Confessions From an Irrational Control Freak Mom

Before having children, I had no idea how much of a control freak I actually was. Yes, I always had the anxiety part, but even that grew 10 fold. My hubby and I lived in an apartment in NYC, where he was able to mask his inability to do simple household things like, change lightbulbs, hang pictures… use a screw driver. We had people to do that. Yes, the maintenance men were my BFFs — a small tip and they were caulking or hammering away.

Then we had kids and moved to the ‘burbs, where I realized that not only was my hubby not the type to do stuff around the house. I was not the type to delegate. My anxieties and need for perfection made his work seem incomprehensibly inferior. (The cause of many an argument)

So, I took on the everything around the house. The hooking up of all electronics, hanging of pictures, putting together of furniture from Ikea, toys with more than one page of instructions, fixing loose drawers, pool issues, etc…

In case I haven’t described it correctly — I’m an anal, nagging, bitchy wench, when I don’t do things myself. Unfortunately for my hubby, I’m a whiney martyr when I do. But I think we all prefer martyr to wench, right?

Which leads me to the powerful combo of craziness that I may or may not be alone in having: DIY Perfectionism and Guilt inducing Anxiety.

I’m sounding “funner” by the minute, right? You’re like I want to PAR-TAY with you girlllll!

This sick combo reared it’s head yesterday when I was forced to plunge a toilet because I convinced myself that if I didn’t do it myself, someone could die!

This is how I feel about lots of things, things that when done wrong could kill you: Fixing your brakes, flying a plane, hanging pictures, hooking up electronics, changing one of those lightbulbs underwater in your pool and yes, apparently plunging toilets.

I’ve now added plunging toilets to the list because yesterday, when I found a toilet in need of plunging, I couldn’t let it go, even though I REALLY wanted to. I don’t want to plunge someone else’s poop right now, You know what, I’ll leave it for my husband. Harumph.

I walked away resolutely. The way the male love interest does in the movie as he let’s the girl go volunteer for the Peace Corps in some 3rd world country.

Then of course he realizes he’s made a terrible mistake and goes running through the the airport, hurdling those things that make you wait in a snake shaped line and stopping her.

Which if you think about it, is really selfish to all those children in 3rd world countries!

Though, I imagine it happens a lot, well, if movies are an indicator of reality. They probably have a term for volunteers who don’t show up because they were stopped by love interests at airports, like “runners.” As in, “Sorry, Ukinabidia, you won’t be getting that penicillin you need, there was another runner.”

So, like the male love interest, let’s call him Rob Pattinson, what you like Ryan Gossling or Channing Tatum? Well, write your own blog about DIY anxiety caused toilet plunging. SHEESH. Anywho, like R. Patz, I turned indigently as I know that I, Rob Pattinson, was the only one who could plunge this toilet and keep us alive.

How R Patz would look after plunging the toilet (I know, I think he's overdressed too. We should do something about that!)

It’s not that any idiot can’t plunge a toilet. The fact that many plumbers still show crack even after the term has become prevalent to the point that it’s cliche doesn’t bode well for them. So, sure, my hubby, an Ivy League man, could probably Git r Done, but the irrational OCD part of me started attacking: “Psst, you know, he’ll inevitably plunge too hard and let droplets of fecal water splatter around the room. Where they’ll make invisible cesspools of microscopic bacteria. Then we’ll all put our feet there and take those feet to bed, as they don’t detach. (the feet, I mean.)

All comfy under our covers we’ll spread germs to the insides of the sheets, where they’ll fester in the darkness, as everyone knows germs love darkness, and probably turn into some kind of flesh eating bacteria or get into a cut or blister and cause a horrible infection and all because WE didn’t plunge the freakin’ toilet!”

Maybe that was slightly exaggerated… but some variation of that went through my head. This is why my husband is on trash and grocery duty, because I haven’t yet been able to think up some way that either chore could kill, maim, or poison us. Well, maybe groceries over years — with the chips and other fried foods, could cause heart disease or diabetes or high blood pressure, or… shit, there goes groceries.

