Monday, July 26, 2010

Six degrees of separation anxiety

Ever since I became a mother I spend 50% of my waking time asking myself, "Am I doing the right thing?" The other 50% of the time I'm asking myself a combination of, "What am I doing? and, "What's going on?" with a dash of, "Where am I?" thrown in.

From providing snacks to deciding whether or not to take a kid to the doctor, I am always second guessing myself.

When I put the kids to bed at night my mind will spend an AWFUL lot of time trying to create a temperature equation that will result in comfortable sleep for the children (hopefully minimizing nighttime wakening!). -5 for the ceiling fan that's on, +15 for the god-awful heat, -4 for the two windows opened (wait, no, we closed the windows so the children would stop pushing on the screens because surely they will tumble themselves to certain death, so now + 5 for windows closed), -3 for no pajamas, except +7 for Sam who insisted on wearing footie pajamas and . . . what does that equal?

See? If I can actually try to create a mathematical system for divining the perfect sleeping temperature for each child, imagine what I can do with the decision about where to leave Lillian when I go back to work!

I got up with her in the middle of the night last night and wondered if I was doing the right thing about daycare. The different pieces of this decision (her age, her health, her ability to sleep around noise, her overall temperament) all kind of swirl around in my head, where my brain tries to make some kind of excel spreadsheet wherein the right answer will become apparent.

I really, really, really want to do the right thing for the kids, but sometimes I just don't know what that is. And, unfortunately, short of developing a time machine that can visit the future of other dimensions where my alternative Me's have made slightly different decisions, see how that turned out and report back to me, there actually is no way to KNOW if I am making a good choice.

I can ruminate as long as I want about whether Owen's current level of sickness warrants a trip to the doctor, but I won't know that I should have waited it out until after I go and cough up $20 for them to tell me he has a virus. And vice versa.

My new mantra is, "I have to make the best decision I can with the information I have available at this time."

Catchy, no?

But otherwise I'd be paralyzed by the decision about what the kids should drink with dinner

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