November 8, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far...

I'm a total control freak. I've only recently earned the title, though. I haven't been this way my whole life. Oh, sure, I've always been a bossy boss, and I'm quite adept at pouting when I don't get my way. But growing up, I never had the weird OCD housecleaning obsession, or the not-wanting-help-with-anything-because-you-won't-do-it-right issue.

In the past, I was lazier than all get out. Clean my room/dorm/apartment? Why would I do that? I mean, that coffee table - made out of cement blocks and a slab of plywood - isn't going to look any better without a stack of magazines, a full ashtray, four half-full coffee cups and two empty M&M's bags on it, right? When I was married to my wrong first husband, our house was a pit. We lived in this crack-house apartment complex (that's another story) with wood paneled walls and dark brown shag carpet (and it wasn't the 70's). We had a 3' x 6' galley kitchen that had about 2 sq. ft. of counter space. We managed to put (and keep) about 10 sq. ft. of crap on that counter - which, I like to think now, was simply a subconscious attempt at hiding the almond gold formica top with cigarette burns in it.

But then I bought my first house, which is the same one I live in now, and all that changed. And morphed - beyond housecleaning and general tidying up to full-blown towel-straightening and canned food organizing, a la Sleeping with the Enemy. OK, maybe not that bad. But I might be headed that way...

I got it from my Dad, this disorder. I used to make fun of him - we all did - and his perpetual neatness. I could tell you how, as a teenager, I wasn't allowed to hang posters in my room. They were ugly; instead, over my bed, I had hammered brass wall hangings, that my Uncle Fred artistically created in his garage. I had to tape David Cassidy up inside my closet door. We didn't have a fridge covered in school pictures and report cards, because that was messy. We made our beds every single morning. We never, ever went to bed with dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.

I used to think he was a freak, but now I sort of get him. In defiance of him, my fridge is choc-full of pictures and report cards. But they're in magnetic frames and perfectly arranged. My kids' rooms are full of things they love, things they've chosen, and things that reflect their individual personalities. But I've made sure it's all neatly hung with matching thumbtacks and that all the trophies stay dusted and arranged by sport, from tall-to-short.

Lately, I've had some snide comments thrown my way about my OCD love of tidiness, and I feel a little bummed about that. I've been a slob my whole life and now, finally, I've managed to become a neatnik...and people are calling me a Control Freak. How fair is that? I've worked hard to get here! It's not easy, you know, making sure everything in the world goes my way.

Thank God my Dad will be here this week, for his annual holiday visit. He'll come in and be all kinds of impressed that our new beer fridge is not only stocked with every possible beverage choice, but that all the bottles are lined up in Type Categories on each shelf. And the best part is, he'll say something about it. He'll validate me and my craziness. He won't tell me I'm a freak, he'll say, "Who are you, and what did you do with my daughter?"

Which is probably the nicest thing he could say to me, since growing up to be my Dad hasn't been such a bad thing, after all.

Check out this awesome post about letting go of the control:


  1. Hey there! Thank you for dropping by today... and the "reality check" advice! It always helps to get perspective from other moms.

    Love that you're OCD like me, I say embrace it!

    You asked what Truthful Tuesdays are-- each week, I ask a question, give my answer, and invite you to do the same. This week, I'm going to piggy back on a "healthy holidays" theme a few of my other "blogger friends" are doing. Feel free to check it out and play along!


  2. I'm trapped somewhere between total slob and control freak. I would really like to be neater, but I just can't seem to motivate myself to do so!

  3. Thanks for the link! Tell your mom and dad I said hi. xo, Joanne