Monday, May 25, 2009
At our last PRG meeting, we talked a lot about deciding. It's something I'm really into right now. I used to really agonize over things, and now, especially as a mom, I find it so freeing to "just decide." Did you know that the origin of the word "decide" is "to cut"? When we decide, we take leadership over our future, by cutting off some of the possibilities. It's powerful stuff.
Of course there are good things and bad things about any choice. Of course we always have limited and imperfect information. What I like about deciding is how good it feels to choose as best I can, know it won't be perfect either way, and vow that I will live with the choice I made, whatever it brings. When I was a kid, my dad always made these cracks about what a drag it was to have adult responsibilities. I have been surprised at how much I really enjoy being an adult, being the captain of my ship, getting to try things and see how they go. It's not so bad, and in most ways it beats the heck out of being dependent.
When the husband and I were on the fence about having another kid, he kept coming back and asking me increasingly strange questions...about what if the baby had a disability, what if we struggle financially, what if I went back to work, what if this, what if that. After awhile, I said, "you know, it seems like you might not want to have another child. And if you don't want to have another child, for sure I do not want to have another child. So let's just decide! Let's be happy with the two beautiful children we already have. We're grown ups--so let's just say that we're not going to have any more kids. Sure, there may be times when we feel wistful and wish we had another, but there will also be many times we're glad we didn't take that on."
That was such a great experience, and we were both immediately relieved. Then I got to start thinking about the next part of my life, post-mom-of-young-kids, which gave me this great surge of energy. I hadn't realized how much of my energy was caught up in not knowing whether I would be prolonging this intense and exhausting stage of my life even longer. Now I think that not knowing and being in limbo actually use up tremendous amounts of energy, way more than dealing with the fallout of any particular choice does. Carrie Contey, Ph.D., my favorite parenting coach, concurred with me that deciding is great role modeling for my kids. It teaches them that they can choose, without a lot of waffling or wailing and gnashing. I'm one of those people who believes that we really do know what the right choice is, if only we will listen to ourselves and own the responsibility of making the cut.