How Motherhood Altered My OCD Tendencies

Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Also called: OCD
Requires a medical diagnosis
OCD often centers on themes such as a fear of germs or the need to arrange objects in a specific manner. Symptoms usually begin gradually and vary throughout life.

As far back as I can remember, even as far back as my childhood, I’ve always had to have everything in its place. I never felt as though it was a thing until later in life, specifically when I became a mom. Even though I have never been medically diagnosed by a medical doctor, I have been told by various people that this is something that I may have and looking at the symptoms, I realized that this actually was a thing.

I remember a time years ago that we were having company over, and I was told that when they arrive, I was not to rearrange or position the furniture in front of their mother. She was traveling to the United States from Jamaica, and they didn’t want their mother to think I was crazy. I knew by this time it was a thing, yet it soothed me to be able to keep my home clean, neat, and organized. Isn’t that how everyone else feels too, right? Well, I thought so but as it was pointed out to me, mine was what they described me to be “excessive” and beyond normal. For the duration of the visit, I sat back and watched all my chairs and other objects do their own dance in all different directions and did my best to suppress whatever emotions were dancing around in all directions inside of me.

Fast forward to my current life, I have spent the last 10 years with my wonderful “I don’t really care or understand your compulsions” loving husband who actually has and still does goes with the flow and allows me to be me. Over the course of the years, he has gotten with the program and kept all my things in their places for the most part. So even though I knew I was this way, it didn’t really hit me until I gave birth to my daughter. That’s when I began to change. It became way more important to hold her, bond with her, and take care of her than it was to make sure all the clothes were hung color coordinated. Or the fact that every single room or drawer had to be perfectly arranged and settled in for the night.

Of course, even though I was a first-time mom and breastfeeding up until 9 months, and I still had to do all the shopping and organizing and keeping up with all the day-to-day things of life, I was still very much neat, clean, and organized. I just didn’t allow it to rule over me or my emotions. I definitely still never went to bed with dishes in the sink, but I actually would be able to sleep and sleep well if a load of laundry was still in the basket. I learned that it didn’t have to be done that day. It could wait for the basket to at least get completely full as opposed to halfway. Over the course of the past wonderful soon-to-be 4 years in April with my daughter, my miracle, I have enjoyed every second of her, her growth, and her milestones.

My habits are still there. I sometimes see them spill over into her. She knows where her stuff goes, and she knows that things have their place, yet it’s still ok to play freely, make a mess, and leave something upside down. She knows Mommy loves her very much, and we will clean it up later or the next day because sometimes Mr. Rabbit needs to sleep upside down and that’s just fine with Mommy as long as it makes her happy, upside down it is!

Sometimes in this life, of course, we need to pick and choose our vices, and learning to put all my energy into my loving my baby girl and not sweating the small stuff has been so therapeutic for me. Children change all of us in so many different ways and becoming her mom has taught me so many things, including patience, love, and understanding. She has given me the gift of not sweating the small stuff. Like her Frozen Song “Let It Go” …. well “Let it goooooo” will forever be a song that buzzes around in my head on repeat.

So when my tendencies try to kick in, I shall sing and dance around the mess with my new anthem and hug my daughter a little tighter for helping me to “Let It Go!!!”