I have been told, on multiple occasions, that I am a micromanaging mom. I like things done a certain way and on a particular timetable.
Unfortunately, when things don’t happen exactly the way I imagined, I tend to nag people until it is complete. I would like to think that I am a leader with excellent project management skills. However, I don’t think my husband and children see it that way.
After being told for approximately the five thousandth time to stop micromanaging, I started wondering, “Is micromanaging a bad thing? Am I helping or hurting my family by continually doing this?” And that thought triggered a quest to find out.
What is a micromanaging mom?
Micromanaging is a verb defined as “to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details” . It is a term that is normally heard in the workplace and often has a negative connotation. For example, if your boss gives you a project and then checks up on you all the time to make sure that you are making progress and doing it correctly, that is considered micromanaging.
If you have project managers at your workplace, they are pretty much professional micromanagers. Their job is to check in with people, make sure that work is being done, is on schedule and is being done correctly. Side note: I apparently missed my calling life and should have been a project manager.
So how can a mom be a micromanager? Well, if my child is doing homework, I check it when they are done and make them fix anything that is wrong. If my husband is doing the grocery shopping, I make a detailed list for him to follow. Then, I put the groceries away to make sure he didn’t miss anything. If someone sweeps the floor and does a bad job of it, I make them go back and do it again. The real question is, does this help my family or hurt them?
The benefits of micromanaging
Micromanaging can actually be a good thing. For example, if my son has never washed a load of laundry before, detailed instructions and hands on guidance would be helpful for him.
Because I expect so much of them, micromanaging teaches my children to give one hundred percent and to commit to excellence. They know that doing a half ass job on something will end up with them doing it again. My kids learn to do things right the first time so it doesn’t come to that.
Also, micromanaging produces results. If I sat back and waited for everyone to develop the initiative to get things done around the house, it would never happen. When I force them to do it and do it correctly, the homework and chores get done.
The bad side of being a micromanaging mom
Unfortunately, micromanaging has a downside too. It can set unrealistic expectations that my family feels they cannot live up to on a regular basis. When the goal is perfection, it is inevitable that they will fall short sometimes.
Micromanaging may deter them from making their own decisions. It could also keep them from being leaders because they know I will guide them. Finally, it could also suppress their creativity. The kids know that I want things done a certain way so they don’t try to think outside of the box.
Ultimately, I think we all have to walk a fine line between helping without being overbearing. We should teach without forcing people into a certain way of doing things. And we can try gently reminding people without nagging.
In the long run, a little micromanaging can be a good thing too. We just need to use it to teach our children, yet still allow them figure things out for themselves sometimes.
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