True Confessions of a Recovering Control Addict {Brought to You by Potty Training}


Before I became a mom, I knew I was a self-proclaimed perfectionist, craved planning and organization, and loved structure. I could hold my own in a classroom of fifth graders and was praised for having positive classroom management skills; however, nothing shed light on my intense need for control like motherhood. 

The Beginning

When we brought our babies home from the NICU, we were on a crazy feeding schedule that began every three hours. To be honest, I don’t remember much about it because I was so sleep deprived, but I do know that my time was no longer my own. I slowly learned to cope with being noncommittal when making plans for a while and even began to embrace all of the baby gear taking over my house, followed by the toys that circled my cherished and long-awaited dining room table. My house had been overtaken by littles, but I learned to adapt to this new lifestyle, look past the toys everywhere, and appreciate what our new life looked like (most of the time). Slowly, I began to gain stride in this new life of motherhood. We even started leaving the house and had a nice little routine of activities and errands going for us. 

Enter Potty Training . . . Times THREE

The true demonstration of just how little control I currently possess was highlighted for me during potty training. Picture it: T-H-R-E-E little potties in the middle of my living room (because of course our bathroom is too small to hold them all) and three, two-and-a-half year olds learning to use them. Are you cringing yet? I felt like I’d been transported back to the newborn days. I was a slave to watching the clock after liquid consumption and wondering if we’d ever leave the house again to resume our beloved routine. Of course, I acted in charge and upbeat about our plan on the surface, but the reality was that the fate of our success rested in six tiny palms. Have you ever tried negotiating with a child to use the potty? *Spoiler alert* You will lose EVERY time! It was a long and dark week in our household, but thankfully we survived. 

My new reality

I had all these ideas of how I would handle potty training:

  1. I’m NEVER using one of those little potties.
  2. There will never be a potty in the trunk of my car.
  3. I will not sing songs about pooping on the potty (cringe).
  4. I’m not going to be that mom who openly talks about pottying in conversation.
  5. I will not let my kid yell about potty functions in a public place. 
  6. My kids will not wear character underwear.

Let me tell you, every single one of those has been a reality in the weeks during and since potty training our children, with the exception of #6 so far. By day two, I’d broken down and texted my friend for the potty song I’d openly cringed over two months prior to our potty training experience. I also frequently texted another friend with reports and emoji enthusiasm over our #2 accomplishments. Never say never, friends! 

What I’m Learning

Motherhood teaches me a lot on a daily basis, but the biggest lesson I’m learning is to live life with open hands. I cannot control everything and when I try to, it doesn’t go well. The only person I can control is myself — my reactions, my expectations, my words. Don’t think this means I believe in a lack of discipline or structure for my children. I believe they desperately crave this type of direction, and it’s my duty and commitment as a mom to provide it. What it does mean is that I try to begin each day on my knees, relinquishing my control, and remembering who I am as a mom to my kids matters more than my picture-perfect ideals. 

What are the things you’ve relinquished now that you’re a mom?

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Stacey grew up in Birmingham and being the homebody she is, decided to stay and attend college at Samford University where she earned a degree in elementary education. She always dreamed of being a SAHM, but never imagined she'd be using her classroom management savvy to help raise BGG triplets. She met her husband, Jonathan, at the dear age of five, but it took them 20 more years and lots of different paths to realize they were meant for each other. A major planner at heart, Stacey is learning that some of the best things in life come in the unexpected. She and her husband currently live in Bluff Park and enjoy the unique challenges that their exciting family life brings. When she does get time to herself, Stacey enjoys exercise-especially Zumba, chai lattes, pedicures, a good book, and quality time with friends.