The Balance Has Shifted

People are constantly asking me how things are going since the older boy left for college. I usually give a longer answer than is probably expected or necessary, but it’s been an interesting phenomenon.

Though I really miss seeing my older son daily (yet, might I add, technology is fabulous, making it possible for us to reach him for a quick second or a long conversation whenever we want, using one of several methods), those of us left behind are doing well, in spite of the hole he left.

What is fascinating to me (and what happened quite unexpectedly) has been the shift in the overall atmosphere in the house.

The older boy’s personality contains the control freak and perfectionist tendencies that he inherited from me (sorry, bud!): we both worry about things that are out of our control, and our attention to detail is so focused that it is annoying–at best–to others in our path.

On the other side of the coin, Jim and the younger boy are much more laid-back about things. It’s not that they don’t care; they just have a firm grasp on what in life can be controlled and what can’t and, thus, isn’t “worth” worrying about.

Before the older boy left for school, though the amount of people on each “side” was even at two-two, the control freaks were winning over the day-to-day mood of the house. The intensity of Type A people can really throw shadows where they aren’t needed.

Since September, I’ve been the only full-time control freak around here and, amazingly, I find myself relaxing a little bit. I’m still focused, but my focus has changed from GO-GO-GO! all the time to something a little more calming, a mood which comes in little waves. I have moments in which I actually feel–dare I say it?–laid back. Practicing the art of the shoulder shrug when it comes to things that really don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things is freeing, to say the least.

Mostly, I “blame” this guy:

It’s pretty incredible what you can learn from your kids, completely by accident, don’t you think?


©2010 Suburban Scrawl


  • LceeL

    Okay – he may be more 'relaxed' than you, but my guess is that you have had more influence on him than you think. I mean … the young man is WEARING A TIE!
    (Which, by the way, is tied with an almost perfect half-windsor. Very nice.)

  • NYCPatty

    I think you've just told me I need to move away from my family to give them the "laid back" feelings! LOL!

    My sister is like your youngest, since she moved out on her own and I live closer to my parents (and see them more often) its the other way around. Mom & I are total type-A personalities! My sister is the laid back one. Our situation is in reverse! Interesting.

  • DaddysFishBowl

    laid back? You? No way!!! I don't believe it! I need video testimonials from the others in your house to corroborate your story! lol, great insight on learning from your kids, crazy how they can rub off on you.

  • Mom24

    It will be interesting to see what happens when OS is back for longer than a weekend. I miss Rebekah, but I'm a bit nervous for her winter break, she'll be home for 6 weeks and I think it's going to have it's difficult moments. She loves it there, she's not going to be terribly happy about being back. Hopefully I'm worrying for nothing.

  • Michelle

    Annoying? Pshaw. You're just too sensitive 😉

    But yeah, it is amazing what we can learn from our kids if we just take the time to listen. Sometimes, we just need that day off…

  • Heather

    That IS pretty awesome. Sometimes it's nice to be a little laid back. But I still find myself jealous that you are so efficient and organized!

  • designHER Momma

    ugh, my kids are the biggest reflection of who I am, I'm learning that daily. I can't even imagine if my kid was 18ish, she's only 6!

  • Otter Thomas

    That is a interesting point. I often thought my brother and I grew up in two different houses. Maybe the biggest difference was my presence or lack thereof.