Life · Parenthood

Cut the Control, Unleash the Flexibility

These last few days have been a bit tense for me. As you may remember I mentioned before that I started school again after taking 2 semesters off and now with working part time, going to school part time, plus the new responsibility of our baby daughter, I’m finding it really difficult at times to juggle everything without feeling overwhelmed. Add to that the hormones that I feel at times, when one moment I’m fine and the next the tears are gushing out of me like rivers of water. And then to top it off, I started to get this painful feeling near my right shoulder blade that at times is so excruciating it’s all I can do to not break down in tears over that as well.

This morning a couple things happened that made me finally stop and pay attention to God and my body’s message loud and clear, that I need to find a way to take care of myself and not let the tension build up inside of me, to the point that now I’m hurting physically.

I had plans this morning to meet a few close friends for breakfast and I’ll be honest, a part of me wanted to just cancel, because in my mind I was thinking of all the other things I should be doing instead, primarily reading for my classes. But the positive voice inside me (and my supportive husband) was saying, go, you haven’t seen them in well over a month and you need that time with them. I’m glad I listened. Now, I am embarrassed to share, but need to be honest, that before I left to meet with my friends I went on a bit of a rant with my husband, and my husband said something that rang very true in my ears and that pretty much summed up one of my biggest issues…that I need to just trust that he’ll be fine with the baby. Lesson number one.

Once I made it to my destination and saw my friends I was SO happy that I’d decided not to bail because I knew I would have been kicking myself in the butt later in the day. I needed this girl time, to be in the company of my friends who will not only hear me out but also be honest and direct with me. There is no fluff here. At one point I was sharing about the pain in my shoulder and how tired I was feeling and my girl friends told me straight out that I need to let go of the control and, like my husband said, trust that he and the baby will be fine, which they will. Lesson number two.

You see, the thing is it’s not that I don’t trust my husband, because I know that he’ll do wonderful in caring for our daughter and he’s been so hands on and supportive with our baby. It’s more that somewhere in my paranoid first time parent mommy mind I’ve come to think that no one can take care of our dauther as well as I can. How egotistic is that, right? I mean, yes, maybe I know her needs/physical signs more because I’m with her more often, but for me to not let go and fully trust that my husband, who also spends time with her, who loves her more than anything, and would do anything to ensure that she’s safe and is attended to, is just very self centered of me. And creates this whole slew of unnecessary tension and weight on me.

Now, you’re probably wondering if all it took was my husband saying those words about trusting in him and my friends saying the words of letting go and trusting were enough to get me to see more clearly. No. The wonderful thing about God is that he gives me real time scenarios for me to learn and test out the new thoughts and opportunity for growth that’s placed infront of me.

When I made it back home I called my husband and he said they were out by the lake relaxing since our little tiny love hadn’t wanted to sleep. As I was walking towards them, I noticed they were indeed sitting on the grass and I could see Celeste all smiles and our dog Biggie eager to greet me. Now, I have to admit my first thought (remember, paranoid first time mom) was “oh my gosh, she’s not on a blanket” and my other more rational voice is saying “it’s just grass yvonne” followed by “but it’s grass, dirty” and as I approach I see that she’s got grass all over her feet, her pants are dirty, a piece of a leaf in her mouth, and (best of all) the absolute biggest grin on her face. I even want to burst out laughing as I’m typing this because of how funny and awesome of a moment it was. And I thought, wow, thank you sweetie (my husband), for bringing her out here and allowing her to explore, get dirty, and just enjoy being a kid. And I did thank my husband out loud.

Fast forward to another different scenario…after Celeste woke up from her afternoon nap, my husband had mentioned he wanted to go for a run and I mentioned I wanted to make a quick run to the mall to pick up something I needed and would take Celeste. My husband in turn said he could take Celeste for a run in the stroller. My first thought was to say no I’d take her, but I stopped myself and I said something like ok, even though that nagging voice in my mind was saying “but what if she gets cold, what if something happens” and my rational voice is saying “yvonne, seriously, go”. I made it back home just before my husband and Celeste got back because my husband had taken Biggie for a walk after his run. And what do I find when I opened the door to let them in? Another big smile on our daughters face.

I realized today that the only way I’m going to release a bit of my own tension and anxiety is by being more flexible and letting go of this innate control inside me that jumps at the chance of showing it’s little beety personality. I have gotten somewhat better about this over time, but in my moments of panic I tend to unleash that little monster, and what I want to practice is feeling the emotion but not allowing it to take reign, to learn to let go of things, like my husband says.

I know a lot of this control comes from my childhood and living in an environment, created by my mom, of absolute order, control, and attempts at perfection, and that while she herself has learned in some aspects to let go and be flexible, a lot of what I lived out day to day throughout my childhood and adolescence is still in me. But, like I was sharing with my husband, I want to practice in being aware of this part of me and cutting the control and unleashing my flexibility so that our baby can grow up to feel that she can express herself and be herself.

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