Yesterday I visited my Siren Call bag of pretzels at Rite Aid. I didn’t want to, but I had to go to there because I needed formula and the Duane Reade didn’t have our particular brand in stock. So I had no choice, really. Maybe they were gone, because there were only a couple of bags. If that were the case, then problem solved. I didn’t want to buy them because I don’t feel I can control myself and not eat the entire bag. I went down the formula aisle and got what we needed and then detoured to Pretzel Lane and sure enough, there they were. . Not two bags, more like twenty now. Two long, neat rows, restocked, bursting with sourdough goodness. I did not buy them, but let me not underestimate that this was a struggle.
The anonymous commenter on my last post has got me thinking. Some of the things she said completely echoed what my doctor said: Lexapro should “calm down” the drill-sergeant, control-freak side of me and if it isn’t calming it down, then I might need an adjustment. By adjustment, she means supplemental medication. She wants me to see a psychiatrist to figure out exactly what cocktail would help to mitigate this part of me. I need to carve the time out of my schedule and figure out when I can see this new doctor. That isn’t easy.
I am disappointed that Lexapro wasn’t a complete and total, one-stop-shopping fix. But this is the confusing part, because I think it really did do its job and it did help a lot. It did put me back into a place where I felt more together, more competent and more optimistic. It got me through a particularly anxious time. It lessened any PPD-esque symptoms I was feeling, which might also have been your typical winter, lack-of-sunshine shut-in blahs, with a dash of isolation blues and adjusting-to-motherhood strains. I was able to get dressed before 11 in the morning. So I don’t think Lexapro failed; in fact, I would say it was/is wildly successful.
But this control thing is a big issue. Or is it? This is where I need help, because I am not sure what is organized and orderly and normal, and what is over-the-top.
I have the classic control-freak symptoms: A mild case of back-seat driving; issues with flying; wanting to do everything myself. “That’s ok; I can do it” is a familiar refrain of mine. I like things just so, MY just so.
But is this all destructive behavior? Isn’t some part of “control freak” good? I plan the weeks’ meals on Sunday and make shopping lists accordingly. This prevents last-minute ordering in or multiple trips to the food store. I lay my gym clothes out the night before. This prevents not-going excuses and makes the early morning ritual more about enjoying a cup of coffee before the gym and not searching for clean clothes. I never stand in front of the fridge or cabinet and think “Hmmm. What do I want?” because my meals are already planned out. My vitamins and Lexapro are organized in one of those pill container things. This prevents accidental skippings and “did I take my vitamin already?” The girls have regular meal times, nap times and bed times. This makes all of us happy. Toys are put away before bedtime; our pajamas are under our pillow; dirty clothes are rounded up and put in the hamper. Our home is, for the most part, clean, organized and mess-free, thanks, in part, to my controlling ways.
But what is too much? As the commenter has pointed out, I have struggled years with many issues. Smoking, drinking, toxic people and relationships. I have been so weight obsessed that I have weighed myself before and after meals. I have been gym obsessed and size obsessed. I have let numbers on a scale dictate my mood, my attitude, my day.
I have come a long, long way from that person. I don’t drink or smoke and I never weigh myself before and after meals. I don’t go to the gym twice a day and in fact I now take one day off a week, which is huge for me. I have shaved 15 minutes off of my daily gym routine, which is also a big deal. I stopped drinking Dr. Pepper. I focus on finding clothes that fit and I don’t obsess over what size they are.
But as we know it isn’t all rosy over here. I can’t buy those nuggets because I will eat the entire bag. Normal or not? I know eating an entire bag of anything isn’t normal, but surely others must have similar stories? Certain foods are on the endangered species list in this house, and those pretzels are one of them. Thank goodness this issue doesn’t translate to all foods for me.
Or this: We are visiting Nicole’s parents next week and her mom want to know what I want her to buy for us at the food store. But I want to do it myself. I even made semi-plans with Nicole to go the night we get there, after the girls are asleep. Not letting other people help and not delegating: Normal or not?
Or this: It drives me crazy that I have to fold Nicole’s socks in a certain way, which is not my way. It also drives me crazy that she likes to have her desk strewn with pieces of papers and receipts and cards and such, a state of organized chaos to her that is anything but for me. Or this: I am afraid to parent in a friend’s home because the girls’ schedule will be off and I fear I will be a hapless failure? (I still do contend that I will be more lax about this as the girls get older, but right now it is very difficult to care for two walking babies in an environment that is not there own.) Some of this has t be normal and some of it probably needs to be worked on. I just can’t figure out which is in what category.
Pictured above, Madeline and Avery love backing themselves into a corner and entertaining themselves by doing things like banging their heads on the wall. No one puts baby in a corner except baby, I guess. Below that, Madeline discovered that she likes to use boxes for hats. And below that, we have a climber. Avery will climb on her toys and stand on them, making her a danger to herself and others. She will also push her toys around and then use them as steps to get on higher objects. The other day she pushed this toy to a small table in her room. Nicole found her sitting on the table with the blinds string in her mouth. This weekend is al about finding a way to hide the blinds cords.