Pick Up Your Feet!

Relationship Idiosyncrasies

Perhaps for you it is a spouse, a sibling or a co-worker. We all have relationship idiosyncrasies that drive each other crazy; this is part of life. Today I am struggling to figure out if trying to control them in others is really worth all of the grief.

It’s possible if you are a parent or caregiver you have caught yourself uttering words like “pick up your feet!”  I caught myself saying them to my daughter when I was dropping her off recently. After what seemed like a lackluster hug and goodbye, I was left with my thoughts as I drove away. Where did this comment come from? Is it an important enough concern to me to generate stress and tension in our day? Does it foster a feeling of connection between my daughter and me or take away from it? These are important questions that need answers.

What brings me to a point that I say something that I don’t really want to say? A combination of frustration, habit and my general mood at that moment is likely to blame. In this case, after some reflection it was clear to me that it was mostly habit. Do I really care if someone else drags their feet, daughter aside? No, not really. I guess if I am honest with myself, it is a mildly annoying sound. No more annoying a sound than someone talking on their cell phone at the cash register. No more annoying than the sound of a thumping sub-woofer coupled with squealing tires. The only difference in the case of my daughter is that I am in an implied position of power that I can abuse occasionally.

Good Parenting?

I convince myself that it somehow falls under the guise of good parenting. “She needs to learn to (insert anything I am trying to control here).” I tell myself, well she could care for her stuff and she is reducing the life of her boots by dragging her feet so frequently. Seriously? Has she ever needed her boots replaced because her soles were worn? No. Is she going to grow up a boot abuser?  The reality is that she will never really learn anything from my nagging except to nag herself. If it’s really that important to me, I can model picking up my own feet.

I am deciding to just let this one go, for the sake of harmony in my relationship with my daughter but also for clarity of mind. I just don’t need the mental gymnastics that go along with trying to control others. As in any undertaking, I will make mistakes; the odd boot comment might slip out. That’s OK. I can apologize for nagging and then move on. Does this mean I get a free pass from parenting? Of course not. Not all parenting requires my mouth. Imagine being able to role model harmony and tranquility in relationships, now that’s something to aspire towards!




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