Let Go of ControlBy Winnie Yu for Completely You
My friend Sue can’t get her son to do his homework. My friend Barbara can’t make her daughter eat better. Me? I struggle with getting my daughters to exercise, clean up the messes they leave and practice their instruments.
In truth, I’m a bit of a control freak. I like life to unfold the way I want it to unfold. But reality doesn’t work that way, especially where other human beings are involved. That’s why I can’t get my husband to stop collecting Legos, my mother to join the senior center, and editors to give me the assignments I want.
When it came to my kids, I thought it would be a little easier. After all, I’m Mom. Shouldn’t they be doing as they’re told? Shouldn’t they be following my advice and learning from my hard-earned experience? Wouldn’t they want to do things the easier way -- which, in most cases, is my way?
Wrong. Turns out they’re little people with minds and habits of their own too. To make matters worse, they’re in the throes of slowly breaking away from us, which makes not doing what we want that much more exciting.
It took me a long time to figure out that no amount of cajoling and weaseling was going to get anyone to do exactly as I wanted. So I gave up. Perhaps it was the wisdom of age. Or maybe it was the yoga and meditation. But somewhere along the way, I learned that letting go of what I can’t control -- be it the weather or my daughters -- takes a lot less energy and makes life a lot less stressful.
So when my daughter Samantha was in second grade, I stopped begging her to try new foods. In fourth grade, I stopped helping her with homework. A couple of years ago, I stopped pleading with her to clean her room.
Just the other day, when she came down dressed in what I thought was not enough clothes for skiing, I asked her, “Do you think you have enough layers on?”
“I’m fine, Mom,” she said with an eye roll.
And that was good enough for me.
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Winnie Yu is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.