Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Sometimes I just hate the fact that I don't control everything in my little universe. I would say most of the time. Ok. Maybe all the time.

I'm a control freak. I think most moms are. And the more kids you have, the more control you relinquish. How did I spend 45 minutes today? Running report papers to Lily and gym clothes to Ben.

And I was none too happy about it, either. I know some moms will say, "Let them suffer the consequences of their forgetfulness and they'll stop." Obviously, they've never met my kids. Their dad would still forget most things if it weren't for the invention of the personal planner/phone. And I refuse to get them that. I also refuse for their consequences to impact me. Ben would have had PAR after school, and I would have had to pick him up at a different time, and Lily would have had even more homework to do tonight. And frankly, those punish me. So let's not go there, shall we? That's not what this post is about. I think, anyway.

I'll tell you my biggest flaw: impatience. Not even a close second. If I'm hungry, it doesn't matter what I have planned out in my head to eat for the day if a plate of cookies shows up on the counter from the nice widow around the corner. If I'm bugged, especially at my family, you'll know it. If one of my kids has alternate plans of when to empty the dishwasher, the alternate is not an option. It's my way. And there is no highway. It's just my way.

I get snippy and short and caustic and rude and mean. And I hate it.

I wish I could change this about myself. I've been thinking a lot lately about how we change who we inherently are--and the possibility of becoming different and better. But I don't have the patience to invest the time it will take.

Then I'm mad at myself and down and discouraged. And all I want to do is be better and kinder and more patient.

This is a weird post.

Do you understand my perspective here?

Am I the only person who struggles with inherent personality flaws? Or do you just accept said flaws as part of who you are, pat yourself on the back for all of the other spectacular things you do and talents you have, and move on?

Where is the balance between striving for perfection and accepting myself for who I am?

I wish for so many things: healthy body, exercise often, sleep a lot, perfectly clean house, well-behaved children, no contention at home, delicious meals, calm, even-tempered, kind, satisfied self.

And no matter how hard I'm trying, I always fall short.



  1. You make a ton of sense, and I'm right there with you. If I turn my head, I see a stack of papers...none of them mine, and everyone is in bed. If I turn the other way..more dishes, shoes on the floor. Really?! Argh. I don't want to clean up, yet I will eventually or it snowballs. I hate the monotony of it all sometimes. There's so much clutter right now that I'm wondering why I'd want to think about adding to it with my Christmas decorations. :) So...I'm not going to put them up until I get a little help from the kiddos....

  2. Hang in there Jen. You are one busy momma! You are not alone. And I am sure you are being too hard on yourself! Tomorrow will be a better day! sending you a hug from Ohio, Cathy

  3. I don't know if you are a perfectionist? I tend to be a major perfectionist and therefore also a control freak - those just have always gone hand in hand for me. About 10 years ago I started letting go of the whole perfectionist gig and for me that also equaled the amount of control I felt I needed to have over the other people in my house (does this make any sense?).
    I found that most of my control issues had more to do with me and how I felt or how the house looked, etc...so it was good to let that go a bit.
    Life is so busy with lots of kids that, as the mom, you really do have to have a ton of control over schedules - yours and theirs, the house, and every detail of life of all those people so it is a hard balance.
    Don't be too hard on yourself :-D

  4. I totally get this post. I think most Moms have a constant inner struggel/battle with themselves over trying to find the right balance in life. I think as the kids get older the need to control is even harder because you just can't control everything.
    Today at Target I was STARVING, and what did I do? I ate a HUGE chocolate chip cookie because it was quick and easy.
    And I agree, the consequence of more homework, and a different pick up time would have punished you too. It's a constant battle isn't it? We have to choose those battles carefully.

  5. Oh girl, you are so spot on here! Impatience is one of my greatest flaws as well. And Jere will tell you that in my world it's totally MY WAY all the time. UGH! I hate how much I need to change too. Just glad to know that you suffer the same.

  6. Control is my middle name! And would someone please tell my husband that that is normal?
    Your entire post made sense to me. I have 2 kids, both toddlers, and a husband in college right now and if I could control everything, I feel like we would all be happier, right? Probably not right but I cant help but want my 2 cents put in everywhere I can squeeze it.
    By the way, I started blog stalking you a while back and came across your old "Whats your number" post. I copied the idea for my blog today because I loved the idea so much.
    Thanks! :)

  7. I used to try to control things all the time, too. Happily, much of that need has slipped away now that my kids are grown and old age is approaching. These days, I pretty much go with the flow.


    PS. I think I first started to let go and be more mellow out of a need to conserve my energy. When I didn't have the pep to burn on orchestrating things, I was able to give up trying...well, not entirely. But mostly!

  8. Sounds like you had a day like the one I had on Sunday, and yes, the contention was about control and how I also like to get what I want, when I want it. (It also had to do with the dishes!) We're all on this journey--good days, bad days.... THanks for sharing and letting me commiserate with you, Jenny.

  9. I'm with Sue, age has determined where I spend my energy. I can't do everything by myself. And if the kids' math book gets left behind at home, they just deal with it. And if I need help with the house and they aren't responding, well, I'll do it, but I'm not going to RUSH, and they'll be late to wherever they need to go too. (They hate that! After a few "lates", they know we're not leaving until I'm ready to go!) I've learned that if the kids aren't putting their personal items away, then they must have to much stuff, so I thin it all out. N' sometimes they don't like that. And I think I'm that way on most things--just trying to survive here. lol
    Hang in there. Choose your battles.
    Be gentle with yourself.

