Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plaids and Stripes

You know, they say the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that you have a problem, so here goes.

I'm a control freak.

Yes. Me. I mean, I've always kind of known that I'm a control freak -- whenever it came to group projects in high school and college I was always the one that did all the work because I couldn't trust that the others in my group would do it right.

And I have a hard time delegating tasks because if they're not done right it just peeves me to no end. Also, I'd rather just do it myself than take the time to explain it to someone else.

But I've recently realized that there are lots of other things that stress me out, things that would probably surprise you.

My children's clothes, for example. They cannot be wrinkled. I don't mean that we have to take our clothes off every hour and iron them throughout the day or anything like that, but they DO have to be ironed before they leave the house for the day.

And their clothes can't have any holes or stains, which, come ON, they're kids. Nearly every single pair of Bubba's jeans ended up with holes last year and Punkin is not a neat child. I patched most of Bubba's jeans but could rarely stand to see him leave the house with them on.

And they have to match. I don't mean that my kids have to match each other (God forbid!) but their own clothes need to coordinate. My right eyelid starts to twitch and my hands feel clenchy if Punkin grabs a shirt and some pants that don't match.

And I don't know why this is. It's not like I wore terrible clothes as a child and now I have a complex and want something different for my children. I had great clothes as a child! But I have this weird fear that if my children are wrinkled or stained or torn that I will be judged as a mother. What is up with that?

It's doubly perplexing because I don't judge other children or their parents. I actually think it's really cute when girls mix stripes or patterns. If I see a little boy with well patched jeans, I don't look down on him or his parents. So why do I have such a tough time with my own kids?

I don't know. The answer is probably buried deep in my psyche and I don't feel like digging today. But what I do know is that I'm trying to change, I'm trying to let go. Every morning I let the kids pick their own clothes. This started really as an opportunity to give Punkin more control over her life in an effort to minimize some of her tantrums. And it has helped with that. But Bubba caught the wind of change and my formerly passive little guy has started expressing his opinions too.

Some mornings, when Punkin has pulled out the floral print leggings and the floral print shirt (two different prints!!) I have to take a deep breath and realize that it.doesn't.matter. It really doesn't. I don't care. I really don't. I swear.


AndreAnna said...

I gave up on the matching battle a long time ago. It's just not worth it.

Kathy said...

It really isn't worth the stress. Here are two things you can be sure of. 1. Your children will never be afraid to express themselves. 2. If someone at school picks on them for the clothes they are wearing you will hear about it, and they will start picking clothes that match.

I had to give up the matching batter when my daughter was 2 and my hubby dropped her off to me. She was wearing vertically striped pants in shades of blues & purples. I didn't know until we got to the store and she took off her coat that she was wearing a horizontally striped rainbow shirt. I was at first horrified and then proud because I knew she had picked her clothes herself.

Kathy said...

Errr that's battle not batter. . .

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm a bit of a control freak, too. Did I say a bit? I meant a ton! I've given up some of my jobs to my husband because, hey, it only seems fair, right!? However, when he gets the Dyson out, I have to sit back and just let it happen, even though I know I'm going to find so many spots he missed. Like the bathroom. And under the kitchen table.

Deep breath...deep breath...


StephLove said...

My 8 y/o son likes colorful clothes but I won't buy him any shorts or pants that aren't a solid color so the tops he picks don't clash too badly with the bottoms.

The 3 y/o still lets me pick her clothes, most of the time.

Laurel said...

good for you!! I am a big believer in letting kids choose what to wear. My mom was great at that. She never got to make decisions as a kid and still has a hard time with decision making, but I admire the fact that she recognized it and did it differently with her own kids. I'd be lying though if I didn't say that I give my opinion once in a while. The not matching thing drives me a little batty, too.

Just the other day I was thinking how I thought I'd dress my kids cuter...then I realized they are dressing themselves. I had to remind myself that that was more important anyway. Even if they don't look as cute as some of my friends' kids who look like they stepped out of a magazine. Oh, well. Besides, they'll care a little more when they get older anyway...won't they? I hope?

Katie @ Can't Get There said...

Ask yourself: Is that something Vivi Abbott Walker and the Ya Yas would have cared about? Helps loosen me up every time. Not that I'm a control freak myself. Ahem.

Aunt Becky said...

That's hard to remember some days. Trust me, I have the ultimate empathy for you. I had to resist saying something as my eldest picked out two different shades of green to wear today.

ACK. Making my head hurt just thinking about it.