If you are somewhat insane like moi, I would actually love to hear about your “ticks” I mean, I need a little commiserating here. If you’re not, but just enjoy reading because I make you feel more sane.

You’re welcome.

PS feel free to share with other moms. The anxiety spectrum is big, but we all fall somewhere on it!

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35 thoughts on “Confessions From an Irrational Control Freak Mom

  1. Laura Isabel Rodriguez via Facebook

    This was great! And what really scares me is that I’m just as crazy as you but I don’t even have kids yet…yikes! There’s something to be said for our introspection here, though (I had to find something positive about it, right?).

  2. Jenny from the blog Post author

    Just wait, Laura… just wait. I too was insane before children and just when you thought insanity had reached it’s boundaries, you find out it actually has no bounds! It’s kind of like love… and then you have kids and realize that too, is boundless!

  3. Christene

    Yeah… I somehow developed a whole new layer of neurosis after having small ones… and now I am a neat freak like nobody’s business (I was always kind of a control freak).

  4. Gina Catone

    The best way to unclog a toilet is to get a bucket of hot water and pour it into the toilet. There will be no issue with the contents coming out of the toilet with this method.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      That is a fabulous idea. I will tell my husband that, oh but wait, he still wouldn’t do it, because that would take too much time. So, the next time I unclog the toilet I will try it.

  5. Kristen Mae

    Big fat YES on the R Patz.

    But Holy crap! I don’t relate at all to control-freakiness. Even if my hubs does a half-ass job compared to my perfect one, I’m just glad to not have been the one to do it. My house is a mess. And well it should be; I’m too busy playing with my kids, cooking kind of delicious meals, and writing witty, snarky blogposts.

    I would still totally hang out with you though. Maybe if you came over you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from cleaning my house a little. I’d be embarrassed, but I’d get over it. 😉

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      I soooo enjoy you. I’m in awe of this ability you have to how do you say it, be laid back!!! Oh, how I wish I could get there, I’m trying everyday. If I just work at it a little harder I’m sure I’ll be able to conquer laid backness. Hmmm, I feel that last sentence didn’t really help!

  6. Hope

    OMG hilarious! I’m the same way…with the laundry, dishes, even vacuuming…..there’s a term for this sickness…OCD… 🙂 thanks for the laugh this morning! 🙂

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Ahhh, yes OCD I feel I’ve heard that term before. Oh right, at my therapists. Wait, I must hit this key 7 times before I go on and then I’m off to wash my hands… been there done that. Love it Hope

  7. Amanda

    OMG too funny and I can completely relate. I am so anal about well…pretty much everything but I’m completely aware of it and really try not to inflict it upon others. Instead I bottle it up inside and it morphs into an omnipotent anxiety superforce pushing me to completely OCD out and dismantle a coffeemaker to “really” clean it, or scrub grout with a toothbrush, or refinish furniture. I don’t have kids and doubt I ever will because frankly I shouldn’t be anyone’s mother. Just being around kids and their inherent messes stresses me out. I gain an unnatural fear of contracting pink eye when I’m around friends/family with young kids.
    I really look forward to the times when my boyfriend is out and I can let the OCD take over and clean without judgment and without making him feel as though he lives in absolute squalor (he really doesn’t). Even better is that we don’t even live together. In my defense, I spend about half of my time there though and I do show restraint by not cleaning the bathroom light fixtures even though there’s dust on them that can’t be removed by dusting alone and I get distracted by it everytime I go in (deep breath).

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Amanda- I feel your pain, I’m no longer a neat freak, but must do everything to completion even if it takes me two days to move furniture, hook up surround sound ect. I can’t stop until it’s done, and done right. I’ve gotten better about stuff since having kids… it’s the one thing you really can’t keep up with. You’re focus doesn’t get less anal, ahem, crisp — it just shifts.

  8. Steffj89

    My control issue is shopping carts, I cannot stand for someone else to push the cart. Drives me absolutely crazy. If hubby is with me and little one will only be pushed by him…then we have to have 2 carts….LOL

  9. Bari

    I know a good therapist for that anxiety and OCD.
    P.S. do you think these “crazies” are inherited?
    It’s amazing how funny crazy can be.

