Are you a control freak?
I certainly have those tendencies.
Recently, when doing laundry, I had a vivid reminder of how dysfunctional being a control freak is. You see, it really bugs me to no end how my oldest daughter folds T-shirts. She kind of just balls them up. I know they have to be straight and even so they don’t have wrinkles, and so they fit so nicely on shelves once they’re folded. And they look so pretty that way!
Here are T-shirts that we both folded: hers on the left, mine on the right:
At times I really get on her case about this. “Why can’t you just learn to fold T-shirts right?” She rolls her eyes and sighs and tries again.
But below allow me to show you two sheets, one folded by me, and one folded by her:
Guess which one is hers?
Yep. The perfectly flat one.
See, I don’t really care about how sheets are folded. It’s not my thing. So I don’t even notice that my sheets are all balled up, and her sheets are pristine. But she doesn’t care about T-shirts.
Often when we are control freaks that’s what happens. We freak out about the things that matter to us, and fail to notice that we may be less than perfect in ways that matter to other members of the family. We’re so sure that our priorities are the right ones, and theirs are not.
When I was putting sheets away the other day, after feeling annoyed at Becca for the T-shirts, I glanced her folded ones in the linen closet. And it was definitely one of those “a-ha” moments.
What are you not seeing? Maybe it’s time to give our family a break and agree that everyone’s priorities should be valued, not just our own.
I wrote a column on a similar theme a while ago–Do I See What You See?