Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Million Little Decisions of Parenting

People - you know, those capital "P" People - say the hardest thing about parenting is the sleep deprivation or (cheese alert!) how you could possibly love someone that much.

While that's all true, the toughest thing I find about parenting this wee CEO here is . . .

. . . the BAJILLION MILLION CAPS LOCK little decisions I have to make every day for him, some of them minor, some not, some "How the heck do I know?!"

This week, for example, Master P has decided he's o-v-e-r holding my hand in public, safety situations like crossing the street included. 

Seems like a small enough issue, right? The thing is, aside from the heartbreak - yes, I do have a heart in here somewhere, icy though it may be - of not holding my wee preshus darling's paw anymore, I now have to decide - can I trust my wiggly toddler to cross the street and not dart in front of a car?

How much freedom do I give him to move around when we're out? In general?

It just spirals from there - did I pack enough pesticide-free, locally grown, organic-eco-fun-free snacks in his lunch? Is he at the right preschool? Is he happy? And on and on . . . 

. . . once upon a law degree, I made difficult decisions every day at work, but now my decisions directly affect someone's well being and OMG, BREATHE . . . 

On the other, manicured hand, I'm so proud of how he's learning to be independent, how his growing ability to separate from me is allowing him to dive into things like nursery school or swim class. I mean, if he's going to attend Yale, Harvard *and* Princeton simultaneously, he'll have to leave home sometime, right? 

Plus, I've found these million little questions have eased up in intensity since the Newborn Days of Yore and No Sleep. Back then, the questions all seemed panic-inducing - "Is he breathing?" "Did he get enough milk?" "Why does he look like a little old alien instead of a person?" (I love you, MP, but . . .)

Still, when nap time rolls around - did I mention that your advice totally worked and naps generally returned once school started? - I often take to my couch, totally spent from physical and mental exertion. Those million little questions really take it out of you, don't they?

I'm not saying making some Smug Mummy global statement - not not not, you can't make me! - about how parenting is the most difficult thing anyone has ever done. I'm saying that it's one of the most difficult things *I* have done - wonderful, yes, but it's physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding too, much more so than I would have ever thought possible.

So for those who have asked about all of the housecleaning and cooking and housewifely awesomeness I get up to during naptime .  . . um, no. I plead the Million Little Questions defense. Mama's taking a breather here. 

Can I get a weary "Amen!" from my couch crowd?


Mrs. Type A said...

love the new look!

Liz said...

ohmygosh I hear ya...we are making decisions every hour. it's exhausting.

[darci @ the good life] said...

AMEN....Loud and clear!!

Julie Rogers said...

AMEN to you times a million!


Kar @allmylove.mommy said...

You got it Mama!
It's also so wonderful when someone unexpectedly tells you, 'Your doing wonderful, you are a fabulous mom!" We need to hear that once in a while :)

Tiffany said...


Parenting is hard. Obvious statements are obvious.

You're doing a great job. The fact that he's independent is BECAUSE of you.

But uh, the hand holding across the street? Not optional. I have the same trouble with my very independent-minded daughter.

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

I feel ya from the couch. I often say, oh I'll just sit for 30 minutes and then I realize I've been sitting for 3 hours. Oh well, you do what you gotta do.

I've realized recently that I'm a pretty intense parent when it comes to not trusting them. I have a tendency to correct/discipline nearly every little thing, because I care and want them to learn and practice makes perfect, right? And then I think maybe I should take a breather.

You are certainly coming up on a rough patch of time for MP. I found that 2 was quite difficult, as "they" say. 3 has it's on problems (namely bossiness...I have no idea where he got that from) but 2 always felt like a battle of wills. I'm starting to see it emerging in Cole and part of me wants to just fast forward through all of it. But, this is the time for me to buck up and do my job and probably look like a crazy mom in the process as I do those mom things- like making him hold my hand while he's screaming his head off.

But yes, decisions. So many decisions!

Meg said...

Law is tough on your mind, but you could get up from your desk and take a walk. Can't just leave master p while you take a breather. It's a long day!

And you were trained the same way millions of other people have been. Raising a kid and being in charge of 99% of decisions on child's behalf (as the paycheck earning spouse is consumed by work) is _totally_ overwhelming. The www is an infinite web of resources to compare diets, carseats, parenting styles, statistics

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