Control Freak

Hallelujah! I’ve conned Silas into what we call the “nap trap”.  He gave up napping long ago, but sometimes, if I am tired enough, I can lay myself down and eventually (usually we’re talking at least a half an hour to an hour later) he will fall into slumber.  God or Destiny, or heck, maybe it’s Lucille, taps me on the shoulder to wake me up and Voila!  I have some writing time!

So here I am.  After a long enough pause.  (Yes, I sat down last night and stared at a blank screen for two hours…)  Still, here I am.

I don’t know how else to start but to say that yes, sometimes, I can be a control freak.

Of course, I noticed this immediately after writing the post “Fashion Police”.  (Hell, I knew it already.  But, let’s pretend that I just recognized it.) And, with this recognition, I have improved.  I now give Silas choices: this collared shirt or that one?

Yesterday, we were going to the Botanical Gardens and would be splashing in the stream.  I fought my urge to overdress him and instead put him in a t-shirt and shorts (be them plaid) that my Dad bought from Wal-mart.  (I am not saying that I am a clothes snob in terms of where I buy my clothes.  I more often than not buy Silas’s clothes at the Goodwill or the consignment boutique.  Still, I should also mention that I am not the biggest fan of Wal-mart.  But, again, that doesn’t mean I don’t shop there from time to time hypocrite that I am.)

Today, because we are staying home, I let him pick out his total ensemble.  Yes, he is wearing sweatpants and I am okay with it.  Mostly okay.  I hope no one stops by the house unexpectedly.

So, therefore, I am improving. Right?

But, there are still those moments that I slip back into a controlmonger.

For example, and I say that this is for the sake of time, I often still dress my lovely little boy.  (For those of you who are new, he is almost four, not almost twelve.)  I know that I am enabling him to be dependent on me.  I know it, I know it, I know it.  The fact that I know it makes the situation sickening if I think about it.  But, still, I have not the patience to watch him struggle with his shoes for an hour.  I am sorry.  I am Satan.  I am Control Freak.  (I should say that today he dressed himself.  Yes, we are staying home.)

But, let me reiterate, I am getting better.

Recently, Silas had an appointment at the dentist and the hair dresser.  He’d never been to the dentist.  He’d only been to a hair dresser twice.  Both times, he followed instructions perfectly, the first time, without any complaints.  I was proud.  But I was also standing by, jiggling my leg, and chewing on my tongue.  Every time a directive was given I had to fight the urge to give the directive again.  Yes, like Echo, the bewitched nymph.

Silas, would you scoot back just a little.

Silas scoot back, back, back…

Silas would you lean your head forward,

Silas lean your head forward, forward, forward…

Not only would I want to repeat the words, I would actually begin to step forward, hands at the ready, and have to fight the urge to move him myself or to push my controlling nose up against his relatively innocent one to help him to imbibe the meaning of the directive.

Then, after fighting the urge, I would have to slip, unhappily, from my role as Mama Cheerleader and choke down my “Good Job!  Rah-rah-rah!” because you aren’t supposed to praise kids for everything.  (Or is it for anything?)  Either way, at the end of it all, I would praise myself for not falling into control mode.  (Although I would also be embarrassed that the dental hygienist or the stylist or the neighboring patrons must have inevitably noticed me lunging then backing up suddenly, opening and closing my mouth like a trout, uttering monosyllables, jiggling, fluttering my hands, balling my fists afterward and then pinching my lips closed.  Ma’am they might ask, do you need a drink of water?)

So, control freak I am.  It is rather unsightly if I do say so myself.

But, again, the improvement.

I just ordered the book Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay.  I have no idea who these two people are, but the book came recommended (albeit by a psycho psychotherapist) and has won some awards.  I’m sure the book will tell me that I am doing everything wrong.  That I am, slowly but surely, fucking up my child.  (Or, and I hope this isn’t the case, that I have already fucked up my child.)  I am too demanding, I don’t give him enough choices, I praise him too frequently, I dress him for my own lack of patience.  I’m sure the list goes on and on.

Still, what can I do but be aware and to strive to do better?  What else can I do but be the best mom that I can with the tools that I have?  I will give the book a try and maybe read more of them and try to adjust my style in order to rear a happy, well-adjusted, confident young man.

I just hope that he doesn’t resent me in the future.  Although, don’t most children resent their parents at some point?

So, here is the part, where I will give myself a pat on the back.  I am trying.  I am improving.  I am shedding the virtual skin of my controlmonger ways.  I am, in fact, doing the best job possible.




  1. slysummaries said,

    August 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I love the image of the trout! And can I get second author for that water line? Ha, ha. Do I get the sense that you were holding back or rushed for time? Because I feel like you wanted to describe what Silas looks like while getting dressed, or the trauma you undergo while waiting for him to don the shoe. Maybe not, but you are so good at description!

    Do not worry about fucking him up! According to my anecdotal research, the outcomes do not always correlate to the effort (you know, some people who try hard still end up with duds and vice versa). You are doing the best job and you are the best one for the job!

    Didn’t I tell you about my grandmother admonishing me for trying to make my kids put their shoes and socks on by themselves? She tells me they might as well be foster kids, the way I make them do everything. Her kids, her kids never gave her any trouble about which shirt to wear because she just put one on them and that was that. She definitely dressed them at least until they were in kindergarten or the children outnumbered her limbs. There is something to be said for the control freak route, because if I have to hear about how that shirt is not the RIGHT shade of pink or how the tiny yellow logo on the bottom renders it unsuitable for that skirt, I might go crazy.

    • Emily said,

      August 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      I wasn’t rushed for time. I have no excuse. But, you are right, maybe I need to revisit those descriptions. Wait, just wait!

      Yes, I have to remember that there are many philosophies about rearing children and that they have shifted throughout the generations. There have been many successful people in this world all reared under different circumstances. I may have, for this post, exaggerated my worry some, but when I do think about it deeply I am concerned.

      Perhaps you should write a snippet about the right shade of pink. I know from talking with other moms that you are not the only one with that issue!

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