motherhood-sm

Honesty would encourage me to reveal or admit that I am someone who likes to have control. It may sound prettier to say I’m indifferent but that wouldn’t be true and between pretty and true, I choose true. Yet somehow it feels shameful, like something that should be omitted when describing oneself. I would much rather say “Hello there, I’m Maya and just so you know I completely don’t mind not having control.” That may put me in a completely different category of crazy but at least not in the control freak bin. But why? Is it really so unflattering to feel a sense of security in leading your own destiny? The answer is… Yes, it can be. More serious than unflattering, pursuing an abundance of control can cause great detriment and suffering. And besides, even when we think we’re leading, it’s our false sense of security disguising itself as control.

There are always consequences in life, residual aftermaths for all of our decisions. And we wonder why so many of us struggle in making choices. It couldn’t be the fact that our every move may ignite a serious domino effect that I don’t know, could bring everyone we know on a whirlwind of a roller-coaster ride only to make us dizzy and leave us asking “What just happened?” as we get dumped off at an unknown destination face first. I know, some of you reading this are perfectly comfortable with this repercussion, but again, call me crazy, I say “No Thanks!” Short segue here: One of my favorite, absolute most favorite actors is Ben Stiller. I think in large part this is because of the “sameness” in the character he plays (Zoolander and a couple other roles excluded). For example, if you’ve watched Meet the Parents, then your favorite scene, or one of your favorite scenes, like mine, is his belligerent breakdown on the plane clutching his baggage and refusing to relinquish unless from his dead lifeless fingers and his kungfu grip. This makes me laugh so genuinely and yet with a bit of compassion. At a glance, sure, he’s depicting a crazy man, but somehow I can relate. Anecdotally of course, the feeling of needing to protect my darlings. Not that my girls can be compared to luggage, but what Ben and I share is the knowledge of potential negative realities based on negative past experiences. In that, like many others, we are rationally irrational.

Speaking for myself, which is really who I’m most qualified to speak for, I can say that liking or wanting to be in control is part of who I am as a person, primal in my DNA. It’s also part of my pathology and life experiences, so for me it’s twofold embedded in my nature and my nurture. It wasn’t until I became a mom that liking and wanting control turned into “needing”. Needing to be in control of my babies at all times helped me feel that they were safe and happy and overall OK. And yet all of us living this life know that more so than not, is out of our control. Tough to swallow for us control-seekers.

And again, as always, enter my struggle with acceptance. Acceptance that this is just how it is, that this is what I have to do, that this is what everyone does. Trusting that the world will be kind and that the universe will protect them when I am unable to. And I often think, as relevant to me, of having these amazing little babies who I nurture and embrace and then having to release control in a way in which they can embrace life and life in turn can embrace them! In my mind I struggle to envision the not-so-far future of sending them to school. Just the sending part creates panic within. I am expected to follow general parental suit and send my darling, at the über-young age of five, on a public school bus driven by a stranger (who even when I learn their name will continue to be a stranger) and accompanied by children much older than she. I will expect her to know enough right from wrong to make it safely to school and back home. I will rely on my baby to tell me how her day was. Oh how I struggle. I struggle that this is what everyone does and it’s acceptable in our society. From baby to grown-up overnight. Acceptance, come out come out wherever you are. I need you! But then all of a sudden I hear a whisper of something else…it’s not just about acceptance, something I sometimes mandate myself to have. It’s about trusting and giving into something much greater, it’s a kind of surrendering.

The positive stuff. My struggle in acceptance and giving up control has and continues to teach me. I choose carefully. What is an issue of control or frustration and what is really just No Big Deal. I find I am much calmer these days (I’ve also heard from others that they find me calmer these days too.) My calm is evident in the way that the ‘simple’ things have shifted in value in my life. Last week my toddler was being a toddler (shocking here) and dumped her yogurt all over herself, head to belly, (disbelief here). My response was calm and productive as my babe looked at me inquisitively. A friend who was visiting witnessed the exchange and said, “Wow you’re so calm. I would be so irritated and it’s just that there’s so much to do and it’s just one more thing.” I quietly thought to myself, but that’s me, she’s describing me. I do get annoyed by that. And then I realized that it wasn’t me just then. In that brief moment and exchange, I could witness my process, my actions were way louder than my words. It was refreshing that another dirty shirt was not going to dictate a negative moment between me and my love. So simple and yet such a potential source of angst in the past. Yes there’s a lot of work and No I don’t want more, but there’s always gonna be work. Parenting is work…life is work. And I am choosing to use my frustrations more wisely. I felt proud. All of my conscious awareness and struggle with who I have inherently been bettered a moment in time in which my transformation was evident. I smiled as I tallied Yogurt Drop: 0 Calm Mom: 1 {In other shocking news, calm moms make for calm babies.}

These are just some of the baby steps (pun intended) that pave the road to the true challenges that lay ahead. You heard me folks, these fears and obstacles and decisions are small-time despite feeling enormous. Why? because at the end of the day we still get to cuddle and soothe and hug and explain and teach our darlings as we safely tuck them in bed and kiss them goodnight. It’s later, when they “know everything” and set out to be themselves all on their own that’s truly the relinquishing of control. I imagine at that time, we will wish them well and hope that we’ve equipped them the best we could to become the best they can be. I imagine it will be extremely difficult (I will most likely have a series of minor nervous-breakdowns), not to let go (because I never will), but to allow and support them to embrace life fully. And so I catch myself some days in a daydream, wondering which story or what recipe or what new exciting skill has peaked my darlings’ interest in a way that she will hold on to it and carry it with her into her independent life. I daydream about the opportunities that they will have and TAKE because they can, because it wasn’t about my peace of mind but my desire for their growth. I still like control. That hasn’t changed in the duration of writing this entry. But I feel that it will change as it already has, in every day and every experience that we share. Luckily we have a bit of time to work on this…6, 570 days to be exact. That’s the number of days from birth to age 18, when my darlings can legally say, “I’m gonna do what I wanna do how I wanna do it.” {breathe}