Confessions from a 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 tenfold. 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 light bulbs, 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, but 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 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 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 light bulbs underwater in your pool and, yes, apparently plunging toilets.

I’ve now added plunging toilets to the list because 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 lets the girl go volunteer for the Peace Corps in some Third World country. Then, of course, he realizes he’s made a terrible mistake and goes running through the airport, hurdling those things that make you wait in a snake-shaped line to stop her.

Which, if you think about it, is really selfish to all those children in Third 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 Gosling 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.

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 cliché 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 that 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… darn, 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.

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


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