  10. Dad

    Whew!!! Glad to hear you’re getting better. I remember when you were so far gone, you wanted us to pre-boil the water to make it even safer to sterilize anything given to the your first born. Kinda changed after a few days of preschool. Maybe your hubby will wake up one morning and be the handyman/ fixer upper you would like him to be. Knowing Mark, I hope we live that long.

  11. Cindy

    I don’t mind if someone else does a job, but they have to do it right, which is often my way. Like dishes in the dish washer. Not because it has to be my way, but my way is better! More dishes fit in and they still get clean. Towels in the linen closet. nothing has to be perfectly folded, but I like the towels and sheets to all face the same way and the wash cloths especially. And anyway, most jobs like plunging fall to me because no one else can actually do it with success, which is crappy for me (pun intended!).

    I don’t want to control it all, but I sometimes feel like I have no choice in certain matters. However, if you make me dinner I will eat almost anything (but it has to be healthy because we are setting an example for the kids). WOW…it can only get better, right?!

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      I agree wholeheartedly and love your first line. It was just the kind of irony that makes me giggle. I’m with you on dinner! Anyone can cook for me. Seriously, bring me some food!

  12. OHN

    Oh My God. You are me. I even went so far as to put a safety pin on the bottom edge of our sheets so when my whirlygig spouse gets all the sheets screwed up I know which side goes to the foot end…cuz God help him if his toe jam ends up at the top of the bed.
    I also do ALL the house crap. All of it. He tries but sometimes I think he screws it up on purpose so I will lose another part of my mind and take over.
    Last week I reloaded the dishwasher with “clean dishes” after he emptied it because I SWEAR he didn’t wash his hands first….and he had poison ivy on his forearms after cutting down some weeds that I told him were poison ivy. Before he started. Dipshit.

  13. Jenny

    So I am now not only convinced that you and I are the same person, but we are also married to the same man. Despite a doctoral degree mine is even incapable of grocery shopping, which may or not be something he does on purpose. Take the last shopping trip where I sent him for a back of ICEBURG LETTUCE and he comes home with a bag of escarole and says: “I got fancy lettuce it’s called escargolee!” aaaaaaahhhh!

  14. weezafish

    I also do all home related stuff, what’s that about? And it’s the dog that gets my neurosis going. She’s tiny, she likes to jump up on laps and couches … Hubby’s okay with it and the kids of course adore her but I find myself shuddering, picking her hairs off my pants and feeling like I want to ‘put her out’ so to speak. Then it rains, she whines at the door … you know where this is going.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Invest in tons of those rolly tape lint/dog hair removers. I keep them everywhere: My living room, bedroom, bathroom, car, purse, pocket. Oh they make a pocket sized one at the front of the line at BB and B. Where all the necessary dodads for anal people are kept!

  15. Pingback: Why is Sending Kids to Camp So Freakin Stressful | The Suburban Jungle

  16. kfletch

    I had no idea how controlling and rigid I could be before having a daughter who throws herself into projects before going through the VERY LOGICAL steps of brainstorming, planning, gathering supplies, and careful execution. Now, 14 years later, I’ve learned to 1. Never step foot in the room while she and her brother are decorating the Christmas tree and 2. Pour myself a giant glass of wine before helping her with school or 4H projects. And one last little *quirk* of mine: Seeing people use a serrated knife to butter their toast makes me want to stab them with it through the heart. Feel better?

  17. Amanda

    Safety pins! OHN you are a genius! I’m now reading the rest of the comments to figure out if there are any more tips & tricks I can hone my crazy with.

  18. One Funny Motha

    Yes, to all of it. Except for the plunging part. I mean I have the same thoughts, but I can’t plunge the toilet. My husband has to do it. My anxiety was bad b/4 kids but worse after then it was stable for a while but now it’s high again. So it’s an adventure. I, too, like to make fun of it, but I don’t really write about it – although I find relief when others do. SO thanks.
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