I think I am a control freak.
My phone rang. It’s Noah.
“I just got to work and the lab is closed. I forgot it’s a holiday.”
My first words…”So I hope you’re studying!”
“Well…no,” he adds reluctantly. “I’m composing a song.” I could hear the guilt in his voice.
And I instantly know that my words flew out too quickly. The logical me knows he has enough time to study for his MCAT, but the mother in me is slightly stressed that there’s never enough time to study for an 8 hour exam.
“Should I be studying?”
The doubt about his choice has crept in and I am the cause. My worry has reflected onto him and I know full well that his way of coping with the daily stress of study after a full work day in the lab is to turn to what brings him joy, and in turn, inspiration to move forward. Music is his channel for release.
Why after all these years of parenting have I not got this down yet? And I am always telling my kids to THINK before they SPEAK…
I consider my words and intent. Why talk to him about finding joy, if Im just going to squash his? Is it that only my creative pursuits count?
I think back to the tensions that juggling my career and household of kids brought. What brought me joy? What allowed me to centre myself so that creativity could rush in?
For me it was writing,photography, scrap-booking, travel.
For my son it is music.
How creative can one be if he is creating in the confines of a timeline and due dates with exams looming over him and a mother who in trying to control his schedule is ever so eager to remind him to study. Like he doesn’t know this already…
I am aware that research indicates that stress is destructive to creativity, and focused attention to a creative pursuit counters that stress.
I call him back. I remind him to allow himself some time each week to to have fun and step away from the books. This is important and sometimes mom’s don’t always get it right. I also tell him that he is in control of his schedule and that it’s his choice how he uses his time.
The lesson to be had here is clearly mine.
Think first. Support whatever and however he decides to use his time. And believe.
He has finished his song and uploaded it to Facebook. I instantly log on and listen. He is so proud and I am too.
Perhaps someday soon he will be a singing doctor.
Have you ever tried to control something you know you shouldn’t? I’d love to hear about it below.
7 thoughts on “Control Freak”
You’ve just put down on paper what so many of us still do – even with adult “children.” Good for you for recognizing it so quickly! I still struggle too.
What I know for sure – whatever Noah chooses, he’ll do it wonderfully!
Practice, practice, practice! You’d think I’d have learned by now…he’s number 5!
Oh, for pete’s sake, Kathy, you just made me cry in cafe Zen! Yes, we all spout things on auto-pilot and sometimes beat ourselves up for years afterwards. Fortunately, being mostly good people (and you are a fantastic person/mom), the receiver of our gaffs actually rarely do remember. Or, with luck, they think of it with fondness. When Ken and I announced to your Dad that we were getting married, he replied without thinking, something like, “You’re too young to do that” or that we hadn’t thought it through. We were in our mid 30’S! You’re mom, on the other line, rebuked him and so on. You know how that goes. Ken and I only love your parents all the more for it because…that’s them. Noah will remember this the same way (eventually) and will tell the story for years after you are gone. Love the ZEN like pic of Noah, btw!
It’s difficult sometimes not to be the “mom” and just learn that they are grown. I do the same thing to my daughter and she just sighs and rolls her eyes, which is so warranted. Good luck to him on his MCAT’s!
I need a strategy like cutting to 5 before I say anything at all. Hopefully that will give me enough time to remember that my role is to support not to lead. Tough though…Thanks for dropping by:))
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You are definitely NOT alone here. As a parent, we try to do our very, very best, and sometimes there is just no way to do that without seeming controlling, intrusive, etc. My son and daughter are 28 and 29, and at least 3 times a week, I catch myself doing exactly what you’ve described here. The difference for me now is that I catch myself before the words come out. I cannot speak for my kids, but I know I sure am a lot happier and spend a lot less time for beating myself up for what I only mean to be helpful. 🙂
Yes, we do this out of a desire to be helpful. Tough to keep a lid on it, but I need to for sure. It’s hard to let them be adults even though that is the ultimate goal of having children-to lead them towards independence. I’m glad you’ve found a way. I will need to maintain a 5 second silence before my lips start flapping. Thanks for dropping by Lisa!