When you become a parent, one thing becomes abundantly clear and it’s not the fact that you are now overwhelmed by an all-consuming love for someone you only just met. It’s that you now have absolutely no control over anything in your life. This small being holds the reins and it’s hard to get used to. Their bowel movements, their moods, their sleeping patterns, their eating habits, all of this will control your life for at least the next 10 years.
Which is why, perhaps as a coping mechanism, some of us can become a little bit over the top and the teensiest bit controlling about everything else in the domestic domain.
Here are 11 signs you are becoming a bit of a control freak:
1. You assign your kids ‘chores’ but redo them after they have invariably c*cked them up
For example: packing the dishwasher is a chore that a lot of parenting sites recommend for young kids to do. But packing the dishwasher is a HIGH ART. If you are like me, you either stand over your kids directing the pack while they do it, or you let them do it then repack it as soon as they walk away.
Seriously, things need to be facing TOWARDS THE CENTRE OF THE DISHWASHER! How many times to I have to say it?
2. You clean the house and then request your children “sit neatly” from now on
Nothing wrecks the look of a perfect family living room like the actual family that lives in it. What is it about kids that when they sit on the couch, they can’t just sit upright in a neat fashion? They slouch messily, they sit upside down with their feet on the walls or they lie horizontally with some festy blanket they dragged from their room covering them. Suffice it to say, none of these visuals go with the chic faux Parisienne cushion covers you just bought.
3. You clean the house for visitors and then request your family, including your husband, kindly go and live somewhere else for a week
Sometimes you just want the veneer of perfection to greet visitors when they arrive: just the veneer for 10 precious minutes. When you clean up for visitors, you suddenly get a window into what your house would look like if no one lived in it. And while I’m all for the noise and bustle of love and family, sometimes an empty show home just warms the cockles of a little lady’s heart.
But more importantly, sometimes nobody, including you, needs to know how you really live.
4. You match pegs colours to clothes colours when you’re hanging out the washing
I know a few women who do this, I think it’s a form of domestic meditation to keep them out by the clothesline a little longer where it’s quiet and no one can ask them for things.
5. You iron underpants
Personally I have never ironed anything in my life. But I know women who not only find ironing relaxing, but they like things, including underwear and singlets to be crisp and creaseless. Whatever gets you through the week, ladies. No judgement here.
6. You draw your partner a diagram for the bed cushions when you’re not there to make the bed
Bed cushionage is like dishwasher packing: it’s a high art. And I don’t mean to be sexist, but generally men – gay men notwithstanding I salute you friends of Dorothy – do not have the skills. As a general rule of thumb, it’s about sitting the cushions up on their edge, not laying them flat. And it’s also about making a firm decision between squared off or diagonally cocked. Lastly it’s about layers and volume, sheer volume. Despite what your partner might say at bedtime when he’s hurling the cushions angrily into the corner of the bedroom, there can never be too many decorative bed cushions. NEVER!
7. You let your kids make their own pancakes but when they offer to make you one, you push them out of the way, wipe all the burnt butter out of the pan, and make your own
Honestly who wants an anaemic, unevenly browned pancake made by a kid? Not me.
8. Cooking with kids means you cook while they watch
… preferably from the other side of the bench. The only job you let them do is greasing the tin.
9. You arrange the storybooks in order of height and colour so that the bookshelf looks better
Hats off to anyone who can be bothered doing this. Especially if you have a toddler, whose favourite activity is to pull all the books off the shelf. You are fighting a losing battle, but keep fighting, we are all behind you!
10. You ask your kids to clean their rooms then end up helping them and totally reorganising the entire toy ecosystem
A late night trip to IKEA is not totally out of the question here. Sometimes a woman just needs storage systems to calm the storm inside her.
11. You ask your kid to set the table then shadow them around the table shouting things like, ‘FORKS TO THE LEFT!’ or ‘KNIFE BLADES FACING IN’
Yeah it’s a cute idea, the little toddler laying the table for dinner, but the reality is … chaotic and lacking social order. Which is why, while you’re shadowing her, you also line up the lower edges of the cutlery, straighten the placemats and replace all the mismatching glasses and cups with matching ones. It’s the little things that make life bearable.