Thursday, January 3, 2008

Control Issues

I love my kids. There's no doubt how much I love my kids. But I find it hard to let go and let them do things that would be easier if I did it myself. Take for example, last night, when we decided it was time to take the Christmas tree down. I let the kids take out the ornaments and hang them on the tree. I'd rather be the one to take the ornaments off, wrap in tissue paper (the breakable ones) and place in the storage container. The girls wanted to help. Thanks, girls, but.. shoo! Oldest is behind the tree grabbing ornaments, Middle is pulling on an ornament that got wound up around a branch and Youngest is reaching for the delicate ceramic ones and I am about to explode! It took all my strength not to puff up and let loose with a mighty roar and fling them all aside with one swipe of my mighty arm. But I did yell. Kinda loudly. Loud enough to get Hubby's attention.

It's the same in the kitchen. My kitchen. Mine, mine, mine! I don't wanna share! I don't like when all three girls crowd on both sides of me wanting to help, sticking their fingers in the dough or batter or touching the knives or a hot stove. Oldest and Middle have both burned their palms on the stove and have learned to stay away from the stove. Youngest has no idea except when I say, "HOT! Don't touch! HOT!" I like to make the least amount of messes in the kitchen as possible because quite frankly, I don't like to clean. My kitchen is clean but I don't want to make more work for myself if I don't have to. When I relinquish control and let Oldest stir the cookie dough and she stirs too hard and flour goes flying, inside I am silently growling. I am thinking to myself, agh! Now I gotta clean the counter! When she wants to be the one to pour in the cup of milk and she spills it on the floor, I am crying inside, oh! Now I gotta mop!

It is easy for me to let the girls do things on their own, in their space with their things. But it's hard for me to let go of my space and my way of wanting to do things in a certain order. Hubby has learned this, too, after we first moved in together. He learned I like things a certain way and there is an order to the way I want to do things. He figured out I am a Virgo just like his Dad. He recounted stories of his Dad wanting him to do things a certain way, even cutting the grass back-and-forth and not in circles. He would be helping his Dad before he got shooed away with,"I'll do it myself". Then Hubby goes and marries a Virgo! I think he likes the challenge!

I am aware of my tendencies to want to "do it myself" and I try to stay on top of that. How else are the girls going to learn unless I let them try it for themselves. I am getting better at letting Oldest do things and helping me in the kitchen. She is getting older and understands better to be careful and has developed better eye/hand coordination. I am still struggling with Middle and Youngest wanting to help and crowding me while I prepare and cook meals. Youngest has amazed me by getting the step stool from the bathroom so that she can be eye-level with the counter. It makes me nervous because she is now eye-level with the stove top and I dread the scream that comes with a burned hand. I look forward to the day I finally finish my island project and then I can move the prep-work for meals to the island and the girls can now stand opposite of me instead of crowding me.

In the meantime, I'll continue to growl inside, silently and clean up the mess afterwards. They'll learn eventually.


Wendy said...

I so get this. Sometimes it isn't much help, is it? I used to have a really hard time when my girls wanted to help me in the kitchen, but at some point, I lowered my expectations, and I don't know if it's because they're older, or because I'm mellowing out, but these days, when they're in the kitchen, it actually IS helpful. It's a nice change, for all of us ;).

barefoot gardener said...

I think that is pretty normal. I know I hate it when Big Sprout makes huge messes or makes things more difficult while trying to "help". Good luck keeping your temper. I think it sounds like you are doing a fairly good job letting them do things.

jenny said...

Wendy-- Oldest is becoming a better help in the kitchen these days. I think in part because she is getting older now, and she is also learning what not to do. I trust her a bit more with certain tasks now, seeing that she is able and her finished product comes out well.

I'm am glad that your own girls are good helpers in the kitchen and they help you this summer with the canning jobs. The girls were big helpers when it came to picking berries and grapes and I would have been out there much longer if I didn't have them picking alongside with me!

Barefoot-- I know I have a temper and I have been getting better at not exploding at the girls. I know they are just trying to help and genuinely want to learn. I have my days when my patience is thinner than others and thats when it's time to leave mama alone in the kitchen! :o)