Confessions Of A Control Freak

It would come as no surprise that I am a tish of a control freak. Oldest in the birth order, lawyer turned professional organizer and mother of three boys. I think I was made to be in control and I have thrived at times with being in control. Please do not think that I have military boot camp training in my house, but I do have the super power of one look and my kids know that I mean business. I do enjoy things a certain way. I do like to get things done in the most efficient manner. I have been called bossy while planning a trip with some friends. Bossy is my word that is like nails scraping down a chalkboard for me. Do not call me bossy. Do call me efficient!


But I have come to realize that I do not enjoy doing things that I am not in control of. In other words, I enjoy being in control. I have been trying to practice giving up control in certain situations. For example, my husband did drive the last rental car we had and I never complained once….well that might not be exactly true. But in this past year I have done a few things that have really pushed me over the edge and way past my comfort zone that I still am amazed that I did.


First up I wanted to conquer my fear of sharks. I can’t control sharks. I saw the movie Jaws as a very young child and then went to California that summer and I saw sharks everywhere….including every swimming pool and bathtub! So I was on a trip and an opportunity to go snorkeling came up. I signed right up. Didn’t sign up with anyone else. I figure I wanted to conquer this fear of sharks once and for all. Well I did it….held my breath most of the time and made sure I was with a large group of people with some that I knew I could outswim….well, you know,  in case it came down to a race with the shark biting the slowest swimmer. I am then watching the news the next day in the area and they reported that they had to close down beaches because of huge sightings of sharks. See, they knew I was in the water and they were looking for me! So my new rule of thumb is to go snorkeling with a life guard on the beach and let them worry about the sharks and I will focus on the lovely fish in the water. I have now put my trust in lifeguards and it works.


Next up, zip lining with my family. I am a mom of boys. I have to be tough and do things without crying like a baby. They will mock me if I cry. So up the tower I go to make the plunge. I watch my youngest baby jump from the platform and enjoy the ride. My other two boys were behind me in line and I knew I had to go. I quickly bonded with another mother in the same predicament as me. She too looked fearful. She too had her kids jump before her. Our eyes locked and we gave each other the “we can do this look” and we were going to go for it. My middle boy passes me in line and he takes the leap and does the Hawaiian hand signal of “hang loose” to me… was just what I needed. Here I used my lawyer brain and turned it over to what I learned in law school. The voice in my head said, “this place has got to be safe or they would not be in business. They have to pass safety inspections and make sure all the ropes and carabineers work.” But then that voice in my head said “they didn’t weigh you…how do you know the ropes and carabineers will hold you?” Well I didn’t know, but I trusted and jumped….and it was amazing! And I would do it again and give up control.


Finally I was part of a hot air balloon crew in the great Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. I came to help on a crew and watch the balloons on the ground and be amazed at the sites. I did my assigned task each morning at the crack of dawn….well even before the crack of dawn as this is a very early sport to be involved in. One morning the pilot looked at me and said I was going up with my best friend that morning in the balloon. We were given just a few minutes warning before we had to hop in the basket. By hop, I mean climb like a crazy person with no coordination. There was no time to worry. I knew enough about this pilot that I knew I could trust him. He had years of experience and he too had a control freak side of him that I admired. I willingly gave up all worry and let his logical brain do the thinking. I just enjoyed the ride and stood in amazement as the ground below me was getting smaller and smaller. We floated through the air and had an amazing landing through a small opening in a gate. It was magical from start to finish. I gave up control and I liked it!


So what all of these experiences have taught me was that it is good to give up control. That I don’t have to be in control of everything. There are certain things that I need to trust others expertise in. I am very rational in my thinking and go through a check list in my brain. {I still don’t trust those sharks however.} But if I look back on what I would have missed out on if I had wanted to retain control…..I would be at a loss of so many good memories. The zip lining picture is part of our Christmas card this year. It was an experience our family will remember forever and talk about. By the end of our zip lining adventure they had us all trying to hang upside down….and yes I tried it and it wasn’t bad!


Well now I know it is okay to let go of the control in my life and let others worry about certain things. I let my son’s doctor worry about the right combination of drugs to put him on for his Crohns….I just simply found the best doctor to give him that advice. I now let my husband do the driving and I read a book and don’t focus on how slow he is going. It is a freeing experience to let go of so many things and not worry about them. Look at who you can put your trust in and just let go, it is a freeing experience.


I may still be called bossy every once in awhile, but you better say it with love in your heart for me or I may have to give you “the look”! Next up….giving up control of housework, laundry and cooking!


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity


MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at


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