By: Shannon Ralph
There are numerous decisions that have to be made when one chooses to have children. Some are rather large, crucial decisions—bottle versus breast, to circumcise or not, letting the baby cry it out or co-sleeping. Others are seemingly insignificant—should I share the last Oreo or swallow it whole while hiding behind the bathroom door?
Either way, decisions have to be made every single day. Sometimes those decisions determine whether you, as a parent, sink or swim. We all know staying afloat can be a struggle, and the pull of the undertow is often the determining factor in many of our decisions. Below are parenting decisions that I make every single day.
Limit screen time or limit “me” time. Okay, let’s be honest. Those hours my precious child spends glued to the iPad or the Wii are often the only time I have to myself. The only time I can bathe. Or pee. Or look at a magazine. Or eat. I know it is not good for his development and I should curb his screen time, but Jesus Roosevelt Christ, it sure is nice to pee alone!
Greasy hair or greasy dishes. I have all of ten minutes (at the most) before any semblance of peace crumbles and my children declare war on one another once again. I can use that time to load the dishwasher and ensure crust-free dishes for dinner, OR I can shampoo my hair and remove the grease that has been building up for the last thirty hours (or so).
To comb or not to comb. Combing my daughter’s long, wavy hair has become an exercise in rage control. She starts yelling “ouch” before I even touch the comb to her head. She jerks her head away and then complains that I pulled too hard. I comb left, she pulls right. Combing her hair takes no less than thirty minutes. By the time it is all over, we are both covered in sweat and have vowed to never speak to one another as long as we both shall live.
Two cups of coffee or three. It’s Sunday morning. My kids have been up since 5:59AM. Their squeals can be heard over the chirping of the birds outside my bedroom window, killing any chance of peaceful solitude this morning. One cup simply ain’t gonna cut it, sister!
Let them have my iPad or my iPhone. They want them both, but my connection with the outside world is fragile, at best. I need a lifeline. I need to at least maintain the possibility of human contact outside of these four walls. So which do I give them? My iPhone, which will undoubtedly be returned to me covered in crusted snot? Or my iPad, which—though larger—seems to be dropped on a perfectly timed schedule every five minutes without fail?
Throw away food from home or throw away food from a restaurant. My children do not eat. Ever. Anything that is placed before them eventually ends up in the trash can, to my great disdain. Meals are a particularly tough decision area for me. Do I cook at home, spending little to no money but considerable effort to prepare bland food they will undoubtedly throw away? Or do I satisfy my own cravings and buy delicious, though expensive, food from a restaurant they will undoubtedly throw away? I often opt for the delicious and expensive, thereby allowing my kids to make me both fat and poor.
Smelly clothes or smelly kids. It’s difficult to decide which is worse—the smell of a twelve-year-old boy’s armpits or the smell of his socks. There are days when both clean laundry and clean kids is simply not an option. On those days, I must make the scientific calculations necessary to determine the exact funk to fresh ratio of both. One can be covered with deodorant, the other with Febreze™. Determining which is the most noxious on any given day requires an advanced degree in olfactology (something I am sorely lacking).
Wine or cake. The only correct answer is both.
Photo Credit: Ana Panda