Monday, December 23, 2013

Sober Day #55- The Myth of Controlling Others

My entire family was together last night-  Mister home from work in city 5 hours away, older daughter home from her town 8 hours away, local son and younger daughter here, as well as my mom and dad who live locally.

When the kids were little, I WAS in charge of everything-  feeding everyone, washing them, dressing them, taking them here and there (and, of course loving them- which happens naturally and fills my heart with joy!!).  And the Mister being a bit vague about time, my duties also included reminding him to get ready for X, be ready to leave for Y, etc.

There is one of my favorite e.e. cummings poems about Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town, that included the line:  "And down they forgot as up they grew".   And I feel like that's what I've done with that Being-in-Charge, Being-Responsible-For bit.  Forgotten, really, that I no longer have to Do-It-All.

It was very apparent to me yesterday as we all gathered for older daughters 21st Birthday.

Old Internal Voice:  Gotta remind Older Daughter to be at the Restaurant on Time.
Sober Rational Voice:  She is 21 today. She manages her own life just fine 8 hours away.  She will either be at the restaurant on time, or there with be a good reason, like a flat tire, for her to be late. Trust her.

Old Internal Voice:  Gotta remind Son to be at the Restaurant on Time.
Sober Rational Voice:  He is 20 and there will be good food.  Don't worry, he will be there!!

Old Internal Voice:  Gotta go remind Mister to come in from working in the yard, change and be ready to go.
Sober Rational Voice:  He manages his life just fine 5 hours away.  I don't need to be his Minder any more.  I will get myself ready, and let him know when I will be leaving.  I can drive myself just fine, thank you, since I won't be drinking so driving home will not be a problem.  The Restaurant is nearby-  he can choose to come with me, or drive over a few minutes later on his own if that works better for him.

Final Result:  I am resigning from being everyone's Minder!!  15 year old daughter obviously still needs more of a Mom presence, and I will do that as appropriate-  AND allow her more room to grow in decision-making and responsibility.  I will take care of myself, and provide support and assistance for my beloved family as appropriate-  But I am no longer going to feel In Charge of Everything!!  (which was, of course, an illusion anyway, lol)

And not being In Charge of Everything- well, that another thing NOT contributing to guilt, anxiety and the desire to drink alcohol for relief from that pressure.  Hmmmmmm.


  1. Mine are still little so no giving this up yet for me, although I could let the hubby fend for himself a bit more - now there's an idea :)

    1. I think the useful trick may be in letting go bit by bit- oh, you can hold your own sippy cup now, I don't have to hold your bottle- etc. Rather than remaining in full-on Mom Does Everything For You mode, lol!

      Merry Christmas to you and your clan!!

    2. Merry Xmas to you and yours too Carrie xx

  2. Good for you! I am trying to let of my illusion of control, too. It was just leaving me frustrated most of the time! :)

    1. Yeah, controlling my illusion of control is definitely exhausting, lol!

      Merry Christmas to you!!

  3. It's hard to let go! Mine were in the kitchen for two days, happily working away. I nearly had to tape my mouth shut. They really don't want to hear how to zest a lemon or the exact moment to add the butter to mashed potatoes. So I held my tongue and all the food turned out just fine. Not exactly like mine, but fine.

    Still, just like when they were toddlers and called out for me, my heart sings when I hear, "Mom, how do I _____" or "Mom, where is the _____". It's grand to be needed!


I'd love to hear about your journey, and hear your take on my journey. Comments are very welcome!!