I’m About to Lose Control and I Think I Like It
Clearly the ultimate 80s workout song competition is getting in my head because for the last week I’ve had “I’m So Excited” in my head. And with pretty good reason. That line about losing all control and liking it? Well, that’s pretty much been me recently. And it’s been … okay. Kind of essential actually.
Yes, I know what the Pointer Sisters are really singing about, but for me, control — and specifically needing things to be checked off my to-do list in order to feel fulfilled and content — has been an ongoing issue. Just as I seem to be able to let go of needing to be in control, somehow it just sneaks back in and before I know it, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m unable to relax because I just have so many things I had wanted to get accomplished over the weekend but that are just sitting there unchecked on my unending to-do list. And just like that, my easygoing Sunday morning vibe is replaced with the oh-shit panic of all of the things I needed to do but didn’t. And now have to squeeze in … somewhere.
(Anyone else feel me on this?)
But here’s the one thing about being a new mom and having a baby at home: YOU HAVE NO CONTROL. At least not like you did before.
Like a clean house and de-cluttered home office to be productive? Green smoothie every morning? Clean clothes that are put away? To-do list tackled like a ninja? Dinner made? No new emails in your inbox? Workout done? Teeth brushed by 9 a.m. (or, gosh, let’s be real, 2 p.m.)? Yeah, one or two of those things might happen. But probably not all of them. Because in between trying to do all that and take care of a baby and get sleep, there just isn’t the time in the day — or the energy in your bones.
So some things just naturally get pushed to the backburner and become less important. Other things, you wondered why you stressed about them for so long before. And the rest? Well, at least for me, you just sit back and lose control. After years of pushing myself to do more, accomplish more and be more, the latest gift my baby girl has given me is to remember to just be.
Recently I’ve been reading Jim Brickman’s book Soothe, and so much of his experience with being almost addicted to stress and having the constant mental dialogue of what he has to do repeating in his head over and over again hit so close to home. And while in his book he recommends all kinds of amazing ways to be easier on yourself (meditation, listening to soft music, eating right, working out), the No. 1 thing I got from the book is that we create our own reality. If you want less stress in your life, you have to stop giving it value. You have to wake up, open your eyes and release your need to do.
My daughter’s in-the-moment needs don’t allow me to live in a perfect world where I’m on top of everything. She’s throwing me curveballs left and right. And I’m dropping balls all over the place in areas I never would before (see earlier paragraph on home, food, workouts, work). But as the weeks go by, I’m accepting — and beginning to become grateful — for my new day-to-day reality.
It’s taken a major life change for me to not just logically know but to feel deep down inside that the items checked off on my to-do list are not an indicator of my self worth. I don’t need to be a perfect anything (wife, mother, business partner, friend). That darn to-do list was such a crutch for so long — I didn’t realize exactly how much of a slave I was to it, both in terms of how I spent my mental energy and how I felt about myself, until now.
So that laundry? I’ll get to it. Those social obligations that I don’t really want to go to but feel like I have to? I can say no. Dinner? Take-out is fine a few days a week. That workout? A walk around the block with the stroller is enough. Cleaning? I can accept help from family. And that to-do list? Well, I haven’t abolished it completely (mom brain needs things written down!), but it’s losing its power. It’s more of a suggestion than a directive, for once.
The only thing I’m taking orders from these days is my baby girl. Her needs are the only thing in control now. And I’m just along for the ride — and, yes, so excited.
Have you ever lost control — in a good way? —Jenn
I love that you can take all your anger out on exercise!
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