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Losing Control

Suburban Life Magazine

Losing control



Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a control freak.

It goes without saying I am a “Type A” kind of gal.  I make to-do lists and fervently cross things off of them as I get them done.  Then, I make another to do list because, as much satisfaction as I get out of crossing those things off, I hate the mess it creates on my beloved list.  Not to mention the fact that I am constantly adding on to my list of things to do. 

I am a glutton for stability.  I don’t like change, or the unknown.  I like to plan out how things are going to go for the next week, month and three to five years.  I’m not adventurous or spontaneous in any way, because that would mean I don’t have control over the situation and that makes me break out in hives. 

I like things done “my way” and would rather take on a task myself to make sure it is done to my liking than ask for help.  For example, my husband has offered numerous times to help with laundry, but I know full well if he does it, I’ll end up re-doing it because it isn’t how I do it. Then, I get stressed out that I have too much to do and it is all self-imposed. 

Despite my constant efforts at organization, my house is usually in the constant state of chaos. I feel like a hamster on a wheel with the constant dishes, laundry, dusting and general cleaning up after two kids, a husband, a dog and a cat.  I never feel like the house is clean all at once and when it is, it only lasts for a few moments before all hell breaks loose. I obsess over the fact that no one in my family can put a pair of shoes on the conveniently located shoe rack right inside our door. I lose my mind over the pajamas that are left wherever my daughter decides to disrobe in the house. And don’t get me started about finding Legos in a bin that is not designated specifically for Legos.

It really is rather sad when I stop to think about it, but let’s face it; there are a lot of us out there. I’m not the only one beating myself up for not having things just right.  Here’s the worst part; for those of us doing this that have children, you know full well that few things ever go as planned or are within our complete control.  No wonder we’re all nuts.

My friend recently shared a blog with me about how we clean our houses like crazy ladies before we have our friends over, even for a simple cup of coffee.  The blog “Dugans Incahoots” writes, “ If I have to clean for three hours before you come over…we can’t be friends. We just can’t.”

Oddly, my friend shared this with me the day after I had her and some other girlfriends over for a casual gathering.As much as I told myself that these women know me inside and out, know that my life is chaotic and have seen my house in the middle of the day in the midst of life when toys are strewn about, macaroni and cheese is stuck to the wall, dishes are in the sink and my kids are still in their jammies, I still felt the need to scrub, straighten and remove all evidence that anyone actually lives here. 

In the end, as long as I provided snacks, booze and good company, there was not need to make my house look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens. Like our bodies, women compare our homes to what we see in magazines, forgetting that those homes were staged for a photo shoot and likely took two solid weeks to clean in preparation.

I could, likely, uphold such standards if my children had no` toys and I locked them in a closet during their waking hours.  But that’s just no way to live.  If my kitchen isn’t messy, it means I’m not cooking meals for my family.  If my daughter’s backpack isn’t emptied on the kitchen table, she’s not doing homework. If there aren’t toys lying around, they aren’t playing and having fun.  That’s life.

My friends and I have made a vow to simply knock off the need to impress each other.  While we are more than willing to stage an intervention should a hoarding situation occur, there is no need to fret about mail on the countertops, dishes in the sink or crumbs on the floor. It really is the least we could do for our nearest and dearest friends. 

Now, preparing for when our mothers come over…. that’s a whole different story.

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