  10. I most definitely have that mommy control-freak thing going on, it makes things tough, huh?! Simple math tells me it must be about 4x more tough for you, though! My next big flaw is bitterness - I harbor frustration and bitterness when the control piece starts to fray ... so not good ... (double sigh) ... thank goodness my boots can ease frustrations with their superpowers ;-)

  11. Falling short over here too.
    We run library books and lunch boxes to school too...but I do agree that the consequences need to be learned now when they are much less severe so that when the really important events occur...they'll have their act together.
    But...having said that...it was just the other day that I left the house in my PJ's to take Em to school, didn't have my purse, was really low on gas again, and had to have my husband meet me at the gas station to pump and pay for the gas.
    I hate to think of the consequences of walking home in my Pj's.

    I love the "My way...and there is no Highway!"

  12. ahhh, friend, we all have that same list. . .wishing for the impossible!

    And I don't know that it is possible to change who we are, I hate that I just can't seem to embrace this goofy, emotioanlly charged season my kids are in, I feel like I am always yelling at them. I did little kids really well and I am failing miserably at teens! somedays I just want to throw in the towel, but I wont.

    And you won't. . .one foot in front of the other, baby steps!

  13. We were talking a little about this when visiting teaching the other day. Kristen shared this quote from Elder Scott's talk "The Transforming Power of Faith and Character" "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day."

    I think we can change who we are, but it doesn't happen overnight, it takes patience. Part of the problem, huh?

    As an observer of your life I'll repeat what I said to you a couple of months ago-you've changed over the last year+. You *are* more patient, more forgiving,kinder, more tolerant, more of who you want to become. You just can't see it because you're too close, and those flaws are too much in your face.

    I don't think we should embrace all those flaws-it's part of the challenge of mortality to overcome them. But the balance is in not allowing them to weigh us down.

    Embrace all that is wonderful about you, acknowledge your flaws, and move forward-ever seeking to become who you want to be! Love you!

  14. Dang, I'm long winded-one of *my* flaws, I know! :)

  15. If you were perfect you wouldn't be here with us and so that is a reason I am glad you have not reached perfection yet. We can't begin to change until we recognize what needs changing, so you are on your way! I love you for all of your strong points, as well as your imperfections and I am willing to love you, too, when you become the most patient, kind and gentle person in the world.

  16. Excuse me...Are you my sister???
    I think we MUST be related for sure, as we share the same character traits... ;O)

  17. I say, pick the three things you want the most. I realize that I cannot have a healthy body, fun activities, play with my kids, laundry done, charitable acts for others AND a clean house. What are the three things that I want the most? The others are just bonuses and icing, if they happen.

    I love Marjorie Hinckley's admonition to "Lower Your Expectations". This works for the church, your spouse, your kids, but definitely for your self.

  18. I had to read that sentece 3 times: Where is the balance between striving for perfection and accepting myself for who I am?
    This is an area I struggle in. I want to control everything and I want everything to be perfect. When things don't go smoothyly...boy, I am up in arms! I really dislike this about myself. I would never be able to keep up in your house Jen! I would probably be a big time heavy drinker! ;)
    I think it might be time for another "alone" evening for you!
    Hang in there! I think you're amazing!

  19. His birthday is 10/7. I didnt realize how close in age they are. She sure is a doll.
    Love your blog! :) Thanks for following mine.

  20. Thankfully, I'm not a perfectionist, so I let a lot of things go. I think this is an inherent personality trait though. Pick a few things, do them well, and the rest will take care of itself (or not, but at least you won't feel stressed.)

  21. Jen, I'm not sure if you know this yet, but, you ARE practically perfect- just like Mary Poppins and all.
    I learned something in YW last week, in our lesson about self mastery. It's this: one thing at a time to "fix" or work on. No more, no less, just one.

  22. Someone has to be in control and who better to do it than the wife and Mom of the house. Who cares as much as we do that things get done, the kids get fed, and everyone to their activities...WE DO. The control all stems from caring.

  23. Well let me start with this: We ALL always fall short. It's called being human. Luckily we also have wonderful things about us that encourage us and cheer us up when we are less than our best. You are sarcastic and snarky and pushy? I am usually nice but a huge pushover. Together we'd be the perfect woman. But I like you the way you are, and I hope you like me. Doesn't mean we can't be better, but it gives us something to get up in the morning for. So {{HUGS}} and feel better! You're pretty great on most days I think!

  24. Sometimes being really cute is just good enough.

  25. First, if you were all of those things I couldn't be your friend.

    Second, if you were all of those things we would live in Stepford.

    Third, all of the mistakes, messes, sassy kids and impatience are the learning parts we are here on earth for, plus we would miss out on lots of fun (think no job day at your house and how your kids love it).

    Last, these are the things we NEED to turn over to Christ to make up the difference, otherwise we are not appreciating or usuing his most precious gift. I really believe the point of this life is letting Christ help us with our imperfections. I know that is really hard for me because I feel like a 2 yr old saying "I will do it MYSELF!" In reality I need his help and need to reconize that I need his help and without that help I am truly lost.

    Deep for me! Love you!

  26. I have been wanting to comment to this post for awhile, but needed more then 20 seconds to put a thought together and that doesn't happen too often!!:)
    I struggle with impatience sometimes too. Especially when dealing with my slow moving free spirited daughter number two! I feel like I need to do the work to try and get better in this area. Especially when I start to see my flaws come out in her and then I wonder why....she is just mirroring me. I know that is why GOd gave me this child!! To slow down, take a breath and be patient. I think we need to accept ourselves but still be working to better ourselves...does that make sense? I think God wants us to pray about it and ask for help. I think focusing on the positive is good, but we can't forget the rest.
    Thanks for listening!!:) And making me think and better myself...again!
    Enjoy the day