Thursday, March 20, 2008

Balancing Control

I started thinking about this last night as I was watching "In Treatment." The therapist was explaning to the teenaged girl about how we have no control over anyone else's actions but our own.

Now, this isn't a new concept for me. However, it did take me about 7 years with my ex-husband before I could really grasp it; that no matter how much I loved him, stood by him, threatened him, cajoled him, lectured him, begged him, I could not make him stop taking drugs and start taking responsibility for his own life. While the words make sense, the reality of it can be much harder.

However, last night, I was thinking about it as a mother. I was thinking about how incongruous this concept is with parenting. Even though I know that I can't control my kids, it's ironic how much we're expected to, isn't it? Of course, there's a vast difference between attempting to control them, and attempting to guide them in the right direction. To some extent, we can control them by being attentive, providing them with safety and security, being a role model, listening to them, helping them work out their problems. Still, we do have to accept that our job is to let them live independent lives eventually.

I hate that.

Control is a beautiful thing. I completely understand how people can go stir-crazy for it. I go stir-crazy without it - as evidenced by most of my posts for the last week! I'd much rather be able to berate myself for mistakes than feeling like any aspect of my life is not under my direct control. My name is April, and I am a control freak.

For what it's worth, I've never been able to amass much power to really do anything with it - for harm or for good. For the most part, I think I would use it for good.

My dream in life is to create a non-profit organization for single parents. Ideally, it would include affordable housing, a child care facility, a career center, a clothing swap center, workshops and classes for both the parents and the children, a single parents co-op, if you will. Of course, I'm too busy raising my own kids to even attempt something like that right now!

I'm totally digressing. I've lost control of this post.


Anonymous said...

You know I get the control thing. I never used to be a control freak until things started spinning out of control. And then I found my true nature. Haha.

Kori said...

From one fellow control-freak to another, all I can say is awareness is the first step. Now, it might go NO FURHTER than that first step, but hey, it's progress, not perfection, right? you know I love this about you, too; I feel less alone and crazy. And I totally love and agree with your idea re: single parent co-op; maybe once our kids are grown, right?

Jen said...

It might be great to have a co-housing community with an emphasis on single parents.

And yeah, I totally get the control thing.

LunaNik said...'re funny even when you're trying to be controlling.

P.S. I love that you have really put yourself out there on those past couple of posts! It feels good, right??


I see you have a new look over here?? Nice.

Kori said...

LOVE the new format!

Tara R. said...

It's been tough for me to let my oldest live an independent life (she's a college freshman living away from home for the first time). But, you're right if I've done my job, she should be fine... so far, so good. =)

I like this slick new look too.

Melissa said...

It is hard to not let people you don't want to effect your life, effect your life. It truly does feel like you have lost control!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this concept all too often myself. :-(

Unknown said...

I love control, but I'm evil so go figure :)

Your dream is just beautiful. I really hope that someday down the road it happens for you!

1stopmom said...

Nice to meet you April, I'm Tricia and I am a control freak too. It is so funny how your dream is a lot like mine. Maybe one day they will come true.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I'm also a control freak but working on it!!

Caffeine Court said...

As my children get older it's getting harder and harder to "control my inner control freak." (See I even want to control my control!)

I have to realize that some things are out of my's so hard to do!