Control Freaks Anonymous

Hi, my name is Danielle! “hi, Danielle!” and I’ve been a Control Freak for 27 years.

Yes, thats right. I celebrate my 27th birthday this weekend, and given my 10 month old’s ability to assert his will, I know I blessed my Mom with this control issue from birth. Thanks for putting up with me, Mom.

Have you ever found yourself so frustrated at someone, and as you thought about the details you got more and more frustrated realizing the person has done nothing wrong, and you’re just a control freak?!?!

Okay, maybe it’s just me…maybe not.

There’s something about leaving my munchkin in someone else’s hands that makes me feel like I’m the only one who knows what he needs during the day.

This is ridiculous!! When I’m gone he’s with one of three people: his Dad, his Grandma (mil), or a close family friend from church. Each of whom he adores! My issue has nothing to do with competence, it’s simply, I’m Mom and “Momma knows best!” Right?

I swear to everyone that my munchkin is not on a set “schedule”, “I let him tell me what he needs.” Yet I find myself writing minute details, down to activity suggestions for specific times during the day, that I pray will be followed. I’ll come home and want a play-by-play, and as I listen, secretly I’m stirring inside wishing I could’ve done the day differently. Wondering how the rest of the evening will play out since I wasn’t here with him.

I know that every day is a new day with him. Every day does change. When it’s just the two of us, I do follow his lead and don’t force time constraints on him. However, I know consistency is crucial for babies, so I try to keep certain things routine like story time, walks, errands or park days, bath time, etc.

I’m embarrassed even as I write these sad facts. Please Moms out there, tell me I’m not the only one!

As I drove to work, I pondered who I could call and vent my frustration without sounding like an idiot. Then I realized I hadn’t done my daily reading. I open up my app at a stoplight, and read the following from She Reads Truth- Daniel (my son’s name…ironic?) By: You Version:

“What am I clenching in my fist that I refuse to see as His [God’s]? What is it that I long so desperately to build, to control, to call MINE?

Epiphany: Gasp!! My child!

Can this really be? Am I that much of a control freak that I’m not trusting God with His very own creation. My Baby, My munchkin, My miracle. I feel so foolish. Yet just as I’m about to beat myself up, I remember Grace.

I realize that just as I have to guide and redirect my munchkin’s steps to protect him, God does the same with me. When is it that we assume our learning is over? No matter how old, Daniel will always be my baby; I will always be God’s child.

I am on a journey and need to let go! I am not in control. You’d think I’d know this after being “redirected” as much as I have been in my life.

As hard as this lesson has been, and as much as I’m still frustrated over Daniel not eating as much as I feed him, I need to get over it! Or GOI (pronounced \’gōi\ or goy) as my husband and I say frequently with sarcasm (I think it sounds nicer, thank you very much). Oh…my..gosh I really do have an issue, don’t I? Now is when I just need to laugh.

Well, until my munchkin’s next nap: thanks for letting me share my heart with you! I hope my tough life lessons or “redirections” will help you find peace or guidance in your circumstances, even if it is just to laugh at my ridiculousness.

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On a side note, my mom and best friend, who I call my sister, are coming to celebrate with me this weekend. Keep an eye out for fun stories and pictures from our girl’s weekend.

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Opinions: No one wants them, but we’ve all got them

Venting…Ready….GO! People are really opinionated! It doesn’t matter if I even know the person, people are ready and willing to share their plethora of vomit wisdom and knowledge even if you don’t ask for it. Scccrreeech!! Time for the breaks before I lose you. Can I let you in on a little secret? I am too. Eeeekk! I said it!

Ugh! So, I had an epiphany: the things I despise about myself, I am so quick to criticize about other people. I have, however, been on a mission to change my negative, critical way of thinking for a few years now, but there’s still pieces to chisel away.

