A couple weeks ago, I had an amazing girls’ weekend in Seattle with two of my best friends. It was full of wonderful food, various tours, lots of laughter, too many lattes and even a couple romantic comedies. I thought I needed this weekend away as a break from my kids and a break from responsibility. However, what I quickly realized was that I needed a break from myself!
That sounds a little harsh, so let me back up. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist with a Type-A personality. I think I was born this way, but I know my parents helped to instill a deep since of pride in a job well done and giving things my best. Being a hard-working person with high expectations of myself isn’t all bad. It got me through pharmacy school, a residency, and launched me into a great career. Even in parenting it seems to have worked in a lot of ways. I am mostly organized, had them sleeping through the night by 12 weeks, kept the house pretty tidy, and even make time for working out a couple times a week. Anyway, as great as it can be; my perfectionism is also be my Achilles tendon. I can be over-controlling, I suck at delegating, and I often think my way is the best way. My controlling-perfectionist tendencies don’t leave much room for different approaches, let alone error. This can cause others to take a step back and let me do it alone. Or worse, it can contribute to others feeling like they are walking on egg shells or aren’t good enough.
For the last couple of years, I have blamed my husband for not being more proactive with household chores or for being more involved with caring for the girls. I wanted him to jump in and offer to bathe, feed, or change without being asked. I expected him to read my mind and I dreamed of a fairytale. While he definitely could have been more assertive, we weren’t communicating effectively and I was likely making him feel like he wasn’t good enough. With the help of counseling, we are starting to work on some of this. We are starting to realize more about ourselves and each other. Talking about it is one thing, but this girls weekend forced us right into the deep end. Me into the deep end of trusting and letting go and him into the deep end of parenting.
I am a bit of a helicopter parent, but I have left my girls before. I leave them with our nanny a couple times a week. We have also left them with my parents for a few weekends and a couple longer stents of time for vacation. Although, I still get sad when I leave the girls for these trips, I don’t have to worry too much about them. Our nanny came with lots of twin experience and my parents raised twins plus my older brother. Relinquishing control to my husband though was different. The territory was a little uncharted and it caused me a lot of unnecessary anxiety. What if they were out and they had an epic melt-down? What if he slept too hard and didn’t hear them wake up and they wandered outside? There were a lot of what-if’s and scenarios, but eventually I had to shut them down, let go, and jump in the car! Starting our weekend off at the spa was the perfect way to clear my mind and I stayed essentially worry free all weekend. I was truly able to immerse myself in the fun of the weekend, which left me feeling refreshed and even excited to get home.
When I got home, the girls had lop-sided ponytails and were covered in chalk and dirt, but they were well loved and having the time of their life! Farmer, my husband, not only survived the long weekend, he truly thrived. I’m not totally sure if it’s just a change in my perspective or if his has shifted too, but I feel like we have each shown each other more grace, more love and more appreciation in these last couple of weeks. We are not only better parents, we are better partners.
Letting go allowed me to see my own flaws and see him in a different light. But perhaps the most important thing that came from this weekend, is that it allowed me to release a lot of resentment that I had built up over the previous couple of years. I was able to realize my part in it and extend some grace. While he wasn’t perfect, I can’t blame him for everything. I think that 5 years into our marriage, this weekend of letting him be in charge, is the big turning point we needed to truly start thriving. This was the ME time WE needed