Dad Speak: Controlling the Control Freak
As a control freak, I believe there’s a right way to do everything. As a Dad, I’m learning that there is a right time to learn the right way. (Spoiler alert: 2 or 3 years old isn’t it.)
Yesterday, I started washing our cars, something I’m incredibly particular about, and Gaia and Rudy wanted in. Of course they did, soap bubbles, fun sponges, and a chance to soak Dad with a hose. No brainer.
Before I could even think, the lessons started pouring out about using the right brush for the wheels and tires, working from the top down, NOT putting more soap on the spot you just rinsed, and only pointing the hose at the car and not at your brother.
I wasn’t getting anywhere! In fact, I was going backwards. Their wide-eyed and enthusiastic faces when they saw me in all my carwash glory was fading fast. It wasn’t the fun-time with dad they had imagined the second they saw the bubbles and hose.
It was clear that together the cars weren’t going to get cleaned the way they normally do, so I had a choice to make. Either shoo away the kids and clean the cars “properly” myself or embrace their vision of what car washing is all about.
Seems like an easy choice when written down on paper but I really struggle with it at times. Not just with car washing but with allowing time for them to dress themselves, or put on shoes, or eat meals, or pretty much any other time that my vision of how things should and could get done don’t align with theirs.
My control freak often wants to step in, problem solve, and GET IT DONE. My higher self wants my kids to learn, grow, be challenged, and have space to thrive on their own. My higher self doesn’t always win which means my kids sometimes lose. That day though, our cars lost. Cleaning turned into a water fight, which turned into ice pops with my kids, which left us with partially washed cars. Somehow, that seemed more like the right way to do things.