May 11, 2020
Do you often wonder if you’re making the right decisions as a mom? I know I do. I’m constantly second-guessing my choices regardless of how much thought and research I put into them. And, OMG do I put in the research! Thank goodness for google! Seriously, how did our parents make decisions back in the day?! I’m sure our kids will be saying the same thing one day.
These days we’re inundated with information and advice everywhere we look – you see all these other parents doing this or that for their kids and it can really make you feel inadequate. The instant access we have now to digital media is a double-edged sword. I think our parents had it much easier than we do now. They just did what they thought was best, maybe had some discussions with fellow mom friends and called it a day. They didn’t have social media shoving images of “perfect” families in their faces 24/7. It’s easy to think what we should be doing and how we’re falling short.I think it’s only human nature.
We worry so much because we care so much about these little people we’ve been blessed with. So much so it hurts sometimes. They depend solely on us to make decisions on their behalf that will shape who they are forever…I’m cracking under the pressure now just thinking about it! The responsibility of it all feels overwhelming at times. Somehow, a lot of the majority of these decisions fall on our shoulders, mom. We may not make the ultimate final decision without consulting our partners but we might as well be making them alone. We do all the leg work, research, visits, sampling, etc., then we make our case – pros & cons. We’ve been blessed with these precious little people to guide through life and every little decision seems monumental in the fabric of their lives.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter what kind of resources you have, how much research you do on the web, how many books you read, parenting classes you’ve taken, how many degrees you have, how much advice you get from teachers, professionals, or other parents…The most important thing you’ll ever do as a mom is… listen to your gut.
In general, as women, we don’t do this nearly enough. We’re taught at an early age to be a good girl, not to make waves, don’t be disruptive, don’t interrupt, smile through it, play nice, don’t complain, grin and bear it, hold your tongue, go with the flow, conform to the masses, don’t be a bitch, don’t be bossy, and basically swallow your feelings if it doesn’t suit the rest of the world. So, it’s no wonder that we feel the need to apologize for no reason all the time…it’s ingrained in us to qualify our feelings before we’ve even expressed them. To attach an “I’m sorry but…” in front of anything that could be construed as negative. “I’m sorry but…you put cheese on my salad and I asked for it without.”, “I’m sorry but…you just cut in front of me.”, “I’m sorry but…I don’t appreciate you flipping me off.”.
And then there’s “Would you mind…”. Why do we feel the need to sugar coat everything all the time? Men don’t do this. They’re not conditioned to. If we speak more like a man, we’re labeled as a “bitch” or “bossy” – words associated with negative connotations. Men are considered “Alpha” or “powerful” for speaking like this. They’re rewarded and we’re penalized. I’m guilty of this! Some of us may get better with this as we get older but I’m a total people pleaser and I’m scared to death of hurting other people’s feelings.
GUT DECISIONS…THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF IF YOUR GUT STARTS TO RUMBLE
1. WHY AM I FEELING THIS WAY?
Is it something I’m reacting to because of a trigger? Is it my stuff or not? just because you feel that rumble doesn’t mean there’s danger looming. we carry all kinds of baggage with us and we all have triggers for certain unresolved issues.
2. WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST CASE SCENARIOS?
Once you’ve determined that this isn’t “you’re stuff”, look into the future and consider both the best and worst-case outcomes of your decision. The feeling is there for a reason. But as a parent we also want to be rational about the situational…what’s the worst thing that’ll happen if you do option A, what about option B? This is a great way to give teeth to an abstract feeling and intentionally work through your decision-making process. A lot of times we may just tamp down that feeling because we feel “silly” or like we’re “overreacting”.
And, we’re human too…we don’t want to be judged by others or have to explain ourselves. Throw all that shit to the wind. When my gut feelings are trying to tell me something that doesn’t involve my kids – I find that I’m much more lenient with my decision-making process. I may choose not to listen to it at first for fear of social consequences. Throw all that shit to the wind. When it comes to my kids I get this crazy fierce “I don’t give a F***” attitude. I don’t care if it looks weird or nuts to other moms/parents/whoever standing around. I don’t care about giving an explanation or being polite. That all gets thrown out the window. I don’t owe anyone anything. But I do owe my kids the advocacy and protection only I can provide. NOBODY will ever have my kids best interest at heart like their momma.
3. AM I WILLING TO TAKE THAT CHANCE?
Most importantly, am I okay with my worst-case scenario? If the answer is “no” then I shut it down immediately. End of conversation and nobody’s going to talk me out of it. My momma bear instincts and adrenaline have taken precedence over every other outcome. I no longer fear judgment or ridicule because I know that my children are depending solely on me to protect them. Even if they don’t see or appreciate it at the moment – like not letting my son spend the night at other friends’ homes until he was 12. Or putting my kids in school/daycare until they were old enough to tell me what happened during their day. Call me a control freak, helicopter parent, or over-the-top. I don’t care. At the end of the day, I know I’ve made the right decisions to give me peace of mind.