherhood? What other lessons have you learned in Motherhood?