Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How To Make Parenting Decisions Without (Completely) Going Crazy

lost a lot of sleep over that one....
 I've spent a lot of time agonizing since I've become a mother. Sip of champagne at your best friend's wedding or not? Epidural or not? St. Brunhilda's School for Spectacular Children Who Learn to Read at 6 Months?  Should I buy the food with agave nectar or organic sugar? What the hell is agave nectar? Should I have listened to classical music when I was pregnant? Less yelling, more patience? Cochlear implants??? Suzuki method for violin to enhance math skills or unstructured percussion ? Play outside unsupervised, when?? Horrified that Dominic liked the Gentleman Jack I used on his gums when he was teething, or proud?

 Have no fear. If you adopt my main rules for parental decision making, you will find (some) peace, fulfillment, personal fame, and wealth. Maybe not those last few, but definitely the first one. The really good news is, I only have two rules. That's all the space my brain has at the moment.

The first rule is the "I can sleep at night" test. If that sip of champagne is going to keep you up all night worrying about fetal alcohol syndrome, then don't drink it. If making every last morsel of food from scratch to avoid giving your kids foods that contain additives and chemicals and refined sugar lets you sleep at night, then by all means....keep on keepin' on.

The second rule is harder. It's the letting-go rule. The one that forces you to admit that at the end of the day, you are not in control. This rule says, "there are no guarantees in life." Perfect behavior during pregnancy does not guarantee you the "perfect" baby. Thank goodness! If it did, I wouldn't have my G with her special ears, and I wouldn't trade that in for the world. This rule may be harder, but it's the one that sanctifies. With this rule, we must say that we will do our best as parents but realize that our children are people who will make mistakes. To a certain extent, personalities and circumstances are beyond our control.

One might argue that if it's all a crap-chute, why bother trying so hard? Ah, but then we circle back to the first rule, the one that says we need to be able to sleep at night. You can drive yourself crazy over-doing things, but you can also go nuts from under-doing it as well, constantly questioning yourself late at night...."Should I have done more? Different? The same?" Maintaining mental peace encourages you to drive right down the middle, doing your best, loving your kids for who they are, teaching them to make good decisions, and then leaving it up to God. Because He's really the one in charge anyways.

actually, I've been in charge of this thing for awhile now


  1. You really have a knack for writing from a Mom's point of view. Everything you write about is totally the way I feel except I can't write to save my life so I just post pics on my blog.... :o) I love reading your blog because it reminds me I am not alone in this crazy Catholic crunchy parenting world.....

  2. THANK YOU!!! I have been agonizing over my decisions both big and small lately but I need to listen to God and do what I know is best! This post helps me to stay on track and keep on keepin on!