Thursday, September 1, 2016

On becoming less of a control freak...

I will be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a control freak/slightly neurotic. I thrive on routine and consistency, and since I like things done a certain way, I tend to have the opinion that if I want something done right, I should just do it myself. For this reason, I'm terrible at delegating, and I rarely take help that's offered/only ask for it when I desperately need it. It can definitely cause some overwhelming situations, but the thought of going against my natural instincts seems even more overwhelming, so I just grin and bear it. 

Being a stay-at-home mom with two kids ages 2 and under, things can get pretty hectic. The baby is easy. She sleeps a lot, rarely cries, is easily portable, and tends to go with the flow. The toddler is the challenge. Running errands with both of them is something I dread, but I'm always proud of myself when we emerge from the grocery store with a full cart and everyone is accounted for. Max is exhibiting some typical 2-year-old behaviors (tantrums, defiance, hitting/kicking/biting, shouting) from time to time, and on days when the Terrible Twos behavior is more frequent, I find myself losing patience really fast. I think Max needs some varied stimulation, and I can't give that to him very often right now, so I decided to enlist some help.

Yesterday was Max's first time spending the entire day with Victor's mom, his Vovo, which will now become a weekly practice. In the past, I've always kept him home with me and only asked her to watch him if I had an appointment or other commitment that wasn't conducive to bringing him with me. Even on those occasions, he was only with her for a few hours at a time, often at our house. It's time he spends more than a couple of hours away from me. Louisa and I have to travel to Ohio for 4 days the first week of October to help my mom after she has foot surgery (Louisa won't be helping, she'll just be breastfeeding lol), and I'll be leaving Max here with Victor. Victor's mom will need to watch him during the day while Victor is at work, so it's great to get them all accustomed to this new routine. 

Victor's mom has wanted to watch Max once a week for several months now, but I just wasn't ready to relinquish control. That's really all it was--a fear of not having control. When Max is with me, I have control over his day and schedule, and I plan my day to accommodate his meals, nap, and bedtime. I can almost always get him to nap in his room (napping elsewhere, unless it's in the car or stroller, is pretty much guaranteed not to happen, even when I'm the one putting him down). When his behavior gets challenging, I typically know the trigger because I've been with him all day. I was afraid of the unknown that came with letting someone else care for him all day (please note: I completely trust my mother-in-law to care for my son, and he loves playing with her at her house. It's my own neuroses that caused my anxiety and apprehension). I know that plenty of working moms have to entrust others to care for their children every day from very young ages, and I'm sure you all think I'm being pretty ridiculous about all of this, but at least I'm owning the fact that I was being completely irrational. I honestly think I made it worse on myself since I went so long (seriously, 2 years!) before biting the bullet and leaving him with his Vovo all day. Max was almost 1 when we spent our first overnight away from him, and we didn't do it again until Louisa was born another year later. If I could give any of my fellow new SAHMs some advice, it would be to get yourself comfortable with being away from your kids while they're still young. It's harder the older they get!

I can tell you that even after all my apprehension (I've almost asked my MIL to start this new routine several times over the past several months and always chickened out!), I'm SO glad we did this, and I'm wishing we had started sooner! Even just one day of being toddler-free has been so rejuvenating! And I'm not the only one who's benefiting from this; Max and his Vovo get to bond, Max gets a change of scenery and new stimulation, and Louisa gets to have some undivided attention from her Mama. Everyone wins!

Yesterday I had a physical with my doctor in the morning, and then Louisa and I ran a bunch of errands (that is, after she had a diaper blowout all over both of us. Thank goodness we were home for that adventure!). We got to leisurely stroll around Francesca's (I haven't been in that store since Max was an infant; such cute stuff!), Target, Whole Foods, and Costco (she got her passport photos taken and lots of attention from fellow shoppers! Usually Max is getting all the attention thanks to his ginger curls and adorable smile).



In the future, I'll use my Max-free day to get lots of work done around the house, help Victor with some construction billing, and maybe start taking Louisa to some sort of music or swim class. I'd also like to leave Louisa with my MIL occasionally and do a fun Mommy-Max outing from time to time. So many options!

As I suspected, Max didn't nap at Vovo's despite her best efforts to get him to sleep (it's tough when you can't just shut him in his room), so Max passed out in the car on the 3-minute drive home and slept on the couch from 6:30 to 7:15. Then he woke up crying and threw a 20-minute tantrum about who-knows-what (Victor consulted Google about this behavior and found out that when kids wake up grumpy, it could be due to low blood sugar/hunger). After some apple slices and a sandwich, he was a little angel until a later bedtime and slept through the night! The "old" me would be leery of trying that again after the unpleasantness last night, but the "new" me knows that we can handle an overtired kid once a week.

I'm quite proud of myself for loosening the reins and giving up some control, and I'm so grateful to my hubby and mother-in-law for being patient with me while I figured out that this was the best thing for everyone. Even after 31 years and two kids, I'm still growing up!


  1. yay! i love this idea and am so glad it went well. i think it will be good for max as well... even though i know you will miss him. but one on one with baby girl will also be amazing. oh, the memories you will always have!

    1. It really was so great...I'm wishing we'd started this sooner! Max had lots of fun at Vovo's and Louisa and I had some fun girl time. Looking forward to next Wednesday!


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