Let it go. I don’t think another phrase has been so thoroughly ruined by a song. Except maybe ‘you’re welcome’…
Sorry for the one of the songs you’ve probably got in your head right now.
I’m here to make a confession.
I’m Megan, and I am a *bit* of a control freak.
I’m not obsessively clean. (You can just look at my house to figure that out). I’m not particularly organised. I’m late for the school run more often than I’d like. Sometimes I get to dinner time and realise I should have started cooking it ages ago and now I’m looking at Pizza Hut deals and contemplating my bank balance. Or, sometimes, I get to the fridge and realise the meat that I was supposed to cook today went off. Or I’ll remember that I never messaged that friend back two weeks ago and they probably think I hate them.
So I am not a perfectionist in the sense of ‘everything in my life has to be perfect’. I am a perfectionist in the sense of ‘I like things – usually quite inconsequential things – to be done in a certain way and I am likely to get stressed if those things don’t happen as planned’.
I can’t be this way anymore.
Up until recently I have been a stay at home Mum. The home is supposed to be my domain. Do you know how many things come under that category? (I mean, you’re reading The Motherload®, so I’m guessing you know it very well). It’s a lot. And now I’m working and studying and I cannot, for the life of me, hold all these things together anymore. I just can’t.
I’m lucky in that I have a supportive and caring husband who is quite looking forward to dropping a day at work so that I can pursue my career. I do understand how lucky I am to have that. But I’m not fully appreciating it, because I cannot let the little things go. It’s not that I think I am better at house-and-kids-things than my husband, because I’m clearly not.
It’s just that I’ve had full control. Of all of it.
The budgeting, the future planning. Packing the kids bags for when they (or we) go out for the day. Making sure my daughter does her spellings. Planning for events, like birthdays and Christmas. Googling ways to sneak more vegetables into my son. Just … all of it. The mental load is real for me, but it’s not that I don’t have someone to unload it onto. I just refuse to. I do it all myself instead because I like things done my way.
And if I can’t do it right? I beat myself up about it.
I fill my head with things I should be doing. Activities I should be doing with the kids, the de-cluttering that the house desperately needs. I load myself up with internet articles and YouTube videos that start off inspirational and end with me feeling demotivated and flat. I am on a constant quest for self-improvement and it isn’t always healthy.
I have got to let it go. Both the things I do and the things I have not got round to doing yet. So, I’m prioritising.
Things That Are Important
- Being able to pay the rent (and the council tax and the gas bill and all the other money-sucking life necessities)
- Having food in our bellies (even if it is sometimes from Pizza Hut)
- The kids being loved and cuddled and sometimes clean and mostly on time for things
- Not just theirs, but ours too
Things That Are Not Important
- Things, things that are seemingly everywhere and multiplying constantly on all available surfaces no matter how much I tidy up
- My husband thinking that leggings and tights are the same thing (my daughter will NOT allow him to dress her just in tights and a top so I can let her remind him that leggings don’t have feet from now on)
- My son not getting his five a day (controversial but I have worried about this for over a year and I truly believe that one day he will grow out of this and I am fed up of beating myself up for it every time he shouts ‘NO LIKE IT’)
Life is not orderly or calm. Life is chaotic and a bit stressful and kind of messy. That’s okay. Maybe homes exist where paperwork isn’t lying around everywhere and all children eat their vegetables but that ain’t my house. And do you know what? It’s not completely my responsibility.
So here I am. Letting (some of) it go. Letting go of some of the worry, and some of the jobs. I’m definitely letting go of the articles and videos that make me feel like a terrible person. I’m definitely letting go of other people’s opinions about what a wife and mother should do, and other people’s opinions of what a real career woman looks like.
Yeah, I’m letting those things go happily.
I might just occasionally remind my husband about the leggings thing. Maybe.