We have all read the articles telling us that anorexia is not really about eating, but about control. Of course there is much more to it than my extremely simplified statement. But I am not here to talk about anorexia.
I am a self proclaimed control freak. I have dealt with the issue in various ways. Years ago in college anorexia was not off the table. Getting rid of my eating disorder did not eliminate my root problems regarding control. For years after finally admitting that I had a problem and working to solve it I feared relapsing into my old ways.
Having kids cured me. Once I was realized how much my kids depend on me I knew I could not become anorexic again. My babies depended on me in the womb for nourishment, and once born they continued depending on me for milk. I knew an anorexic, malnourished body could never hold up to their little demands. I needed to be strong for my children. Further, I needed to be a role model for my children, especially my daughter. Young children mimic everything they see in the home, and that is one behavior I do not wish for her to come into contact with at such an early age.
I no longer fear relapsing into anorexia, but I am still a control freak. Having kids has not cured me of it, but instead has helped me channel my control issues in a different direction. I compulsively clean. It is extremely difficult for me to not clean my house when needed. I have gotten better at it, restricting my cleaning compulsions to only once or twice a week. But I still cannot leave dishes in the sink over night. I have to clean the kitchen after dinner. I need to put things away after I use them.
Part of me wants to believe my cleaning disorder (which is what I am choosing to call it, and is probably not an actual diagnosis), will be beneficial to my children. Seeing their mom put things away and growing up in a tidy house will most likely teach them to be clean themselves. Part of me wonders what it will be like when they are teenagers throwing their clothes, along with everything else, on the floor. What will my reaction be? I would like to think that I will be somewhat tolerant and understanding. I want to believe I may no longer have such control issues by then and all out war will not break loose in our house.
My only solution now is to take it one day at a time. As long as all the cleaning does not drive me completely insane, there is nothing wrong with having a tidy home.
What have your kids taught you about your compulsions?