This epiphany, fortunately, was a quick reminder of how important my support system is to me. I have those friends I call when I’m having a really rough day; those friends I can call on a great day who will be excited with me; friends I call when I need to vent about rude comments I get from people, like, “Enjoy your pedicure now, because once your son gets older this will never happen!” and they’ll give me some humor to lighten the mood; others who know when to listen; others who have the perfect wisdom, experience, and encouragement to offer like, “the only reason you care so much about what others say is because as moms we put enough pressure on ourselves, we don’t need others to do it for us.” They remind me, and all my opinions, to breathe, and see the good intentions in those “opinionated people.”

Then there’s my best friend, who I proudly call my sister, who knows which of the above I need and when, without me even opening my mouth. (Thank you for that, Em!)

Then there’s my amazing sister, who I call my friend, who also falls into most of the above categories. I love that I can call her to tell her about the goofy, awkward, overly concerned customer service I received, and she knows I’m not judging the poor guy who asked five times if I needed to talk to the supervisor about not being satisfied, simply because at the register I decided I didn’t want to buy that $40 bathing suit…and…we laugh!

Here’s another lesson on giving myself some grace: 1. For not being perfect, as much as I’d love to always be right, I know I’m not (shhh don’t tell my husband I admitted that); 2. For caring unnecessarily about strangers opinions, or anyone’s for that matter; 3. For giving my opinion when it isn’t asked; 4. For being hypercritical of myself and circumstances, trying too hard to control everything.

My friend gave me some great words last night, ” We aren’t meant to control balance every part of our lives, so why do we strive so hard to achieve it? Instead, we should wake up every morning asking, ‘what is my purpose for today?'”. After all, in order to achieve “balance” something’s gotta give. So why stress about it every day? Just let go! Ask God! Let God!

I was looking at my son’s precious prints and it reminded me. We’re all unique. We were given our own design to make a mark on this world. We have one life on earth to live out a purpose. Here’s my point: I want to be the person anyone can call for any reason and know without a doubt I will be the one to listen, encourage, offer advice (using wisdom to know when it’s warranted and when to keep my mouth shut). I want to help people; be a light to people, be a mentor, be a friend. I am a work in progress, but aren’t we all?!?

Until my munchkin’s next nap time:
I hope my transparency will help you find peace and joy in your circumstances! If you’re looking for that support system, I’m here for you. I may not have all the answers, but we can learn together. In the mean time, smile! It’s amazing what a smile will do.

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Scream, Cry, or Laugh: Mom on the go

Warning all readers! I have been asked by several friends to write about my working-mama-on-the-go-pumping. So, this is about me, a mom on the go, who pumps on the go…so if you’re not a Mama (or a husband who could learn some perspective on what working Mamas do in order to feed their children)…well, you might want to skip over this one.

I have the Madella double pump with the on-the-go travel tote. I highly recommend this pump by the way!!!! I’m a hairstylist with back to back clients and few breaks during the day, so being able to pump both sides in about 15 minutes saves me a lot of pain, if you know what I mean?!? They sell these amazing strapless bras that can hold the pump attachments; I can pump hands free. Not only do I pump with speed, but in that short 15 minutes, I also get to scarf some food down. Now that’s efficiency Mamas!

Now on with my story:
On any normal day I dread saying bye to my munchkin, so you can only imagine after a long day how eager I am to come home and see his precious little face; with this anticipation, every spare second counts. With unpredictable Southern Ca traffic it can take up to an hour and a half to get home. Can you see where this story is going? I have mastered pumping “on the go” like the tote promises.

So there I was sitting in my car, no one was around (I double and triple checked!), all businesses had closed, I locked up the salon. Time for set-up: put on “hooter hider” as my friends call it (aka nursing cover), put pump attachments together, start driving, and begin pumping once I get to the freeway.

I’ve timed it perfect. I pump while on the freeway because its less likely that anyone will notice what I’m doing. I’m usually done pumping by the time I exit the freeway for my last 20 minutes of driving. I detach one side on the first red light, the second at the second red light, take apart all the pump pieces at the next, then off comes the bustiér, I readjust my shirt, take off my cover, and am done and ready to give my baby kisses as soon as I park my car.

I was a frustrated, in a hurry and a little anxious! I had started work before my baby had woken up in the morning and I was running late getting out of work. Missing him like crazy, I’m rushing which is never a good thing! My cover is in place and I get ready to “set-up”. This was one of those pre-summer evenings where, even though it was after 7pm, the sun was still lighting up the sky.

All if a sudden this truck pulls up to the curb facing the wrong direction, and there’s a man and woman staring into my car. “What the heck are they doing? Why are they on the wrong side of the road, and why, of all times and places are they in front of me? They’re messing with my flow! Literally! Go away!” Then sloooooowwwwwlllyy they get out and start unloading, staring at me the whole time like I was doing something wrong. I mean…I was getting ready to pump…but they couldn’t really tell, could they? Was my gray and white zebra nursing cover that obvious?

I then realize its the business owners from the photography studio upstairs. Great! I’m going to have to see these people again! I wait a minute for them to leave before proceeding. They don’t leave. Come on people! I want to go home!! Go upstairs already!!

They leave finally. I finish set up. Start my car. Pull out to drive. Dang it!!!! The sun is in my eyes and I was in such a hurry to get out the door I left my sunglasses on my work station. Do I bear the pain of the setting, beating, Southern Ca sun in my eyes for an hour? Or can my nursing cover wrap around me enough to just run in a grab them really quick? I choose the latter.

With milk now dripping all over me…wait, how is milk dripping? Aahh! I didn’t put the bags on? At least I hadn’t started pumping that way or I would’ve been a mess…and us Mamas know how precious that liquid gold is for our babies! We don’t want a drop wasted! Especially since I felt like my supply was dwindling.

I grab my glasses, speed walk to the car, check my surroundings, off I drive. Let the pumping begin!

Oh, you think it’s over…not yet! I pull up to the house after not having enough red lights (you never catch them when you need them!), and I hurry as fast as I can to put everything away and go inside. Rrriippppp! Yep, I rip one of the storage bags at the top so now I can’t zip it. Lets see, can I make it inside without spilling? Of course! I’m the master of making one flawless trip inside (because two trips is unthinkable); however, it looks more like a balancing circus act than a graceful catwalk. I hold my salon bag with my teeth, prop my purse against the wall with my knee, sling my tote over my arm, hold the open and ripped plastic storage bag in one hand, carefully pull the screen open and prop it open with my hip, begin the classic search for my house keys in my abyss purse, pull them out, open the door and walk in to my baby’s smile welcoming me home. All of this without spilling the milk or setting anything down on the cement like any normal person might have done. Success! Haha, not so fast!

Eager to hold him, I rush to put everything down and wash my hands. All I have to do is finally pour this milk into a new bag. I proceed to pour. Ta-Da! I’m ready to seal it. Label it. Freeze it. Yay! Its Cuddle Time. I grab the new, now filled bag, and I somehow manage to knock it over and spill half of it all over my in-laws’ white carpet.

Holding breath to prevent screaming something regrettable! Tears streaming uncontrollably! Exhale! Remember labor instructions during intense time of stress: take a deep cleansing breath.

“Breathe! You can’t control anything but your reaction,” I tell myself. I walk into the next room to be greeted by my bundle of joy and realize he’s completely unaware of any of this chaos and irrational emotion. Yet another reason to breathe…and smile, because THAT’S how I want him to see his Mommy after being gone all day. I reach out and get my long-awaited hug and slobbery, drool-filled kiss. Mission Accomplished!

Yet, another reminder to breathe, let go and let God…

Until my munchkin’s next nap time: slow down, breathe, smile and laugh at yourself.

I know I’m not the only mom this crazy. Do any of you have pumping-on-the-go stories? Let’s hear them!